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Choosing a Location for Honeyberry Plants

The best way to succeed is to plan before you plant. Concerning location: do you know where you want to plant your new honeyberry plants? Avoid future obstacles by considering all aspects of the planting site, such as:

  • Cross-pollination
  • Sun and good soil
  • Surroundings
  • Spacing

NOTE: This is part 3 in a series of 11 articles. For a complete background on how to grow honeyberry plants, we recommend starting from the beginning.

Cross-Pollination

Most honeyberry varieties require another different variety for cross-pollination and fruit production. In most cases, the lack of a compatible variety – defined as another different variety of honeyberry plant that blooms at the same time – is why honeyberry plants don’t bear fruit. Since insects and wind need to carry pollen from flower to flower between honeyberry plants, honeyberries and their pollen partners should be planted nearby – within 50 feet of one another for adequate cross-pollination to occur.

Sun and Good Soil

Honeyberry plants thrive in a growing location that receives partial shade to full sun and has a well-drained, fertile soil. (Full sun is at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight during the growing season.) Light is vital to fruit production and fruit quality, and also helps minimize the risk of fungal issues, so this is an essential part of choosing a location for your honeyberry plants. Keep in mind, the foliage of honeyberry plants may exhibit signs of injury if growing in a location that receives intense, direct full sun during the hot summer months. This can be avoided by planting in partial shade or construction a temporary shade cloth structure for protection during the summer.

A well-drained soil will help keep a honeyberry plant’s roots healthy and free of rot. Honeyberry plants will tolerate some more clayey soil types, but if your native soil is composed of heavy clay that retains water after rainy weather, first look for a different planting site for your honeyberries. Similarly, if your site has fast-draining, sandy soil, the honeyberry plants may exhibit water-related stress (similar to conditions of drought) and may require more frequent watering. For your growing success, we do not recommend planting honeyberry plants in rocky or heavy, pure-clay soils. If you can’t plant elsewhere, you can try amending the soil of your planting site prior to planting honeyberry plants.

Soil amendments greatly depend on your individual location, so communicating with your local county cooperative extension is recommended. In general – to help with water distribution – you can add coir, like our Coco-Fiber Growing Medium, to your honeyberry planting hole, or mix in one-third sphagnum/peat to the soil at planting time. Sphagnum/peat can lower the soil pH, so if your soil pH is already lower than honeyberry plants tolerate (5.5 – 7.5), this may not be the best option.

Alternately, to avoid directly dealing with your native soil, you can try planting your honeyberry plants in containers. Start with a pot that accommodates each honeyberry plant’s current root system (with room to grow). Most new honeyberry plants can be planted in a 3-gallon container to start, and you can move container-grown honeyberry plants into larger containers as the plants outgrow them.

Even if your yard isn’t the most ideal location, take heart. Honeyberry plants can be very adaptable and they respond well to soil additives like compost or fertilizers, so they can get along well even where the soil is nutritionally poor. Just remember to avoid planting sites with extremely heavy soils and poor drainage and ensure they have the necessary full-sun requirement.

Surroundings

Growing your own honeyberry plants can be a landscaping asset, so choose a planting site with this in mind. Imagine your honeyberries as full-grown plants and observe the surroundings:

  • Honeyberry plants have shallow root systems, but are there cables, pipes, or other lines and utilities you should avoid underground?
  • Is there a sidewalk or foundation within the range of your honeyberry plant’s roots?
  • Might your honeyberry plant block the view of something you want to see once it’s fully grown?
  • Will neighboring trees be in the way or block sunlight from your honeyberry plants as they grow?

Even a year or two after planting, a honeyberry plant can be very difficult to move with stress-free success, so take the time to plant in just the right place the first time around.

Spacing

Ordinarily, planting honeyberry plants near structures like patios is not problematic because the soil beneath them is dry and compacted. The honeyberry’s roots will not be as encouraged to grow into this area; however, it’s better to plant with at least 4 to 5 feet of space between these structures and your honeyberry plants. A good estimate is somewhere beyond your honeyberry plant’s estimated maximum spread. By planting honeyberry plants far enough away from man-made structures, you can avoid problems in the near or distant future.

Space Between Plants

Depending on the variety you choose, the spacing may vary. As a general rule, most honeyberry plants naturally grow (or can be maintained with pruning) within a 4-foot range, both tall and wide. Use the honeyberry plant’s mature width as your guide for spacing between plants.

  • Plant each honeyberry plant at least 3 to 5 feet apart and up to 50 feet apart for adequate cross-pollination
Space for Future Plantings

When you’re new to fruit gardening and growing honeyberry plants, or you’re planting in a location that is new to you, it’s wise to start with just a few honeyberry plants. Later on, especially after you have reaped the rewards of growing your own honeyberries, you may want to expand your fruit garden. If you plan ahead and leave room for additional berry plants, or even fruit trees and other garden plants, then the space will be available when you are ready to expand, without hindering the growth and development of your existing honeyberry plant

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