Lonicera caerulea seeds, blue-berried honeysuckle
The blue - berried honeysuckle, also called sweetberry honeysuckle, was first observed and cultivated in North Asia. Today the deciduous shrub is endemic in large parts of the northern hemisphere (North Asia and America, Europe, Japan). The blue-berried honeysuckle is an ornamental shrub that is growing up to 1.5 m tall and wide. The oppositely arranged branches grow straight and show a beautiful yellowish to reddish-brown coloration in winter. The leaves come out early in the year, the first bright green leaves occur already in March to April. The bright green coloration of the leaves change to glaucous green on the upper side of the leaves and a bluish coloration on the underside. The leaves of the blue-berried honeysuckle have an ellipsoidal elongated shape and reach a maximal size of 7 cm.
Flowering takes already place in April. The small funnel-shaped flowers appear yellowish-white and are arranged in a pairwise manner. The ovaries of the blossoms are grown together, what results in the occurrence/appearance of a double fruit (paired berries).
The first berries ripen in late June. They are purple-blue in colour and taste bittersweet. The paired berries can reach size of 20 mm. They are well suited for the production of jams, fruit juices or cakes. The berries are very popular not only due to its taste, but also for the high concentration of antioxidants, flavinoids and anthocyans which offer health benefits and prevent malnutrition. The blue-berried honeysuckle prefers semi-shady to shady areas, with a high humidity and a low pH (acidic). It grows best on sandy-clayey soils containing a humus layer. A lack of nutrients and lime favours the growth of the shrub.
The blue-berried honeysuckle becomes more and more popular not just due to its delicious fruits. It is also a very robust and cold hardy shrub that tolerates temperatures up to - 40 °C (zone 3). Additionally the attractive coloration makes it an ornamental part of every green area both in winter and summer. As a food source for insects and birds the blue - berried honeysuckle is also an important part of the ecological system.
The best time for seeding is summer. The seeds should be buried 2 to 10 cm deep, not deeper since the seeds need light to start germination. The Optimum temperature for the seed to germinate is between 20 °C and 25 °C. The seeds start to germinate after approximately 30 days. If the seeds are planted to late in autumn germination will take place the next year.
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