Edible honeysuckle Blue Velvet - basic characteristics, features
Honeysuckle is highly valued due to the unique medicinal qualities of the fruit. The composition of berries includes a record amount of ascorbic acid, as well as more than ten other beneficial components. Among the many varieties of plants, Blue Velvet is especially popular. What are the features of the described culture, and what is the agricultural technology of its cultivation - further in the article.
Description of a variety of honeysuckle Blue Velvet
Kamchatka honeysuckle Blue Velvet is an early ripening berry bush of the genus Lonicera, which has excellent winter hardiness, strong immunity and ease of cultivation.
Blue Velvet is the result of the activity of Polish breeders who managed to create a honeysuckle variety, characterized by high frost resistance and excellent resistance to most fungal ailments. A significant advantage of the new variety of plants is late flowering, which makes it possible to “painlessly” tolerate even very low temperature air temperatures during return frosts without negative consequences for the future crop.
Did you know? Over 14 varieties of honeysuckle grow on the territory of the Russian Federation, but only a few of them are edible. Most plant varieties grow in Siberia, Kamchatka, Sakhalin, on the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk.
Appearance, characteristics of berries
It is advisable to start the description of the bush with its appearance. Blue Velvet is a compact, small-sized bush, with a height of not more than 1.7 m, with an oval crown. Branches of a plant of medium thickness, brown color with a flaky surface. The green mass of honeysuckle is represented by large, oblong-oval leaves of a grayish-green color, covered with a coating that resembles the structure of a velveteen.The kidneys are located horizontally, often several at each node, one above the other. The flowering period of the crop falls in mid-April. At this time, unprepossessing, pale yellow flowers appear on the bushes, which need pollination. Peduncles hold on the branches quite firmly and do not crumble. Blue Velvet fruits are large, elongated-rounded, almost spherical-shaped berries, 2-3 cm long, weighing 1-1.5 g, dark blue color.
Did you know? The most famous variety of inedible honeysuckle is the wolfberry..
They have an excellent sweet taste with a slight touch of acid and a complete lack of bitterness. Blue berries are characterized by a high content of ascorbic acid and vitamin D, therefore they are considered a real panacea for many diseases. 100 g of pulp contains 37 mg of vitamin C and 820 mg of P-active substances. The fruits have a universal purpose, they are perfect for fresh consumption, for processing, preparation of blanks or freezing.
The variety belongs to the category of plants with early vegetation, in which the fruits begin to ripen in late June - in the first weeks of July. Fruiting - early, after 2-3 years after planting seedlings, the bush is able to please the first fruits. The plant productivity is above average, and under favorable conditions is 2-6 kg of berries from one bush.
Advantages and disadvantages of the variety
- The plant has a number of positive qualities and properties, among which the most significant are:
- unpretentiousness in leaving;
- high resistance to frost;
- compact bushes;
- the fruits do not crumble after ripening;
- good yield;
- earlier fruiting - 2-3 years after planting;
- strong immunity, minimal risk of damage to fungal diseases;
- stable fruiting;
- universality of the use of berries;
- high flavor characteristics of the fruit.
- The culture is not without some drawbacks:
- the need for pollination for guaranteed stable fruiting;
- the presence of a close proximity of plants of the same variety.
Siberian shrub Blue Velvet is an unpretentious plant and is suitable for cultivation in almost all climatic zones of our state. However, when cultivating it, several important nuances should be taken into account.
Honeysuckle prefers to grow in open, well-lit areas located on a small slope, with a low occurrence of groundwater. The variety perfectly survives in a sunny place, but can tolerate partial shade. But drafts and cold winds are fatal to the plant and can trigger the development of various ailments.
Important! In one area, honeysuckle can grow for more than 20 years, and with proper care and care, up to half a century.
The culture is unpretentious in cultivation and can grow on any soil. It responds positively to light, nutritious, air- and moisture-permeable soil, but grows poorly on marshy soils and sandstone.
Landing and care
It is recommended to plant Blue Velvet seedlings in early spring, in March, that is, before the active vegetation of the plant begins, or in early autumn, until mid-October, at the end of all growth processes of the culture. Late spring planting has a negative impact on the subsequent development of the bush and its bearing.
Important! With proper observance of the rules of planting, honeysuckle will receive the necessary amount of nutrients, sunlight and water. This will allow root processes to develop correctly and quickly take root.
Immediately before planting, the soil on the site should be enriched with humus or rotted compost. You also need to carefully examine the planting material: the plant should have a strong, healthy root system, without damage, dry and rotten areas.
The technology of planting seedlings is simple and boils down to the following actions:
- dig a hole about 40 cm deep;
- mix the soil removed from the hole with 3 kg of humus, 200 ml of ash and 30 g of nitrophos;
- place a drainage layer of broken brick or pebbles on the bottom of the hole;
- fill the drainage layer with fertile soil and place a seedling on top;
- gently root the root processes, cover the plant with earth so that the root neck rises 5-8 cm above the surface;
- the seedling should be abundantly watered, the soil of the trunk circle should be mulched with peat, hay or sawdust.
With the simultaneous planting of several bushes, it is necessary to observe an interval of 1 m between them, and between the rows - 1.5 m. The more comfortable the growth conditions of honeysuckle, the more aesthetic the bushes look and the abundant harvest. In the first 2-3 years after planting, a young crop needs regular watering, fertilizing and weeding weeds. Blue Velvet is a hygrophilous plant that needs systematic hydration, especially in hot weather.Under favorable weather conditions, it is enough to moisten the shrub 3-4 times a season, using about 10 liters of water under one plant. In hot weather, the amount of irrigation should be increased, focusing on the state of the soil. It should be noted that in conditions of too hot summer, bitterness may appear in honeysuckle berries. Feeding a culture is advised every 2-3 years. The described variety responds well to organic fertilizers.
In the early spring, after the snow melts, the soil is fed with rotted manure, and in late autumn, wood ash is used to feed the shrub.To intensify the growth of green mass, experts recommend spring fertilizing the bushes with nitrogen-containing agents, for example, urea. Before the onset of the flowering phase, it is advisable to carry out foliar dressing with the use of special fertilizers "Master", "Aquarin".
Video: how to plant honeysuckle
Blue Velvet for stable fruiting requires the presence of pollinators in the neighborhood, which are suitable for other varieties of honeysuckle. For cross-pollination, at least three shrubs are planted in one area. When planting only two varieties, crop productivity increases by 50%.
To increase this indicator, experts recommend planting at least three varieties, which will allow gardeners to enjoy tasty and healthy fruits throughout the summer season.
Pest and Disease Control
A distinctive feature of the variety is its strong immunity and the ability to withstand various ailments characteristic of honeysuckle. With proper care, the bush is rarely affected by diseases.
Sometimes the appearance of pests is noted, namely:
- honeysuckle aphids;
- scale insects;
In case of damage to the bush by sucking parasites, it is recommended to treat it with systemic means - "Confidor", "Actellik". Highly effective against aphids has a weakly concentrated alcohol solution.It is strictly forbidden to use chemicals during fruiting. In bad weather conditions, the shrub can be affected by powdery mildew, the fight against which is to spray the plant with fungicidal agents, for example, “Fitosporin”.
Did you know? Some varieties of honeysuckle have scaly bark. Because of this, the culture received the popular name "Shameless."
Simple preventative measures will help to avoid ailments and pests:
- regular destruction of weeds on the site;
- soil moisture control;
- compliance with feeding and irrigation schemes;
- systematic trimming of weak and damaged branches;
- preventive spraying of bushes with biological products.
Cropping and shaping the crown
Since the edible variety of Blue Velveteen is characterized by an average intensity of shoot growth, the plant does not need too frequent pruning. The pruning procedure begins from 6–8 years of shrub cultivation. Measures are taken to remove weak, damaged, dry or diseased branches. Experts do not advise shortening the tops of the plant, since it is on them that most of the flower buds are formed.To maintain an attractive appearance of the shrub, every 1-2 years should be cut in 1-2 unproductive shoots. When the plant reaches the age of 15–20 years, it is necessary to conduct a rejuvenating pruning “on the stump”, in which all shoots are cut to a height of 0.5 m from the soil level. Due to the young growth, such a shrub can fully recover for 2-3 years.
Important! The pruning procedure must be carried out in early spring - before the start of sap flow, or in autumn - after leaf fall.
The plant is characterized by high tolerance to low temperatures, up to -45 ° C, and in the flowering phase does not suffer from nighttime return frosts (up to -8 ° C). When cultivating honeysuckle in the southern and central regions, there is no need to carry out special shelter activities for the winter. When growing a culture in the northern regions, it is desirable to insulate its root system and trunk. To do this, the shoots are covered with breathable natural material, for example, burlap, and the territory of the trunk circle is mulched with organic materials.
Video: winter honeysuckle preparation
Harvesting and transportation of crops, shelf life, shelf life of berries
As noted above, Blue Velvet is an “early” variety that is ready for harvest at the end of June.Gathering berries is not easy, because they are randomly "scattered" on all branches. As a rule, the largest and sweetest fruits ripen in the depths of the bush and on the tops of the branches. The berries are picked by hand and placed in small wooden or plastic containers, no more than 2-3 layers.
Honeysuckle cannot boast of good keeping quality and transportability of fruits. Despite the dense skin, they crumple during transportation, start up juice and quickly lose their presentation. For storage, the honeysuckle is placed in one layer and placed in the refrigerator. Under such conditions, berries can last no more than 2-3 days.Honeysuckle Blue Velvet is a truly unique plant that will not cause trouble for gardeners when grown, but will be able to please a stable harvest of delicious, fragrant and extremely healthy berries. By the healing qualities, the fruits of honeysuckle are second only to ginseng. They are widely used in the field of folk healing, serve as a supportive tool in the treatment and prevention of various ailments.