Honeysuckle is increasingly found in our gardens. In terms of their qualities, its fruits are not inferior to the dessert varieties of the leading berry crops - strawberries, raspberries, currants. And thanks to its high adaptation to unfavorable environmental factors, blue honeysuckle has become a real boon for northern and eastern gardening. Despite the harsh winters, spring frosts and summer droughts, it is always with the harvest. In Russia, more than 70 varieties of honeysuckle have been zoned, one of the sweetest and largest-fruited is the Leningrad giant.
Honeysuckle is common in the northern latitudes of America and Eurasia and has a wide variety of species. The most famous is blue honeysuckle, whose edible berries have long been collected by the inhabitants of Siberia and the Far East for consumption and as a medicinal raw material. Researchers of Kamchatka and Primorye described in detail edible honeysuckle as early as the 17th-18th centuries. In the 19th century, T.D. Mauritz took up the cultivation of these berry bushes in the garden, later I.V. Michurin initiated the development of new varieties of honeysuckle in Russia.
Today our honeysuckle breeding school is considered the best in the world. Many species of this culture were bred at the Pavlovsk experimental station named after N.I. Vavilov, St. Petersburg. Thanks to M.N. Plekhanova and her colleagues managed to obtain excellent varieties of honeysuckle, which were included in the assortment of fruit plants not only in Russia, but also in many countries of the world. The elite include the Leningradsky Giant variety, obtained by the seed method from the wild form of Kamchatka honeysuckle.
Honeysuckle Leningrad giant - the pride of Russian breeders
This is an early ripening variety. Its main advantage is very sweet fruits, therefore the Leningrad giant is used as a donor of sweet fruit for breeding new hybrids. There is absolutely no bitterness in the berries, which is typical for the Kamchatka species of honeysuckle. The variety is valued for its yield and large-fruited: the weight of the fruit can reach up to 4 g - hence the name of the variety.
Possesses high frost resistance - shoots and roots do not freeze even at -40 ° C, undemanding to heat and during the growing season - flowers and ovaries do not lose their viability at -8 ° C. Due to this cold hardiness, honeysuckle can be grown in northern regions where the traditional range of berry crops is limited. The variety is resistant to diseases and pests.
The Leningradsky Giant variety is valued for its yield and large fruits.
Honeysuckle The Leningrad giant grows in the form of a fairly tall shrub (1.5–2 m) with a rounded crown of medium thickening. Shoots are straight, light green, pubescent. Over time, the bark acquires a brown tint, cracks and flakes off in long strips. The leaves are large, in the form of an elongated oval. The leaf blade is dark green, straight, up to 6 cm long, 3 cm wide. Honeysuckle blooms with bell-shaped pale yellow flowers.
Berries of a dark blue hue have an elongated cylindrical shape with a rounded base. The skin is thin, dense, without pubescence, bumpy, with a gray waxy coating. The pulp is tender, sweet and sour, aromatic, without bitterness.
The variety is fruitful - up to 3 kg per bush, in favorable years and up to 5 kg. Differs in early maturity - fruits appear already in the 3rd year, retains good productivity for 25-30 years. A characteristic feature of the genotype is the arrangement of the berries on the branches in bunches, which greatly facilitates the harvest. Many varieties of honeysuckle crumble when ripe, in the Leningrad giant, ripe fruits remain on the bush.
It is not for nothing that the variety has such a name - the berries of the Leningrad giant are large, up to 3.3 cm long
The variety is self-fertile, blooms, but does not give ovaries. To obtain a harvest, additional pollinators are required - edible honeysuckle of other varieties: Blue Spindle, Morena, Blue Bird.
When planting honeysuckle bushes, the peculiarities of this culture should be taken into account.
The lightest areas, which are in the sun for most of the day, should be allocated for planting. In shaded areas, fruiting decreases. Resistance to low temperatures allows you to grow crops in open areas without fencing or sheds.
Honeysuckle is unpretentious to the composition of the soil, but it grows better on fertilized sandy loam soil with neutral acidity. In areas with a high level of acidity, the foliage loses its bright green color, the plant gives a meager harvest. Bushes should not be planted in damp lowlands with a close location of groundwater - they should lie 1.5–2 m below ground level.
For honeysuckle, the brightest place should be taken so that the sun illuminates the bushes all day
Honeysuckle bushes are planted at a distance of at least 1.5 m from each other so that the plants that have grown over time do not touch neighboring branches, because they are very fragile and can break off with a strong bend.
As neighbors, you can plant nearby bushes of black currant, barberry, dogwood - the cultures will get along well nearby. But the honeysuckle should be planted further away: the growing liana will quickly braid all the berry bushes growing nearby. In addition, when pollinated, the berries of edible honeysuckle become bitter.
A berry can be formed from several bushes by arranging them in a group. And you can plant it in a row as a hedge or to mark the border of the site.
Honeysuckle bushes planted in a row can be used to delimit garden areas
Honeysuckle should be planted during the dormant period, which begins by the end of July. Therefore, the best time to plant is from August to November. Planting at the beginning of the season is undesirable, because the growing season of honeysuckle begins very early: already at the end of March, the buds bloom. Even container plants planted with a large clod of soil are difficult to adapt to a new place.
Honeysuckle blooms very early, when snowfalls are still possible
Nurseries now offer a wide range of containerized honeysuckle seedlings. Such plants must have a certificate containing information about the variety, age, required by pollinators. It is better to purchase 2-year-old bushes up to 40 cm high, with 2-3 flexible branches, on which the buds are visible. The root system should be developed, without signs of rot.
You should not take tall bushes (more than 1.5 m) - overgrown plants painfully tolerate transplanting, later they begin to bear fruit.
It is better to purchase container seedlings that take root much faster
Prepare the site in advance. Pits 40x40 cm are dug 3 weeks before planting. Drainage is laid at the bottom, part of the fertile land mixed with 20 liters of humus, 30 g of superphosphate and 30 g of potassium salt (or 500 g of ash). You can use Ava complex fertilizer containing all the necessary trace elements (15 g / m2). Due to its homogeneous structure, the fertilizer dissolves slowly. As a result, the plants are completely saturated with nutrients for a long period - up to 3 years.
Planting pits, prepared in advance, are filled with fertilizers before planting seedlings
It is possible to improve the composition of the soil with the help of vermicompost: 1.5 kg of dry vermicompost or 3 liters of its solution are mixed with the earth, the soil is well shed. Such an organic fertilizer is much more effective than mineral mixtures.
2 hours before planting, the honeysuckle roots are dipped in water to saturate them with moisture. You can add growth stimulants Kornevin or Heteroauxin.
Step-by-step planting process:
Container plants are planted with an earthen clod
After planting, honeysuckle bushes are not pruned, as is done in other berry crops - shortening delays their growth and fruiting.
After planting honeysuckle, the root zone is mulched
Honeysuckle bushes planted on well-seasoned ground do not need additional feeding for the first 2 years. They also do not carry out pruning. Young plants are only watered, weeded and mulched.
Water the honeysuckle at least 5 times during the season, and more often during dry periods. Watering is especially important at the time of ovary formation, at the end of May - it contributes to an increase in the mass of berries by 15%. Lack of moisture negatively affects the taste of the fruit. On average, 15 liters of water are consumed per bush, during the period of fruit filling in the absence of rain, the amount is increased to 30 liters.
The water settled in the sun is introduced into circular grooves made around the plant. You can water the entire bush with a spray hose. Sprinkling not only irrigates the soil, branches, foliage, but also increases the humidity of the air. However, during flowering, this type of watering is unacceptable, since the water can wash away pollen and weaken pollination.
After watering and rain, when moisture is absorbed into the soil, the root zone is carefully loosened so as not to damage the suction roots located in the surface layer. Then a layer of mulch is laid, which promotes less moisture evaporation and retards the growth of weeds.
Only from the third season do they begin to feed the honeysuckle. In the spring, nitrogen fertilizers are applied under the bushes (2 tbsp. L. Urea / 10 l). Since the culture prefers organic feeding, after the snow melts, instead of mineral feeding, it is better to fertilize it with 10 kg of humus. In the phase of bud extension and ovary formation, the bushes are watered with an ash solution (1 l / 10 l). In autumn, 5 kg of compost, 100 g of ash and 40 g / m2 are introduced into the trunk circle2 superphosphate, every 2 years add potassium salt (15 g / m2).
Honeysuckle prefers organics to mineral fertilizing
If the complex fertilizer Ava was used during planting, once every 3 years at the end of the season, 1 tbsp is applied under the bush. this composition and embedded in the soil. In this case, no more mineral fertilizers are required. Only after fruiting should organic matter (a bucket of humus) be brought under the bush annually.
Bush pruning begins from the third season, forming a sparse crown. Honeysuckle grows quickly so as not to thicken the shrub, leaving only 5 strong branches, be sure to completely cut out the root shoots, non-fruiting small weak branches, branches of the shaded first tier. Thinning pruning is carried out in the fall, after the foliage has fallen, at negative values of the night temperature.
Pruning is necessary to form a sparse honeysuckle bush
Since flower buds with a future harvest are laid during the summer in the axils of the upper leaves, it is impossible to cut off the upper part of the shoots of honeysuckle. At the end of each season, dry, broken branches, the damaged part of the crown to healthy wood are also removed.
By the age of 7, the yield of the berry bush decreases, in this case, rejuvenating pruning is required. For several seasons in a row, 2 old branches are cut at the root, replacing them with 3 young shoots, so the bush gradually rejuvenates.
You can apply radical pruning by cutting off all stems 50 cm from the ground. Shoots will soon appear on the stumps, and the bush will fully recover.
Honeysuckle is distinguished by unprecedented frost resistance: shoots are not afraid of extreme subzero temperatures (-50 ° C), roots do not freeze at -40 ° C, flowers and ovaries are not damaged at -8 ° C. The bushes do not need any shelter; on the eve of a cold snap, they only water it (30 l / plant) and lay a layer of compost.
Under a snow coat, honeysuckle bushes will tolerate even severe frosts
Only with sharp changes in air temperature in winter from -41 ° C to thaws (2 ° C) is it possible to slightly damage the flower buds and tops of the shoots. However, plants, possessing good regenerative ability, quickly adapt to local conditions.
Honeysuckle is not difficult to propagate with the help of seeds, however, with this method, parental properties are lost, therefore it is mainly used by breeders.
During vegetative propagation, varietal properties are preserved. For reproduction by lignified cuttings at the end of autumn, annual growths are cut into pieces of 20 cm each. Such cuttings are stored in sand or sawdust until spring. As soon as the ground thaws, they are planted in a greenhouse at an angle of 45about, regularly watering and opening for ventilation. After a month, roots appear. A transplant to the site is carried out in the fall.
When propagated by cuttings, the varietal characteristics of honeysuckle are completely preserved.
Green cuttings 12 cm long are cut from annual growths at the end of flowering and planted in containers with fertile soil, watered and covered with foil. For better rooting, you can use Aquadon, which not only feeds the plants with the necessary trace elements, but also keeps the soil moist for a long time. The greenhouse must be slightly opened for ventilation, to prevent the soil from drying out. The next fall, the grown plants are planted in the garden. These cuttings have the highest survival rate.
The easiest way to propagate honeysuckle is with layering. In June, the top of the shoot is sprinkled with soil with a layer of 5 cm, pinned and watered. Separate it from the mother plant and plant it next year in the fall.
The easiest way to propagate honeysuckle is with apical layers
Honeysuckle reproduces very easily by dividing the bush. A bush no older than 5 years is divided into parts with roots and 2-3 branches. Since the wood of honeysuckle is very durable, the division of the bush is carried out using a saw or an ax. Each bush is planted separately.
Honeysuckle practically does not get sick, only with prolonged rains or in severe drought, harmful fungi can develop on it. Rarely can be found on bushes and parasitic insects. Preventive measures will help keep the bushes healthy.
On a note. Sweet honeysuckle berries are popular not only with humans, but also with birds. Sparrows and fieldbirds can quickly destroy most of the ripe fruit. In order not to lose the harvest, the berries should be harvested as soon as they ripen. A reliable method of protection is to cover the bushes with a net.
The most annoying pests of honeysuckle are birds, especially fieldbirds.
In recent years, gardeners' interest in honeysuckle has grown significantly. First of all, they are attracted by the indisputable advantages of this culture over other berries - early ripening of fruits and unique winter hardiness. The Leningrad giant is especially popular - one of the largest and most productive varieties of honeysuckle.
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The Leningrad giant is characterized by early ripening and can grow in one place for about 30 years.
Honeysuckle Leningrad giant, the description of the variety of which is of interest to most gardeners, is a winter-hardy plant. Flowers and young ovaries can withstand spring frosts down to -7 o C, and wood and roots - up to -40 o C.
The plant is practically not susceptible to infection by diseases and pests. Therefore, it does not need chemical treatments, which results in environmentally friendly and healthy berries. The variety was bred at the Pavlovsk Experimental Station in St. Petersburg (Russia) by seed method. The original form is wild Kamchatka honeysuckle.
Distinctive features - large fruits weighing up to 5 g, pleasant taste without bitterness, no discharge of overripe fruits, early maturity.
This variety of honeysuckle loves a sunny place, space for the growth of the bush, corresponding to the size of the plant, so it is better to plant it at a distance of at least 1.5-2 m from one another. When planting the Leningrad giant, rows are left with aisles up to 3 m wide.
Before planting the Leningrad giant honeysuckle on your site, check the acidity level of the soil in the place where the bush will grow. The best acidity index for this plant is pH 6-7.
The Leningrad giant loves sunny places, loose soil and timely watering
For honeysuckle, prepare a landing pit measuring 0.4x0.4x0.4 m
After planting honeysuckle, the soil needs to be watered
The soil near the honeysuckle bushes should be constantly loose to a depth of 8 cm.
Timely watering is important for young seedlings - the soil should not be allowed to dry out. Top dressing of honeysuckle for the first 2 years is carried out only in the spring with a solution of urea or ammonium nitrate in water, prepared in accordance with the instructions. Such a solution is consumed for each bush 10 liters.
Honeysuckle over 2 years old is fed three times a season with mineral fertilizers prepared according to the instructions for them:
Some gardeners apply mineral fertilizers only in the spring, and for the winter, under each bush in the trunk circle, they close up a bucket of humus and a liter can of ash.
Until the age of 15 years, honeysuckle only needs sanitary pruning, if some branches are damaged, withered or unnecessarily thicken the crown. From 15 to 20 years old, skeletal branches are removed in the fall. If the yield of a bush over 20 years old has decreased, then by autumn pruning the entire bush is removed at a level of 15–20 cm from the ground. Such a plant will still bear fruit for 10 years.
Honeysuckle is pruned depending on the age of the plant.
The Leningrad giant does not need shelter for the winter.
All operations for caring for honeysuckle and harvesting must be done carefully, since the branches of this plant are fragile.
Dogwood, black currant, barberry are excellent neighbors for honeysuckle.
Often on adult plants of honeysuckle, including the Leningrad giant, stripes of bark depart. This should not scare the grower. This process is normal for these plants and is not an unusual disease.
The Leningrad giant is self-fertile, therefore it is advised to plant honeysuckle bushes of a different variety next to him, which will serve as pollinators. The best varieties in this regard are:
The Leningrad giant, like other varieties, has a number of its own individual characteristics. It:
Honeysuckle grows well from seeds, but at the same time new plants lose many of their maternal properties, so this method is not used at home. The best way to preserve varietal properties is vegetative propagation. The Leningrad giant is propagated by cuttings, layering and dividing the bush.
If you do not already have honeysuckle, then you will have to purchase seedlings to plant it. Do not forget that along with the seedlings of the Leningrad giant, you will need to buy seedlings of pollinator varieties.
It is also very important to choose the right healthy seedling that will not die after planting. To do this, follow a couple of simple rules:
Young bushes of the Leningrad giant do not need pruning and feeding for the first two years. They are only watered, weeded and mulched in the near-trunk zone.