Groundsel (lonicera caelurea), is otherwise known as Kamchatka blueberry. We still consider it a kind of exotic crop. It is not quite a common and traditional part of our gardens, like the fly agaric, buckthorn, chokecherry, or many other useful shrubs. However, the groundsel is in many ways a unique fruit that is suitable even for a neglected garden. It needs no care except possibly irrigation. It has excellent frost resistance. Its hardy properties are also reflected in the flowers. Temperatures of around 0° to 5° or 7° C will not harm groundsel flowers. Since the shrub can bear its first fruit as early as May, it can be enjoyed as perhaps the first fruit in our gardens. There are, however, several other ways in which the groundsel can please you as a grower.
Excellent characteristics and unpretentiousness surpassing blueberries
Compared to the popular classic blueberries, groundsel does not require soil amendments. It does not require acidic soil and thrives in any nutrient-rich garden loam. It grows to a height of about 1.5 metres, or more depending on the variety. Although it is a member of the richly branched group of ground elder, the Kamchatka ground elder (lonicera caelurea) is edible and beneficial to health. There are several interesting cultivars under it, which are mostly characterised by the same properties.
First of all, it is:
- Excellent resistance to frost, diseases and possible pests on wood, leaves or fruit.
- The young shrubs start to bear fruit (for example, already in the first year after the purchase of a container with a bush), but the harvest is most pronounced only at the age of 3+ years when the bush is mature, in some varieties after 5+ years.
- It is a long-lived plant. It has finer leaves than the classic blueberry, but a size and intensity of growth similar to currants.
- It needs a pollinator. It is therefore advisable to plant another groundsel bush near it.
- Its tiny white flowers appear quite early. That is why we can appreciate the flower's resistance to early spring frosts. A welcome consequence of the early flowering is a very early harvest. This multiplies with the age of the plant and the volume of the bush.
- The fruits are rich in antioxidants, vitamins C, B, A, vitamin P, iron and other minerals. They also contain pectin.
- It is mostly harvested in early June and is ideal for juices, smoothies, fruit cocktails, mixtures, cake decorating, desserts. It is also used for compotes, jams, marmalades, syrups and liqueurs.
Interesting varieties of groundnut
In our area we appreciate hardiness, health vitality, fertility and fruit size. Compared to the original older varieties, the new ones are characterised by larger fruits or even more visible on the bushes, without a lengthy search. For example:
Variety Lomicera caelurea Jugana®
The large-fruited variety of Siberian groundsel grows on a medium-high shrub reaching 1.5 m in height and slightly wider. The large, sweet-sour, very good-tasting fruits, up to 4 cm long, are easy to pick without damaging the fruit. They can be stored in the refrigerator. They do not drop from the bush when ripe. They will give you the biggest harvest from the eighth year onwards. (variety detail)
Groundsel (Lonicera caerulea) Aurora®
A cross between Siberian and Japanese varieties, it can reach up to 2 metres in height under the best conditions. Several sources list this variety as ideal for the northern regions of Slovakia, especially because of its good resistance to the hardest frosts. It is also known for the sweet taste of the fruit, which weighs up to 1,9 grams. (variety detail)
It is a moderately fast-growing shrub, but only reaches a size of just over 1 metre at maturity. However, a single mature bush can yield more than 4 kilograms. The fruit ripens in the second half of May. The recommended pollinator may be the Aurora.
Canadian Groundsel (Lonicera caerulea) Indigo Jem
The moderately dense shrub, up to about 1.7 metres tall, has its skeletal branches arched. The really large fruits are characteristic compared to other varieties. They weigh about 1,2 grams and more. The ends of the fruit are differently shaped. They are very easy to pick without damage, and they also carry and store in cold storage. Their sweet taste is very well appreciated. It reaches full fruiting with a significant yield in about the eighth year of life. (variety detail)
Groundsel (Lonicera caerulea) Honey Bee®
The large-fruited groundsel is also interesting because half of its origin is in the Kuril Islands. The fast-growing shrub reaches more than 1.5 meters in height. The fruits ripen in the second half of May, after ripening, remain on the bush and do not fall off. They delight with their sweet taste, but above all with the high yield of the bush. (variety detail)
Variety Boreal Blizzard
Slightly later (by about two weeks) is the Boreal Blizzard variety, which ripens at the beginning of June. The fruits are comparatively slightly larger than other varieties.
Late Groundsel Boreal Beast
This variety belongs to the late. The fruits of Boreal Beast ripen in July. They are 2,5 cm in size and have an excellent sweet taste. This variety can thus be combined with others to extend the harvest season. Naturally, it is necessary to have an equally late pollinator.
Groundsel Boreal Beauty
Boreal Beauty is an interesting variety ripening at the end of May. The fruit is around 3 to 4 centimetres long and oval in shape. The end of the fruit is not as deformed as in other cultivars.