Alphabetical Plant Listing

Lycium barbarum (Chinese Box Thorn)

Barbary Matrimony Vine, Chinese Box Thorn, Chinese Boxthorn, Chinese Wolfberry, Duke of Argyll's Tea Tree, Goji Berry, Goji Plant, Himalayan Goji Berry, Matrimony Vine, Wolf Berry, Wolfberry


Lycium barbarum (Chinese Box Thorn) is a scrambling deciduous shrub with long, sparsely spiny stems clothed with narrow, lance-shaped, bright green leaves. In late spring and summer, small, tubular, pale purple to lavender flowers bloom on stalks rising from the leaf axils. They give way to bright red berries (Goji berries), which ripen in the fall. Edible, fresh or dried, they have a mild sweet liquorice flavor. Only the fully ripe fruits should be eaten. Young shoots can be cooked and used as a flavoring. The leaves are a tea substitute. It is also useful for poor, dry soil and coastal gardens. It may be grown as a hedge. Lycium barbarum has been used for centuries in China as a traditional medicinal and food supplement.

  • Grows up to 6-8 ft. tall (180-240 cm) and 12-15 ft. wide (360-450 cm).
  • Thrives in average, moderately fertile, well-drained soils in full sun. Plants tolerate some light shade. Some drought tolerance once established.
  • If grown for fruit production, branches may be attached to a trellis to facilitate harvest.
  • Virtually pest and disease free. Keep an eye out for powdery mildew.
  • Remove dead wood in winter and cut back to restrict growth if required. Cut back hedges hard in spring.
  • Propagate by seed in containers outdoors in autumn. Take hardwood cuttings in winter or softwood cuttings in early summer.
  • Native to China.

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Requirements

Hardiness 6 – 9
Heat Zones 5 – 9
Plant Type Fruit, Shrubs
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 6' – 8' (180cm – 240cm)
Spread 12' – 15' (3.6m – 4.5m)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Fruit & Berries
Tolerance Drought
Garden Uses Banks and Slopes, Beds and Borders, Hedges and Screens
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage

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Roman Kutsekon, Slavik Rostovski, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 6 – 9
Heat Zones 5 – 9
Plant Type Fruit, Shrubs
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 6' – 8' (180cm – 240cm)
Spread 12' – 15' (3.6m – 4.5m)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Fruit & Berries
Tolerance Drought
Garden Uses Banks and Slopes, Beds and Borders, Hedges and Screens
Garden Styles Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage

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