Schisandra Chinensis, Lycium Barbarum

shivadiva(6a)January 2, 2006

Hi...looking for comments on growing experiences with Schisandra vine and Goji berry (wolf berry). The first is a vigorous vine and is compared to a clematis or a grape vine...the latter is a bushy thing with thorns that grows in a large caning habit (but can be pruned).

Both of these are herbs from traditional chinese medicine, and I would like to grow them and harvest them. Anyone with experience? Both seem like they have escaped easily and might be invasive.

Also, any cooking recipes? Both end-products are dried berries which are fantastic antioxidant sources and are used in teas--goji berry is also used like raisins for snacking and gets put in trail mix, and some people have suggested trying stewing them with meat dishes like prunes, cherries, etc. The other (Schisandra, magnolia vine, wu wei zi, Five Flavor berry) is apparently sourer...but I'm game to cook it if anyone has suggestions or recipes.


Carol Shepherd

Ann Arbor, MI

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drasaid(zone 8)

I am trying to grow some from a few dried berries I bought at Whole Foods (about a handful is a buck! Dang) If I get more than two you can have some seedlings. (that is unless you are already doing the same thing I am.)
I did'nt know they had thorns, though.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2006 at 9:38AM
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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)

I traded with a nice member last spring and got a few cuttings rooted. I planted them out last summer and they seemed to do well. I am anxiously awaiting spring to see if they return.

~Chills (in SCS, Mi)

    Bookmark   January 21, 2006 at 8:53PM
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Chills, which plant did you root cuttings of; schisandra or lycium?

    Bookmark   January 21, 2006 at 9:40PM
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drasaid(zone 8)

I have at least three so far. I soaked them and smushed them, then buried some and left others on the surface of the soil. I got the berries at Whole Food (about twelve, enough to weigh so I could pay for them.)
So if you want some seedlings, and can wait until they are sturdy enough to mail, let me know.
I'd like some schisandra too!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2006 at 12:46PM
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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)

lycium.....but I did order an Eastern Prince Schisandra for this spring.


    Bookmark   January 23, 2006 at 10:17PM
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After my eastern prince magnolia vine was dug up and killed last year, I went through with it and bought another one this year. I will be starting it in the nursery this year.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2006 at 9:50AM
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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)

how old was yours when it died? Did you ever get fruit from it?

This is another of those plants which the description of the fruit is unclear. (a pet peeve of mine)


    Bookmark   January 25, 2006 at 10:03PM
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Just planted it last year from jung. By the descriptions that are out there the fruit doesn't sound very tasty, but sounds nutritious.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2006 at 7:27PM
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chervil2(z5 MA)

My Schisandra chinensis is an attractive vine that has been bearing fruit for four years. The berry flavor is strong and interesting both fresh and dried. A local Chinese restaurant serves homemade Schisandra juice and extolls the health benefits of the beverage. The juice flavor is okay. I prefer to have Chinese tea with my meal.


    Bookmark   February 20, 2006 at 3:08PM
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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)

Just an update. The Lycium plants I rooted from cuttings last year have already started leafing out (which places them in second place after the goumi which didn't lose its leaves and has been adding new leaves since the first of the year.

If they flower (the Lycium, wolfberries) I'll try to post a pic and update this posting.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2006 at 11:13PM
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For good information on growing lycium barbarum/goji berry, you can check; they have the best information I've found. I ordered one plant from them which just arrived today. It was bare root and dormant so don't know yet how it will do. You can also check One Green World also sells them.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2006 at 5:51PM
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i just posted this in the vines forum. i am so excited b/c i have berries on my schiz. the flowers aren't nearly as showy as the pics in the catalog. well, at least i never notice them until too late. lasat year, i had one bloom. this year i had many. as of now, the berries are green. i do not know how long it takes for them to mature. i did read that they sweeten a bit if left through a frost. does this mean it takes a long time to develop the fruit to maturity? i don't know.

anyway, mine has been growing in part sun/shade for 3-5 years on my shed trellis. it started out a little bushy but with one long vine section. this year, it is taking off. ihave had no insect attacks or diseases. it hasn't spread underground from its little 1'x 5' section. now, as for invasiveness from berries, i don't have a clue.

hope this gave some useful information.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 3:00AM
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Got the Schisandra from Jung and put it in the ground this spring, very healthy looking. However, the animals like it too much: it's been chewed down to the ground 3 times (and keeps coming back up, but I worry about its ability to survive). Must be tasty!

On the Lycium Barbarum...I have decided to buy them rather than to grow them. I am eating a handful a day on my cereal for the antioxidant values...growing that many myself would entail giving my entire yard over to the bushes.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 11:00AM
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I've bought Schisandra from jung twice and both times it has died. I might try again because of the 'three strikes and your out' rule. Seaberries are one that likes my Western Iowa climate.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 12:51PM
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Tammy Kennedy

burnt ridge carries both plants at reasonable prices... and i've had good luck with their stuff. i've found schizandra to be a little invasive. it suckers out from the base. i planted mine about 7 years ago, and when i realized it suckered, i tried to move it. didn't get all the roots, so inow i have it in 2 spots. it bloomed last year, but the berries dropped. this year it was full of buds but we had a sever late freeze that zapped them off. so i still haven't tasted the berries. haven't tried the wolfberry yet, but it's on my list of wants...

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 10:24PM
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Just started some wolfberry seeds I got from Trade Winds Fruit. They were quite easy to germinate (only took couple days). Any suggestion on how to keep them happy would be greatly appreciated. My in-law used to have one but it was very susceptible to mildew. It only fruited very sparingly once so she finally got rid of it.

I am hoping mine are going to work out since I eat wolf berry a lot. I like to use wolf berry to make tea together with dried Chinese jujube and dried longan fruit. It is a sweet tasting tea to me but it could be an acquired taste to others. Or try dried chrysanthemums and wolf berry tea, it smells good and tastes good! I also like to add wolf berry into soups (e.g chicken soup, vegetable soup). They can be used as garnish or in salads too since they have such wonderful color. I guess there can be many more ways to use it. Can't wait until my plant grows big!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 12:38AM
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did you get the Schisandra Chinensis, Lycium Barbarum plants?

    Bookmark   January 8, 2009 at 5:42PM
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I grew about 50 Lycium plants 2 years ago from seed. I soaked the berries and germinated them in damp paper towel. The biggest ones are now about 3 feet tall and flowered for the first time this spring. From what I have heard about goji they like well-drained mineral rich soil and may 'drown' easily. Many of my seedlings survived unprotected outside in pots over the winter, (-25 f) proving them to be very cold tolerant... and also tolerate of the extreme hot and dry summer conditions here with minimal irrigation.

I have collected about 5 other 'varieties' of berries from various sources and have them growing in the nursery this spring.

I am curious about schisandra and its growing requirements as I bought some seeds this spring but have not started to grow them yet.

I'm also trying a plant called yellow-horn which is supposed to be quite drought and heat tolerant and bears edible nuts.


    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 10:35PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

I grew Lycium from seeds too, but I planted them in the garden in fall and none were still there in spring. I might try again and keep them in pots or at least until they are bigger plants.

According to Plants for a Future, Schisandra chinensis has separate male and female plants and must have both to fruit. This is also my experience since I once had 2 plants and had berries set, then one died and the remaining plant, although large, doesn't seem to set berries anymore. I need to get a second plant again, I guess, but I don't understand the reports above about getting berries with one plant...?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 2:28PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

Oh, I looked at Burnt Ridge's site and Plants for a Future again, and apparently only Schisandra chinensis needs a male and female plant, Eastern Prince is self-fertile.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 5:36PM
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Dear Friends,

I live in Romania and i just heard of schisandra, but i wish it very much.

How can i know which plant is male and which is female?
I read that florist sell de-sexed plant. How can i avoid such a neutered one?

PS. You mentioned a self-fertile cultivar, Eastern Prince. Does anyone have such a plant and have seeds from it? If yes, do you sell/ exchange few of them?

Love from Romania

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 12:34PM
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In northern Wis. the schizandra I planted ten years ago is at least 11ft tall against the house. it berries copiously, but the robins and their babies eat every last one as they ripen. I bought it mail order, with no idea how to grow it. Luckily it loves morning sun, and shade past noon. It has never run rampant, or even tried to, but it does have many stems now at the base. Stems that can easily be cut from the mother and planted elsewhere.
What do you do with this plant?
it is the plant straight ahead, against the house. The climber on the left is a clematis.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 10:19PM
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