Lycium Species, Barbary Matrimony Vine, Chinese Box Thorn, Goji Berry, Wolfberry

Lycium barbarum

Family: Solanaceae (so-lan-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lycium (LY-see-um) (Info)
Species: barbarum (BAR-bar-rum) (Info)
Synonym:Lycium halimifolium
Synonym:Lycium vulgare
View this plant in a garden




Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone

Can be grown as an annual

Suitable for growing in containers


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:



Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From woody stem cuttings

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

Direct sow as soon as the ground can be worked

From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Glendale, Arizona

Peoria, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona(2 reports)

Surprise, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Fallbrook, California(5 reports)

Fresno, California

Long Beach, California

NORTH FORK, California

San Jose, California

Sun City, California

Tulare, California

Bellvue, Colorado

Henderson, Colorado

Palisade, Colorado

Daytona Beach, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Panama City, Florida

Welaka, Florida

Carrollton, Georgia

Snellville, Georgia


Pukalani, Hawaii

Boise, Idaho

Priest River, Idaho

Derby, Kansas

Coushatta, Louisiana

Cumberland, Maryland

Quantico, Maryland

Capac, Michigan

Clinton, Mississippi

Lucedale, Mississippi

Bedford, New York

Vermilion, Ohio

Hillsboro, Oregon

Hummelstown, Pennsylvania

Sumter, South Carolina

Clarksville, Tennessee

San Marcos, Texas

South Jordan, Utah

Kennewick, Washington

Marysville, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 16, 2017, Tulegirl from Tulare, CA wrote:

In April I planted two 3 gal containers of Goji berries from Costco (raised by Double A farms) in a planter by my fence. I live in a small house with a small back yard in the CA San Joaquin Valley and it is hot here in summer and cold/foggy in winter. My goji berries are thriving, as are my grapes this first growing season. Can't boast much about any other of my berries but the goji berries grew impressively and are overflowing with (tiny) berries and blossoms. I'm hoping to train them as trees, though they are quite bushy right now. I will wait to trim most side branches until they are dormant in winter. Hope the berries get bigger next season.


On Oct 1, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This is a spiny, sprawling shrub/vine. It has spread quickly underground here (in Boston, USDA Z6a), like a bramble, and also roots where the stems touch the ground. It needs regular attention if it isn't to turn into a tangled brier patch.

I don't find the little flowers to be big enough to be showy.

At least two cultivars have been selected.

According to the Penn State Extension service, this species is hardy to USDA hardiness zone 2.

According to BONAP, it has naturalized in all but 2 of the lower 48 states and all but one of the southern Canadian pro... read more


On Sep 25, 2015, malsprower from Daytona, FL wrote:

I bought a Goji from Walmart grown by Dewar nurseries. This plant is absolutely amazing, it flowered like crazy as soon as I transplanted it into a large pot. I left it out in the Florida heat and it seemed to deal with it quite well. The soil got a bit hot and the rain was constant so it was not bearing any fruit. I put it up in the screened in south facing porch and I finally got my first berry to grow, it is still green so I shouldn't get ahead of myself. Even if the plant never ever fruits, I would be fine with that because it's such a beautiful specimen when it flowers. Every vine on this plant has flowers!!!!

May 2016 update:
I bought another strain of goji with black and purple flowers (the walmart one has black, white, and purple flowers) and planted them clos... read more


On Apr 25, 2014, kevhumphreys from Newcastle,
Australia wrote:

I live in Nsw, Australia on the east coast.
I believe our climate is similar to Californias, maybe hotter summers and mild winters ( no frosts )
In early spring planted some lycium barbarum seeds in punnets and they germinated quickly. Later transplanted them to pots and then into my garden where they get plenty of sun. Now they are growing quickly, and about 4 ft high but still no fruit although a few have produced flowers but after flowering the buds fall off.
During summer I mulched the ground with sugar cane mulch as the heat of summer can bake the ground. These goji plants seem pretty hardy.If the ground got too dry they just stopped growing, so maybe soil
Needs to be kept moist just as for tomatoes
It is now mid autumn and plants are still growin... read more


On Sep 26, 2013, FlaFlower from Titusville, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

It escaped from the bottom of the pot and rooted it's self.
I thought that was OK I just snipped it off...OMG...6 weeks later those snipped off root are taking over an entire area!


On Jul 28, 2013, agreenerside from Quantico, MD wrote:

we ordered these in quart pots for 3 dollars in the spring, i bumped some up to 3 gallon and stuck some in the ground, they quickly shot up to 3 feet and turned yellow in the pots, the ones in the ground got to much rain and didn't grow, i peed on them in the pots and now they are happy and green, they seem to like to be trained like black berries and to be given there own space until established as to not have competition for the first year. so far they like it kinda dry and nitrogen until there "Extensive" root system finds its way around your yard lol


On Jul 12, 2013, HeatherY from Kensington, NY wrote:

This might sound odd with all the stories about how invasive Goji ( Lycium) can be, but mine is barely growing.

It has one tiny leaf cluster that slowly is getting a little more greenery as time goes on. It is, I admit, only planted this year for a few months, ( four) but I really expected more growth sooner.

I am feeding it nightshade friendly tomato nutrient, trimming the willow above it (although it is supposed to be partial shade friendly) and building up the soil around it.

My zone is 7-A, Brooklyn New York.


On May 16, 2013, cltopliff from Tucson, AZ wrote:

Just got a wolfberry from the Orange box store. Was delighted to find they were the L barbarum/true Goji Berry. Got 2 more! ;) But am not clear whether they are deciduous or some degree of evergreen outdoors in Tucson. Sources I've found either don't say, or vary. One said they're evergreen in temperate parts of China.
Answer will influence what else I plant, so any info is appreciated-the sooner, the better ;)


On Dec 28, 2012, RobertCrandall from Capac, MI wrote:

I was getting a bit discouraged after the worst growing season in Michigan history. We lost all of our fruit so the berry's were the only hope we had. The first few goji plants were two years old and were just holding at about 2 foot tall. In late July they started taking off and shot up about 2 more feet, limbs split to about six or seven each and blossoms we covering them. For our first crop we got about 100 off of each one and they were the best tasting berry we could hope for. I immediately planted a dozen more!


On Sep 19, 2012, risingcreek from sun city, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I found out the hard way that these plants do not grow much at all in containers. put them in the ground and they take off. mine stayed a few inches tall the first year in pots, when i planted them in the ground they shot up to 4 feet in a very short time. they already have blossoms, but dont think i will get much fruit this year. temps here vary from 15 degrees in the winter to 108 in the summer and these plants just keep going. cant wait to taste the fruit!


On May 25, 2011, AnitTina from Eustis, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I purchased 3 of them this year from 2 different venders on line each one has a different leaf type one is thicker oval leaf one with a smaller oval leaf one with a long thin leaf. The thicker leaf plants seem to be bushier while the thin leaf plant is growing tall and thin branches.
I have never eaten a berry from this plant I do hope I like them.
They had a lot of good benefits so I thought I would give growing them a shot.


On Feb 7, 2011, bishopbookworm from Bishop, CA wrote:

veganman, I'm glad to hear of your success w/goji beerries in arizona - we have summer temp's like that here too & I'd read that they were good only to about 100F. The more I read about these plants, the more I realize that there are pretty much just a bunch of educated guesses out there about them. Thanks for the good info here everyone!


On Oct 20, 2010, veganman from Peoria, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

I grew my plants from seed harvested from the dried Goji berries I bought at Trader Joe's.

So far so good! They're a year old now. Heavy feeders when it's warm.

I've pruned 2 of them into 3' weeping standards. They are blossoming on the new growth with purple and pink splashed flowers this month.

I let 2 grow unabated, they have not produced yet.

The last 2 I have in large hanging baskets. The fronds hang down and make fruit harvesting really easy.

The seedlings survived the Phoenix summer outside in full sun, to my surprise. The hotter it got, the larger they grew. They didn't burn when it hit 115 in full sun! Amazing!

As for harvesting....all I can say is they're MUCH sweeter dried. LOL!
... read more


On Jul 22, 2010, insipidtoast from Santa Barbara, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I bought lots of tiny seeds off the internet. A month ago I started an entire seedling flat solely devoted to the Goji berry seed. The seed packet reads Lycium chinense, which, according to Plants for a Future database, is a synonym for L. barbarum. The seeds were quick to germinate (less than 2 weeks) and practically had a 100% germination rate. That's the good news. The bad news is that the seedlings are growing VERY slow. Granted we haven't had the warmest summer, but I would have expected the seedlings to be taller than 1 inch by the end of one month's growth.

I also bought an established plant from a local nursery. Grown by the wholesaler, La Verne. In the usual La Verne fashion the plant was staked up to a post, so that upon planting the plant at home and removing it f... read more


On Feb 13, 2009, Jianhua from Shangshui, Henan,
China (Zone 7b) wrote:

Chinese name for the plant:
Pinyin: Go Qi Character: 枸杞
A well-known and traditional Chinese herb. People use the red berries as a healthcare tea, and Ningxia Goji is among the best.


On Nov 19, 2008, rosilinda from Fallbrook, CA wrote:

We started our Lycium bararum plants in March 2008, indoors on a plant heat pad, from seeds bought on E-Bay. They germanated very nicely with plenty of seedlings to plant out in 6-packs, then into 6" pots. They shot straight up in our hot summer months here in North San Diego Co. Some have bushed out, but many are 3' tall single stems. The one question we have not found an answer to is how to prune, but they seem so vigorous that I'm sure we can't make a mistake prunning like any other shrub. Would love to see prunning information included in the extremely informative plant discriptions on this site. Hoping for berries next year.


On Nov 29, 2007, BeverlyGojiSeed from Winterset, IA (Zone 5a) wrote:

The Lycium barbarum in Chinese is called Gou Qi Zi & Goji or Wolfberry here in America. I am told there are some 80 vairites of the Lycium world wide. The Goji Lycium barbarum originated in the Himalayas. The Lycium chinese called the Wolfberry or Boxthorn is native to China very similar to the Goji but has more oval lives and its berries are very bitter. I have grown the Goji Lycium for 5 years now and have found no part of it that is poisonous; to the contrary, every thing loves to eat it, here is an excerpt from a Goji Legend:

This herb has five names. You want to take a different part of the herb each season. In spring you take its leaves, which is known as the essence of heaven . In summer you take its flowers, which is known as the longevity of life. In autumn you t... read more


On Mar 23, 2005, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

For thousands of years, people in Asia have used lycium fruit and licorice to help maintain good health. Lycium is a Chinese herb that is said to help improve vision and prevent headaches and dizziness caused by liver and kidney deficiencies. Sources report also that it has been shown effective in mild forms of diabetes. Also said to serve as a liver and blood tonic.. The berry is supposed to be one of the best sources for anti-oxidents.

Lycium fruit extract contains both conventional nutrients and phytonutrients (nutrients from plants), including vitamins, minerals, beta carotene, polysaccharides and amino acids. Also known as the Goji berry in China.