You may be acquainted with matrimony vine, a sprawling plant with spiny stems, leathery leaves, bell-shaped purple or lavender blooms, and red berries that fade to purple. If this doesn't sound familiar, you may know the plant by one of its many alternate names-- Barbary matrimony vine, boxthorn, false jessamine, or wolfberry. The berries, also known as goji berries, have a tart, tomato-like flavor. They are good to eat raw, dried, or cooked. However, the leaves are toxic when eaten in large quantities.
About Matrimony Vine Plants
Native to the Mediterranean, matrimony vine has escaped cultivation and is naturalized in the warm climates of Louisiana, North Carolina, and Florida. It is a member of the plant family that includes nightshade, potatoes, and tomatoes. Matrimony vine (Lycium barbarum) is a fast-growing plant that tolerates wet, sandy soil and standing water. However, it is tough enough to withstand periods of drought. It is a good choice for erosion control, although it can become weedy.
How to Grow a Matrimony Vine
Matrimony vine grows in any type of well-drained soil. While the plant prefers full sunlight, it tolerates partial shade. The easiest way to grow a matrimony vine is to purchase a small plant from a greenhouse or nursery. Dig a little compost or manure into the soil, then plant the vine after the last frost in spring or shortly before the first frost in autumn. Alternatively, start a new plant by taking cuttings from an existing plant. Cut a 4 to 5 inch (10-13 cm.) stem. Strip off the bottom leaves; dip the end of the cuttings in rooting hormone, then plant them in potting mix. Cover the cuttings with plastic and keep them in a warm, semi-dark location until you notice new growth. At that time, remove the plastic and move the young plants to bright light. Water as needed to keep the potting mix lightly moist, but never soggy. Once they are growing, matrimony vine requires little care. Fertilize the plant occasionally, but don't overfeed or you'll have lush growth and no blooms or berries. Prune in early spring, then trim lightly to keep the plant neat and tidy throughout the growing season.
Gardening tips, videos, info and more delivered right to your inbox!
Sign up for the Gardening Know How newsletter today and receive a free download of our most popular eBook "How to Grow Delicious Tomatoes."
A Credentialed Garden Writer, Mary H. Dyer was with Gardening Know How in the very beginning, publishing articles as early as 2007.
5 Budget-Friendly Ways To Reinvigorate Garden Soil – To Grow Better, Healthier Plants
Improve and condition your soil with these clever solutions that are simple, sustainable, and cost almost nothing. You will soon reap the rewards with lush foliage, abundant flowers, and delicious crops.
By Melanie Griffiths
Which Types Of Wood To Use For Growing Fungi
Wondering about the best logs for mushroom plugs? Match the mushroom type to the tree variety for a great crop of delicious mushrooms.
By Bonnie L. Grant
Goji Berry Plant Propagation: How To Propagate Goji Berry Seeds And Cuttings
The goji berry plant is a great addition to the garden, being touted all over these days as a tasty superfood. But how do you get more goji berry plants? Click the following article to learn more about how to propagate a goji berry plant.
By Liz Baessler
Potted Goji Berries: Growing Goji Berries In Containers
If you like the idea of growing goji berries but you're lacking garden space, planting them in containers is a viable alternative. In fact, potted goji berries are surprisingly easy to grow and maintain. Learn more in this article.
By Mary H. Dyer
Goji Berry Growing Info: Learn About How To Grow Goji Berries
The benefits of gogi berries are numerous and available to the home gardener. What are goji berries and how do you grow them? Read this article to learn more. Click here for goji berry info.
By Bonnie L. Grant