Chinese Wolfberry in Zone 4 Minnesota
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Richard Sutton
Posted on: June 28, 2002

We just received Chinese wolfberry plants from you. My wife ordered them, and I didn’t think to check your WEB Site for cultivation information until after we received them. We have no other cultivation information at all. We are in zone 4 here in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I now see, as expected, that wolfberries are a zone 5 plant.

We have successfully raised zone 5 blackberries here for over 15 years (Thornfree & Chester) by burying them in dirt late fall, after pruning the second year bearing canes. It is a lot of work, but they thrive and bear well. Do you think wolfberries will survive and produce here if I just wrap them in plastic in the fall? If they do need to be buried, are they flexible enough? Do they need to be buried in dirt, or is straw enough? How about pruning and supporting the branches, what is required?

Our experience with overwintering wolfberry is in zone 5; we have not tried them in zone 4, nor have we heard from anyone who has. Wolfberry is only recently becoming known in North America so we have yet to get good hardiness data. I can say that in zone 5 wolfberry does not require special treatment; perhaps a straw mulch, if anything.

In general one can usually push plants one colder zone provided adequate mulching and water drainage is provided. I would recommend mulching with straw, and pruning as you do with your blackberries. Wolfberries will likely die down to the ground each year in your area so you may simply need to remove dead stems in the spring.

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