Wolfberries in North Carolina?
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Brent Whitley
Posted on: August 06, 2006

I live in the mountains of North Carolina, and I am interested in growing wolfberries. My first question is whether these plants would even survive in this climate, and my second question is if these berries would disrupt the natural ecosystem here since they are not native?

Chinese wolfberry (Lycium barbarum) is rated hardy in zones 5-9. Your area is well within this range so wolfberry should be hardy. I use the word "should" because the hardiness ratings are based only on average minimum winter temperatures and do not reflect other important factors such as snow cover, mulching, soil type, precipitation and others. We can tell you that wolfberry has proved to be hardy in Toronto which is in zones 5-6.

There is no indication that wolfberry is invasive in North America. According to "A Geographical Atlas of Word Weeds" by Holm et al. (1979, Wiley-Interscience, Toronto) Lycium barbarum is reported to be a weed of unspecified importance in Pakistan and Turkey. It is worth noting that many common garden plants are weedy somewhere in the world, so don’t read too much in the fact that wolfberry is a weed in those two countries. Our own observations suggest that the plant is not aggressive in North America.

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