The Lycium barbarum is a shrub that belongs to the family of the Solanaceae (to which also the chili pepper, the tomato, the potato, the aubergine belong), widespread in Europe and Asia. Two different species belong to the genus Lycium: barbarum and chinense, although the barbarum produces berries that are more rich in vitamins, mineral salts and antioxidants. The lycium barbarum has narrow, acute leaves both at the apex and at the base. The corolla has ciliate margins, while the lobes fold themselves, but without reaching the base of the calyx. The fruit of the barbarum has a sweet taste, with a juicy pulp and a coloring between orange and red. Lycium barbarum is indicated for fatigue, to combat immune weakness, as a cleanser, against high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Cultivation of the Lycium barbarum
Lycium barbarum is a plant that resists drought very well, prefers a type of soil that has a high pH of between 6.8 and 8. In case of unsuitable soil it is possible to correct acidity by adding calcium carbonate to increase the ph, or by adding sulfate of iron or sulfur to lower it. The exposure must be particularly sunny and a good availability of land is needed in order to allow the plants to grow adequately, in fact in some cases reaching a height of 3 meters. The leaves have an emerald green color with drooping branches. Being a plant that also develops in width, it certainly needs systematic pruning to contain its expansion. The correct nitrogen intake is important in the growing season.
Care of the Lycium barbarum
The flowering occurs at the beginning of summer, while in the months between July and November the berries ripen. At the end of autumn, when the first colds begin, the plant will enter the vegetative rest and lose the foliage. The plant does not need many cures, because it is fairly resistant, but pests or diseases should be taken into consideration. The first infructescences are produced in the third year of life of the plant, but subsequently, with an adequate pruning, the berries could be produced in greater quantities. The methodology to follow to produce the new seedlings is with sowing, but in this case it could take place only after an adequate period of stay in a seedbed, so that the seeds germinate optimally.
Pruning of Lycium barbarum
To make the seeds germinate properly, the seedbed must be kept in a warm place, with optimal lighting and watered periodically with hot water. Plants can be grown in pots, although it must be taken into account that the roots will not be able to grow completely, as the space is restricted. After the seeds have sprouted, before being transplanted, they should be left to soak in water at room temperature. The planting pot must have adequate drainage, sand and universal soil should be mixed. Pruning usually takes place in winter, although it is possible to do it in every period to contain its development. The lower side shoots must be cut so as to strengthen the trunk.