Garden Oracle / Drought and Heat Tolerant Gardening / Tucson - Phoenix - Arizona - California

Growing Lycium brevipes:
Baja Desert-thorn

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Form: Shrub.
Lifespan: Perennial.
Leaf retention: Evergreen, but deciduous when stressed by cold or drought.
Growth rate: Moderate to rapid.
Mature Size: 3-12' high and as wide.
Flowers: Tiny, white to purple, funnel-shaped with 2-6 lobes, often clustered.
Bloom: Most of the year, with heaviest blooms mid-fall to late winter.
Fruit: Red, small, spherical, with several seeds, edible but tasteless.
Leaves: Green to blue-green, small, usually covered with minute hairs, oval to spatula-shaped, and somewhat succulent.
Stems: Stiff, densely branched, thorny.
Roots: Fibrous, extensive.
Wildlife: The fruit attracts birds. The flowers attract pollinating insects, and possibly butterflies and hummingbirds. This plant is a larval host plant for several species of moths.
Toxic / Danger: Thorns.
Origin: North America.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 9-10.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun to light shade. Too much shade produces leggy growth.
Water after becoming established: Monthly. More frequent water produces more leaves, flowers and fruit.
Soil: Well drained, dry, low in organic content, pH 6.6-8.5 (neutral to alkaline). This plant is salt tolerant.
Mulch: No. The soil should dry quickly.
First Year Care: Water every 3-10 days at the drip line as needed to establish an extensive root system.
Prune: This plant can be shaped at any time of the year.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Seed or cuttings.
Uses: Barrier plant, hedge, bird garden, ornamental.

Lycium is a member of the Nightshade family (Solanaceae). This plant is considered easy to grow when its first year water needs are met.
Plants in this genus are often referred to as Wolfberry.

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Lycium brevipes: Baja Desert-thorn

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Latest update: May, 2022