Starting Cuttings, Pale Wolfberry (Lycium pallidum)

I couldn’t bear waiting until summer to start Pale Wolfberry cuttings, so I grabbed 5 cuttings from 3 shrubs. Besides, I can see the wolfberries right now, but in late summer I would have trouble distinguishing them with all the plants surrounding them. Not to mention snakes.

Pale Wolfberry cutting

Pale Wolfberry cutting

So to make this really difficult, I marched straight over to the shrubs and broke off 5 twigs.

That handled, I brought them home and filled 5 one gallon plastic pots with native soil.

I pulled the leaves from the bottom 2/3 of the twigs and every little bunch of leaves hides a sharp nasty thorn!  At this point, I shoved the twigs into the sandy dry soil and brought the pots inside.  I watered them carefully and will keep them damp until the roots are well established.

Pale Wolfberry is a cold hardy member of the Solanaceae family, cousin to tomatoes and such.

One nice thing about sandy soil for starting cuttings is that it is easy to keep moist without being too wet and causing rotting.  I did not use rooting compound, although I am sure it wouldn’t hurt.  In Texas I bought a bag of sand to start cuttings since my soil was clay gumbo.  In Seattle I also bought sand because my soil was a wet spongy mass that grew moss and fungus overnight.  New Mexico sand is perfect for this.

Later I will start cuttings from elderberry, grapes, Oregon grape, Golden Currants, more Pale Wolfberries, and anything else I make up.  Once my warm season seedlings are out of my greenroom, it will be perfect for cuttings.  Come winter, I will have microgreens in there.  Of course I want a real greenhouse… I hear you thinking… and I already found a funky wood stove to heat it.

The downside of cuttings is that they don’t have as good a root system as seed grown plants, and that does matter here in New Mexico during extended droughts.  But to get Pale Wolfberries on my property and be able to conveniently collect seeds for future increase, I am good.  The upside of cuttings is that they bloom and set fruit and seed very quickly.  I use both cuttings and seeds for  both their characteristics, but have more confidence in seedlings.

If I am diligent and keep my five Pale Wolfberry cuttings watered, I will have 5 additions to my food forest and prickly perimeter planting.



About rebeccatreeseed

I am a naturalist raised by naturalists. Treeseed is my earned name, while Rebecca is my birth name. I am of Northern European descent, with a quarter Irish.quarter thrown in. I suspect I was a product of northern invaders into Ireland into Ireland. but hard to say since DNA disproved the family story about Apache blood! I have found some odd ancestors to replace them. Last year I bought 5 acres of pinyon-juniper forest on the side of a mountain in Santa Fe County, New Mexico. I am fulfilling a lifetime dream of a cabin in the mountains and a food forest that will feed me and local wildlife. I want to share this new phase of my life with others that might be interested.
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2 Responses to Starting Cuttings, Pale Wolfberry (Lycium pallidum)

  1. Helen says:

    I wonder be interested to know why seeds produce plants with a better root system. I guess it’s because plants were made to be propagated by seed.

  2. Helen,
    A shrub/tree seed creates a natural tap root, helpful for both stability in the wind and to pull water and minerals from deeper levels. Although a limb will develop roots, they never develop the deep taproot. Each part of the plant has precursor cells in the embryo, and leaf nodes on branches have precursor cells for auxiliary roots, but not tap roots. They can grow, but never have that stability. Doesn’t matter except in extreme circumstances. Some perennials are taproot ed and they don’t sprout roots from leaf nodes like branched perennials do, although some reproduce by runners. You can’t cut our ear off and get a duplicate person! Not without a laboratory, anyway.

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