The Schizandra chinensis (also spelled “Schisandra”), or Chinese magnolia vine, is a woody vine that produces white flowers in the spring, followed by grape-like, edible fruits. The berries and leaves are edible, the fruits being used since ancient times for a variety of medicinal purposes. Native to China, the Schizandra vine grows beautifully in temperate climates, making a lovely climbing addition to a pergola, wall, trellis or fence. With the right conditions and care, the Schizandra is easy to grow and maintain.
Plant your Schizandra in rich, well-drained soil that is slightly acidic. Sandy to clay loam is best for the Schizandra, with a pH range between 5.5 and 6.5.
Locate the plant in partial shade, where it is protected from direct afternoon sunlight. A good location might be under a tree that has high limbs. Water your Schizandra frequently to keep the soil moist. The Schizandra is not drought tolerant.
Protect your Schizandra from frost, especially in the early spring when its leaves are beginning to grow. The plant is hardy to approximately 0 degrees Fahrenheit when dormant, however.
Stake your young Schizandra vine. You can use garden stakes, or for the long-term, you can erect a trellis or other structure that allows for climbing. Planting Schizandra next to a fence, wall or pergola is ideal.
Prune your Schizandra in the spring, after the vine is finished blooming. For female Schizandra, wait until the last of the fruit is finished growing. Using sharp pruning shears and cut back to within three or four buds of the vine.
Things You Will Need
- Sandy or clay loam
- Garden stakes, trellis, pergola or fence
- Pruning shears
- Manure or compost (optional)
- If you're starting a Schizandra from seed, soak the stored seeds in warm water for 12 hours. Sow the seeds in potting soil and keep them indoors or in a greenhouse in the spring. Separate and grow the seedlings in their own pots for the first two years before planting them outdoors in early summer.
- Amend your soil with plenty of organic fertilizer, such as manure or compost, if your soil is more alkaline than acidic. Fertilize the Schizandra vine at least once each year in the early spring before it readies itself to bloom.
- Plant both male and female Schizandras if you want seed for propagation. The Schizandra is not self-fertile.
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