We have been growing these berries for many years and, while we do feel that many of the claims made about them are overstated and unsubstantiated, they are a wonderful food and medicine source.
They are long branched and slightly 'willowy' shrubs that are great to have around the perimeter of the yard.
They do require trimming a few times a year, but apart from that they are quite low maintenance.
We experience a very hot summer and an occasional frost in winter, which do not deter them at all. Plant in summer and unless the climate is unfair you will have some berries in the next.
The Australian climate seems perfectly suited to these plants, which may or may not have come from the Tibetan plateau, but have certainly flourished in the Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Sichuan, and Xinjiang Provinces in China from where 90% of the export market is sourced.
They also thrive to a great extent in Japan where they are used in traditional Kampo remedies. If buying seed, sow anytime in a greenhouse or protected place. Growing and germination tips are available with purchase.
Both varieties are deciduous but at different times of the year. The vine variety tends to drop it's leaves in Summer and sulk for a month or so.
It responds to humidity by developing a white coating on the leaves. This is not a problem for the plant but does worry some growers as it does look like a rampant fungal infection. There is no need to deal with this occurence as it will disappear as soon as the humidity drops.