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How To Grow Goji Berry

by a Friendly Gardener
Goji berries in a bowl

Goji berries are delicious, nutritious, and easy to grow. These berries are notorious for their sweet but slightly sour taste. A dried berry contains many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that reduce the risk of respiratory illnesses. Also called Chinese wolfberries, they are among the must-haves of every garden.


Goji Berry Growing Tips:

  • It is best to plant your goji berry plant in a pot first and later transplant them to the garden or bigger pots.
  • Always wash your pruners or scissors with some alcohol before securing your cuttings or pruning your goji berry plants. Do this after every cut to prevent the spread of disease.
  • When growing with cuttings, it would be best to plant in sterilized soil or a new potting mix because the cuttings are exposed. Vermiculite is also a great starter for rowing cuttings. A sterilized soil reduces the risk of an infection since the population of bacteria is significantly low.
  • Only water the soil first when starting with a seed or branch cutting. This way, you can avoid soaking the seed or soil in water.


How to Grow Goji Berry (Lycium Barbarum)

There are two ways to grow Goji berries: seeds or cuttings. While growing from seeds may take longer to yield fruits, growing from cuttings yields fruits faster. Below is a planting guide for growing Goji berry plants;


Preparing Your Soil

Gardening soil in a shovel

Goji berries like well-drained sandy dry soil, even though they may tolerate hard soil. Ensure that the soil pH is between 6.8 and 8.1. You can increase the soil pH to meet that requirement by adding some Oyster Shell lime.

If you are using a container, regularly keep the soil moist. The smallest bucket size you should grow a Goji berries plant is a 5-gallon bucket. Goji berry plants have a deep taproot.

If you’d like to transfer them to the garden but want to start with a bucket, use a biodegradable bucket like fiber buckets. You can bury the plant in the part of your garden where you want the Goji berries. Any organic soil will do as long as you do not use peat moss or clay soil. They are too acidic.


Growing Goji Berry Plants with Seed

Cleaning garden with a rake

First, to grow Goji berries from seeds, extract the seeds from a dried berry. Break the fruit and roll the seeds out on a plate. Second, wet the soil in the pot first. Third, scratch a shallow hole on the potting soil with the top of your index finger and drop some seeds into it.

Finally, label the pot and keep it in a shady place to conserve moisture in the soil. You should notice seedlings sprouting in about 10 to 14 days. Gently remove the excess seedlings and transplant them into their separate pots.

Do not leave your goji plants in the winter because Goji plants need to stay above freezing point.


Growing Goji Berry Plants With Branch Cutting

It is best to plant branch clippings after they have sprouted roots in early spring: first, clip no less than six inches off flowering branches from an already growing goji plant with disinfected pruners or scissors. Second, gently pluck each flower bud and leaf. Be careful not to bruise the body of the cut.

Third, cut the branches into smaller pieces but ensure that each cut has no less than 5 knots from the cut area towards the tip. Fourth, scratch a bit of skin off the bottom to stimulate root growth. To quicken the root growth, you may dip the bottom in honey, cinnamon, or a rooting powder.

Finally, label them and push them down the potting mix. Keep them in the shade to prevent the soil from drying out.

Once you start to see new growth, be sure that the young plant has grown roots. If the cutting dries up, do not assume straight away that it did not make it.

Give it a little more time or gently pull it out from the soil to confirm its health. From here, you can plant them in bigger pots or the part of your garden that you choose. You can also plant the bare root of the goji plant. Soak the root for about 30 minutes and plant with the right soil type.

Ensure that the crown is at the same level as the top of the soil after watering the soil moist. But this is usually the case when you want to replant a mature plant after its bare root has been exposed.


Goji Berries Care

Goji berry fruit on a cutting board

For a great harvest, move your goji berry plants into the sun for full sun once they are sturdy and firm enough to be outside. They can survive in partial shade but will thrive better and yield more fruits in the sun.

Water once a day but ensure that the roots are fully saturated. Plant your goji berries about two feet apart. They spread up to 121cm wide and are very drought tolerant.

It would be best to train them like a grapevine on a trellis. Plant clips and plant tie tapes will also help secure your plants to the trellis to keep them pleasant and uncluttered instead of having a goji shrub. Also, clean out the goji plant from the bottom up to 15 inches from the base.

When the plants reach about 60cm tall, pinch out the growing tips to cause side branching where the fruits will be born. You can then prune back to the height you prefer.

Always prune out lateral branches of mature plants. Also, remove unproductive branches after every berry season. Also, remember that Goji berry plants do not work well with any fertilizer.


Harvesting Your Goji Berries

Goji berry bucket

Goji berry plants usually begin to produce fresh berries after two years. In climes where they are grown on a commercial scale, they are not touched when it is time to harvest. The fruit will darken when they come in contact with the oils in human hands.

The best way to harvest them is to spread a sheet beneath the plant and hold the branches of the goji berry plants. It would also help to wear gloves so that you do not touch the berries at all.

Give it a rough shake, and the ripe berries will fall on the sheets. Berries that do not fall on the sheet are usually not ripe enough to harvest. Goji berries will usually fruit from midsummer till late fall. It is important that you treat the berries with care.

Interestingly, goji berries produce far more fruits when you plant more than a variety to aid cross-pollination. Planting close more than a variety of goji berries can yield a harvest of up to 300 berries a plant and more!


Final Thoughts

Berries are great, but goji berries are more than great. Follow this planting guide to enjoy a constant supply of fresh berries in your garden today!

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