How to Grow Goji Berries
Being able to grow your own food is always an extra advantage financially and nutritionally. Goji berry plants, Lycium Barbarum or Chinese Wolfberry, are woody perennials and known to be very adaptable.
They prefer a lot of sun, liking places that are hot and dry in the summer. The plant originated in the Himalayas. However they will grow in areas that are humid as well. The plants can tolerate very cold winters as well. But, truly, the only way to find out whether or not a wolf berry will grow in your area is to buy one, bring it home, plant it and see if it grows!
Growing Goji Berry from Seed
If you are going to grow the berry plant from a seed, then you will want to freeze the berries for a month (replicating a hard winter). If you are not growing them from seeds, you can obviously skip this step.
Once they have been frozen for a month, soak them in water in a germinating tray. If you wait a week to 10 days, they will germinate in due time, as the water soaking will make the berries think that it is a wet spring – an important part in growing goji berry.
Once they have germinated, be sure to put them in planter starter pots. You’ll want your soil to be a mixture of worm castings and biological compost, as well as sand to make sure any excess water can drain out of the pots. Let it be known that wolfberries grow in soil of ph of 8.2 to 8.6 in their native environment.
In another 10 days to 2 weeks you will notice that the plants start coming up. Once the wolfberry sprouts it is adaptable. The plants grow very slowly in the first couple of months and once their roots get to the bottom of the pot, they will stop growing.
Growing Goji Berry from Cuttings (and continuation of growing them from seed)
If you are taking cuttings from a well-established plant, then you will want to transfer them to 5 gallon buckets as soon as possible (this goes for the germinated berries from the starter pots as well). These 5 gallon buckets should be equipped with drain holes (you can punch them in the bottom if you would like).
The wolf berry plant at its full size is about 8 feet tall and is usually a bit wider than 8 feet.
If you keep them in the 5 gallon bucket, they will not reach their full 8 feet, because like the starter pots, the 5 gallon bucket will stop their growth once the roots reach the sides of the bucket.
In its third year of growth, the shrub will yield purple and white trumpet-like flowers from summer until the first freeze; those flowers will eventually turn into berries.
To keep the shrub growing to its maximum potential, be sure to clip the buds of the plant to get more branches to grow.
DANGERS TO THE GOJI BERRY PLANT:
You can propagate the plants by taking cuttings, once they are well-established.
Goji berries are very tender and bruise easily. As a result there is no quick way to pick them. So take your time and be patient to get the best yield.
As the shrub gets older in age, it will produce larger and more nutritious berries.