Growing goji berries is easy and super rewarding, a happy goji plant will produce antioxidant-rich berries all summer long. Follow along to learn more about these interesting plants and how to grow your own goji berry plants.
- Plant profile: Goji Berry, lycium barbarum
- AKA: Wolfberry, Chinese Wolfberry, Lycium Berry
- Growing details: Easy to grow, edible berry, superfood, medicinal berry
- Size: 4-6ft wide x 6-8ft tall
- Hardiness: Zones 4-8
- Cultivation: Full sun, regular water, drought tolerant
- Uses: Edible/medicinal berry, pretty landscape shrub, chicken treat
- Easy to grow: Yes!
Why I recommend growing goji berries
- High-value crop -If you buy dried goji berries at all, then you know that they can be super-duper expensive. Which is why I totally recommend growing your own goji berries.
- Highly Productive -They are highly productive and continue to produce multiple crops all summer long.
- Thrive in hot, sun– They grow well in full sun locations that other plants might not like
- Happy in most soils – They thrive in all kinds of soil types
- Drought tolerant – While they produce best with regular watering… they can easily withstand dry periods
Some little know facts about growing goji berries
Before I owned a goji berry plant I had no idea that they have really pretty, little, purple flowers. I also had no idea that they have thorns. The thorns are not really a problem but it does ensure that you take care when harvesting the berries. Finally, ants seem to love goji berries so be sure to harvest the before the ants do.
Growing Goji Berries on an Urban Homestead
Are goji berries suitable or an Urban Homestead? I’d say YES! They are so easy to care for and take little effort to grow. They can be propagated via seed or cutting and can be sold as part of a Homestead Nursery. Gojis are a perfect addition to any homestead garden and believe it or not, chickens Love goji berries!
More about goji berry plants
Where to buy goji berry plants
While you can grow goji berry plants from seed, they can take up to 4 years to produce, which is why I prefer to just buy the plants from my local nursery. They are often sold in 1-2 gallon pots and are relatively inexpensive. I’d expect to pay $12-$20 for a 1gal pot, the cost is easily offset within the plant’s second year of berry production.
If you’re in the states you can even buy goji berry plants on Amazon!
How many goji berry plants should you grow
Unlike many other berry bushes, goji berry plants are self-fertile and Do Not require additional plants for pollination. So, for a family of 4, I’d say 1-2 goji berry plants is all you will need.
How to use goji berry plants in your edible landscape
If you’re like me and prefer a tidier edible landscape, then use your goji berry plant as either a backdrop plant or a feature plant. Give it 4-6ft of room to fill and make sure it’s in full sun. The foliage is slightly silver-green and the quaint little flowers are a soft purple colour. I think it would look nice paired with lavender and salvia. Mine is close to my peony bed, the contrast of deep green and silver green foliage is really nice. More on berry gardens here.
Things to consider when planting a goji plant
Now that you have your goji plant there are a few things to consider, including where is the best place to plant a goji plant, how do you go about planting it and how should you care for it. Let’s jump in.
Where to plant a goji plant
Goji’s like to grow in full sun and like well-draining soil, but mine is happy in heavy clay. They are drought tolerant but love getting regular water and a bit of garden compost from time to time. If I could start again, I would have put my goji plant just outside the chicken run…my girls love to hang out under the goji.
How to plant a goji plant
Planting a goji plant is really straightforward, just follow these steps below and you will be off to a great start.
- Just dig a hole twice the width and twice as deep as the pot your goji is in currently,
- Save the soil you removed and mix it with a high porosity planting soil like Promix HP.
- Backfill the hole slightly & work the new blended soil into your planting hole.
- Remove your goji plant from the pot and tease the roots to lose them a bit
- Place your goji plant in the planting hole and backfill with your blended soil.
- Tamp the plant into place and water it in generously.
- Top with 3 inches of organic mulch.
This is the stuff I use all the time, at home and on the job site:
One very important thing to consider with growing goji plants is that they need pruning! The branches can grow up tall and arc back down to the ground, this can cause them to get large and unruly quickly. Some folks suggest that their goji plants sucker, mine hasn’t yet which leads me to wonder if their’s are either self-seeding or tip rooting rather than suckering. Also, some growers suggest cutting goji plant to the ground to keep them under control, this can stress the plant, also causing root suckering. My solution is to prune our goji into a goji berry tree.
I use my Felcos for this job, get yours here:
Caring for your goji berry tree
Goji plants are easy to care for and require little maintenance other than pruning, let chat more about how to care for these rugged plants.
How to prune a goji berry plant into a goji berry tree
As suggested above, I prefer to keep my goji berry plant pruned “standard” aka into a tree form. You can do this by choosing a single main stem on your goji plant and cutting it to your desired height, mine is 3ft tall. From there, stake the main stem and prune away all the other branches and shoots. If your goji is young you will be left with a sad looking whip, but that’s ok. It will start shooting new branches out just below your cut line. Allow the new top branches to grow out and arch, while removing any new branches that grow out of the “trunk” of the main stem… Think palm tree 🙂
How to maintain your goji berry tree
The only maintenance from here out is simple pruning. Keep the top branches thinned to allow light and air into the fruit and flowers. And continue to remove any branches that grow out of the trunk of your goji berry tree. The tree will be very “top heavy” so ensure that you have an adequate stake supporting your tree and replace the stakes as they rot or ware. As you can see ours has 3 stakes, time to upgrade to a stronger one!
How to harvest your goji berry tree
Hand-harvest your goji berries as they ripen. In peak season, you should be getting enough fresh goji berries to fill a small bowl daily. I suggest staying on top of the harvesting to ensure you are getting the freshest berries. If you have hens, toss the over-ripe berries to them, the chooks will thank you.
Preserving goji berries
Goji’s are easy to preserve, simply dry or freeze them for use in smoothies, oatmeal or baking. I use them in powerball recipes or mixed with other sweeter fruits to off-set their slightly tart flavour.
So there you have it, how to grow goji berries. If you like this then you might love my Top 5 Garden Care Tips for a Beautiful Garden.
Take care & thanks for hanging out!