How to Grow Wolfberries


Wolfberry (Lycium barbarum), also commonly known as Goji berry, is a deciduous woody perennial that grows 5 to 8 feet tall. Light purple blooms appear in late spring with deep green summer foliage, along with orange/red oblong fruit ready for harvest from midsummer into fall. Wolfberry has long been regarded as a nourishing herb that's rich in amino acids, minerals and antioxidants. It's used to build a healthy immune system. Growing this China native in your home garden is relatively easy.

Step 1

Select a growing location that receives full sun daily with little shade. Too much shade reduces fruit production and makes the tree more susceptible to insects and diseases.

Step 2

Prepare the soil in early spring after the last frost by tilling the soil to loosen. Wolfberry trees prefer well-draining, loamy soil.

Step 3

Dig a hole that is twice as wide and three times as deep as the root ball. Set the tree in the hole so the graft union is 1 to 2 inches below the ground surface.

Step 4

Fill in the hole halfway with soil and, with your hand, firm the soil around the roots to eliminate any air pockets. Add water to the hole until the soil is soaking wet, and allow the water to drain out completely. Using your foot, tamp down gently around the roots.

Step 5

Finish filling the hole with soil, and firm around the base of the tree with your hands. Make a depression or well about 3 to 4 inches out from the trunk of the tree so that water will drain down toward the tree.

Step 6

Water thoroughly after planting until the soil is very wet. Use a soaker hose or drip irrigation to avoid overhead watering. Water every other day for the first month until well established, then water only two to three times weekly.

Step 7

Apply a 2-inch layer of mulch around the base of the tree, filling in the depression. Use an organic matter such as chopped leaves, compost, grass clippings or pine needles.

Step 8

Prune all side branches and cut the tree back by one-third after planting, then let it grow steadily without pruning for a full 12 months. After a year, prune thoroughly in early spring by cutting out any dead branches, opening up the center of the tree by removing all branches that grow straight up from the middle, and removing any suckers or small side branches smaller than the diameter of a pencil.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not use fresh manure as a mulch around the tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Loamy soil
  • Mulch
  • Wolfberry plants


  • Gardener's Supply Company: Instructions for the Wolfberries (Goji berries)
Keywords: growing wolfberries, grow wolfberry plant, wolfberry goji berry

About this Author

Residing in Southern Oregon, Amy Madtson has been writing for Demand Studios since 2008 with a focus on health, pregnancy, crafts and gardening. Her work has been published on websites such as eHow and Garden Guides, among others. Madtson has been a childbirth educator and doula since 1993.