Lycium Barbarum (Goji Berry) plants are native to the Himalayas. They also are referred to as wolf berries. Goji berries are called "super fruits" because of their antioxidant, amino acid, essential mineral and protein content. Growing the shrub that produces the goji berry from seed is a little challenging. Like other fruit plants, it takes a few years to get a crop, and the plants must be kept in full sun to do well. They do best when planted outdoors, and they can survive winter cold.
You may be able to get seeds from purchased goji berries. Soak the berries until they are soft enough to cut open and remove the seeds. Place the very small seeds in a fine strainer. Rinse and dry the seeds. Some seeds may not germinate due to treatment of the berries before they are sold in stores. Bulk berries are a better choice than packaged ones. Soak the seeds until they germinate (sprout), or plant the them directly in soil and skip the sprouting process. Alternatively, you can purchase seeds that are ready to plant.
To sprout seeds before planting, place the seeds on a damp paper towel on a tray, and keep them covered and moist until you see sprouts (about 10 days). Follow the directions that follow to plant the sprouted seeds.
To plant seeds in soil use small-plant starter pots filled with a sterilized seed-starting mixture. Cover the seeds with a light layer of soil and water with a spray bottle. Place the container in a warm spot and keep the soil moist until the plants emerge. Cover the pots with newspaper or paper towels to help keep the moisture in, but be sure to check them daily. Expect to see seedlings in four to six weeks.
Move the seedlings to a sunny location and keep the soil moist. When they are two to three inches tall, transplant them in small containers. They need full sun and loose organic soil to encourage growth. Put them outside in a protected area.
When the plants are large enough, they can be planted in large containers filled with organic potting soil or in the ground. Mix organic compost with the soil. The young plants need loose, nutrient-rich soil to encourage root growth. This should be their final location. Spring is the best time to plant your goji berry plants. Select a location in your garden that gets full sun and has room for the mature plants. Gently place the plants in their containers or in the prepared ground, cover the roots with soil and water thoroughly. Place a layer of mulch on top of the soil to retain moisture. Water enough during the first growing season to prevent the roots from drying out.
Goji berry plants are shrubs with gray-green leaves. Expect to see the first purple and white flowers in about three years. You may start to see bright red fruit that year, but it will take another year or two before your plants are covered with goji berries.
Things You Will Need
- Goji berry seeds
- Spray bottle
- Starter pots
- Seed starting mixture (sterilized)
- Organic potting soil
- Organic compost
- Large container or in-ground space
- Always plant seeds just below the surface of the soil.
- Older goji berry plants produce tastier fruit.
- Deer, birds, rabbits and other wildlife will eat the goji plant and the berries unless you protect them.
- Goji berries can be grown using cuttings from mature plants. Growing plants from seed is a long process and success is not guaranteed.
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