The goji berry plant, or Lycium barburum, commonly grows in Mongolia, Tibet and, oddly enough, Utah. Thriving in sunny, near-drought conditions, the goji plant produces purple and white flowers that yield small red berries. The goji is a bush-like plant that has trailing vines growing out from the center. It is an extremely adaptable and hardy plant, withstanding temperatures ranging from -15 degrees to 100 degrees F. Both the leaves and the berries are edible, the latter containing medicinal qualities. Growing a goji plant is not very difficult, and it can thrive with little attention in the right conditions.
Place your goji berries in the freezer for one month. Goji berries need stratification--this cold-conditioning process--for best germination.
Soak the berries in a water-filled germinating tray for seven to 10 days. Watch as the seeds germinate and grow tiny roots.
Plant the goji seeds in small starter pots after the roots emerge. Plant the seeds 1/2 inch down into a mixture of worm castings, sand and biological compost. Maintain an alkaline soil pH of 8.2 to 8.6.
Watch for the green shoots to sprout after about 10 to 14 days. After the first two to three months, the goji plants will begin to outgrow their starter pots. You can repot them into 5-gallon pots or plant them outdoors in the same type of alkaline soil.
Plant your goji shrubs in full sun, unless you live in an extremely hot climate; in that case, plant the shrubs in partial shade. Refrain from watering your goji plant, unless your area enters severe drought conditions. Goji plants thrive in near-drought environments.
Prune back your goji plant when it grows larger than 8 to 10 feet or when the “vine” extends beyond 12 feet from the center. Cut back the new growth using pruning shears.
Things You Will Need
- Goji berries (seeds)
- Germinating tray
- Small starter pots
- Mixture of worm castings, sand and biological compost
- Pruning shears
- 5-gallon pot
- After their third year, the goji shrubs will begin to bear fruit. The fruit will grow larger and more nutritious year after year. Be careful when harvesting the fruit because it bruises easily. You'll need to harvest by hand gently. The leaves are also edible and can be used in salads.
- You can also grow a goji plant from cuttings. Some gardeners claim that growing goji plants from cuttings is much easier than from seed.
- Beware that if you're growing your goji plant in a pot indoors, it won't reach the 8- to 10-foot heights that it can achieve outdoors. Your goji plant will simply stop growing when its fast-spreading roots reach the bottom of the pot.
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