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How to Grow Wolfberry

By Fern Fischer ; Updated September 21, 2017

Wolfberry plants are sturdy and tough; they tolerate weather extremes. Also known as goji berries, wolfberries are native to China and Tibet, where they survive sub-zero winters and summer drought conditions. Wolfberries will grow in any area of the U.S. They are permanent perennial shrubs that will produce luscious, healthful berries for many years.

Grow Wolfberry from Seeds

Prepare flats or pots by filling them with starter soil mix. Plant wolfberry seeds in small pots or in rows in flats. Cover them lightly with about 1/4 inch of soil.

An alternative to direct seeding is to soak the seeds in water for a few days until they germinate. Then carefully place the germinated seeds about 1/2-inch deep in prepared growing medium.

Water, using a light spray. Cover pots or flats with clear plastic and keep them warm. Gentle bottom heat from a plant heating mat will help germination.

Remove the plastic and give seedlings plenty of bright light as soon as they germinate. Grow your seedlings in bright light. When the roots reach the bottom of the flat or pot, move them to deeper containers. Separate seedlings in flats and move them to individual pots. Wolfberries stop growing when their roots are restricted, so give them plenty of room.

Transplant Wolfberry Plants

Prepare the area outdoors for your wolfberry plants by tilling or digging 10 to 12 inches deep. Add compost to the site and mix in well. Select a site in full sun where the extensive root systems of the wolfberries won’t interfere with pipes, drains or other underground utilities.

Dig a planting hole in the prepared planting bed. Set your wolfberry plants a little deeper than they were growing. Spread the roots in the planting hole, and firm the soil around them so they make good soil contact.

Space wolfberry plants eight to 10 feet apart. Plant them closer together to create a denser hedge.

Water wolfberry plants well when you transplant them. Keep wolfberry plants watered, especially during hot, dry spells.

Prune wolfberry shrubs to keep them manageable. When they are mature, wolfberry plants are eight to 10 feet tall. Some vine-like shoots may grow to 12 feet or more.

Remove tomato hornworms by hand, or use biological controls like trichogramma wasps.

Cover your wolfberries with netting to keep birds from eating them.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Wolfberry seeds
  • Plant starter flats or pots
  • Plant starting soil
  • Plant heating mat (optional)
  • Shovel
  • Tiller (optional)
  • Wolfberry plants
  • Balanced organic fertilizer or compost
  • Organic mulch

Tips

  • Fertilize wolfberry plants with a diluted, balanced organic fertilizer; 5-5-5 is a good ratio.
  • Use organic mulch around your wolfberries to keep weeds down and to keep the soil from drying out.

About the Author

 

Fern Fischer's print and online work has appeared in publications such as Midwest Gardening, Dolls, Workbasket, Quilts for Today and Cooking Fresh. With a broader focus on organic gardening, health, rural lifestyle, home and family articles, she specializes in topics involving antique and modern quilting, sewing and needlework techniques.