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How to Grow Goji Berries in Hawaii

Goji berries are popular for their delicious taste and claims of health benefits. Many people enjoy eating them, drinking their juice and taking medicines made from them. The Goji berry is native to Tibet and is also called Lycium Barbarum or Chinese Wolfberry. It thrives in hot, dry summer climates, so if you’re planning to grow this plant in Hawaii, the leeward side of the islands is best. But if you live on the windward side, give Goji berries a try because they are said to also favor humid climates.

Freeze berries for one month before attempting to sprout the seeds. After you thaw them, cut the flesh away from the seeds and then rinse them with water.

Soak seeds in water in a baking pan or germinating tray. Expect them to germinate within about 10 days and also expect about a 50 percent germination rate.

Combine equal amounts of worm castings and compost for your planting medium; also add a small amount of sand (about ½ cup for each gallon of potting medium). Then fill your pots with this mixture, water it well and plant one sprouted seed in each pot about ½ inch deep.

Transplant your young Goji berry plant to a larger pot (five gallon size) when its roots reach the bottom of its small pot. Expect this to take approximately four to five months. Use the same potting medium formula you used for the small pots.

Transplant your Goji berry to its permanent outdoor location when its roots reach the bottom of the large pot. In hot lowland areas of Hawaii, plant your Goji in an area that receives partial or filtered sun for at least part of each day. For higher elevations, plant it in an area that receives full sun. Dig compost into the planting hole, set you Goji berry into it and then refill the hole to the top of the plant’s root mass.

Keep the soil moist by providing additional irrigation if rains do not do the job.

Fertilize once a year by spreading a ring of compost around the base of your plant.


Expect your Goji berry to begin producing fruit during its third year in the ground. Goji berry leaves are edible and you can add them to salads. Pinch off bud tips to encourage bushiness. No insect pests are commonly reported on Goji plants. One acre of cultivated Goji berries can fetch between $1200 and $2500.


Cuttings you take from an existing Goji bush will grow faster and form hedges more readily than plants you start from seed.

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