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How to Grow Goji Berries (aka wolfberries)

Goji berries, also known as wolfberries, are hardy plants that are drought tolerant and grow in zones 3-10 . A brightly colored orange/red fruit with a slightly sour flavor, they are considered a superfood because they are alleged to boost the immune system and brain activity, protect against heart disease and cancer, and improve life expectancy. They are loaded with antioxidants and have high concentrations of vitamin B, C, and amino acids. They are often made into juice or eaten fresh as a snack. Goji berry plants are easy to grow in your own backyard. They will fruit and flower throughout the summer until the first frost. If left unpruned, they can grow as tall as 10-13 feet with a spread of about 4 feet.

How long does it take goji berry trees to bear fruit?

You will get limited fruit in the first year, but the second year on you’ll get a full crop.

Getting started: Goji berry options

You can start your Goji berry adventure three ways. You can start by planting seeds, which will take the longest to bear fruit. Alternatively, you can start by planting a root crown cutting, which will produce fruit faster than seeds, but not as fast as if you start with a potted plant. The delicious outcome will be the same, but how long it takes to get there will vary.

Two ways to grow Goji berries at home

  • In a container: Goji berries love growing in containers. You’ll get a more compact plant while the container prevents the roots from spreading, like raspberries. Goji berries put down a deep tap root, so the minimum size container should be 5 gallons.
  • In the ground: Starting with a pulp pot, it can be planted directly in the ground (pot and all) after you see 6-8” of growth.

How to plant a bare root Goji berry

  • Before planting, soak in water for 15 minutes to 1 hour
  • With your bare root in the center of your pot, fill the container with potting soil up to the crown of the bare root (Avoid using peat moss as it’s too acidic). The crown is where the bare root starts. The crown should be the same level as the top of the soil.
  • Water the plant and add additional soil if the soil settles below the crown
  • Place in full sun
  • Keep the plant moist
  • Give the plant about an inch or two of water every week
  • Do not apply any nitrogen and they really don't need any fertilizer

Transplanting your Goji berry plant into the ground

After you see 6-8 inches of growth, your new Goji berry plant is ready for the ground, fiber pot and all. Follow these simple planting steps:
  • Locate a spot with full sun, although they can tolerate partial shade
  • Test the pH of the soil to be sure it’s between 6.8 and 8.1
  • If your pH is low, just add some oyster shell flour
  • Plant each Goji berry plant at least 2 feet apart
  • Goji berry plants can be trained like a grape vine on a trellis or left as a shrub
Note: Do not apply any nitrogen and they really don't need any fertilizer

How to prune a Goji berry plant

  • Don’t prune a Goji berry plant in the first year
  • In year 2, choose a main shoot and prune all others below it about 15” from the ground
  • When the plant reaches 2 feet tall in the summer, pinch out the growing tips to cause side branching where the fruit will be born
  • After your main structure is established, just prune back to the height you want to keep it
  • Always remove branches within 15” of the ground
  • Prune any unproductive branches
  • Thin out branches after the berry season

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Goji Berry Planting and Growing Guide

36 comments

  • Dean, your goji berry should be growing in soil that is more alkaline and I do not think raspberries will not like an alkaline soil.

    Suzanne
  • Robin, have you checked the pH of your soil? Goji berries prefer to grow in more alkaline soil than most plants. For the fertilizer, you can use one with more phosphorus than nitrogen. Goji berries will drop their leaves in the winter and come back in the spring. Not really sure why it is dying back in the summer, possibly look at how much water it gets and the pH of your soil.

    Suzanne
  • What diseases/pests are goji plants prone to? My brother just got one that has some kind of white fungus on the leaves.

    Cecilia
  • Hello. I just purchased some plants that were in a 1 gallon pot. They are starting g to yellow from the bottom up, is this a sign there is too much acid in the soil?

    Sherry McKee
  • would like to know if i can plant gogi berries on a trellis next yo raspberries.

    dean
  • My Gogi berry bush gets green every spring in the heat of the summer it the green dies back and it comes back in the fall and then dies for the winner what is wrong? I had a small amount of fruit the first year. And what is the right strength of phosphorus to use

    Robin
  • Heather, have you tested the pH in the soil? It should be alkaline (over pH 7.0). You can try adding some phosphorus to the soil.

    Suzanne
  • I have had goji berries for four years and they never fruit. Any advice? I am in Charleston, SC. Thanks!

    Heather Miller
  • My neighbor has a 3 yr old tree outside that she wants to give me. What is the best time of the year to dig it up and will it survive being dug up and replanted?

    Tammy
  • Hello,

    Can i use Micro ang Grow for the vegetative stage and Micro and Bloom for the flowering stage, how much ppm requires.
    Thanks.

    Alban

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