The popularity of goji berries in the West has grown significantly in recent years - thanks to their associated health benefits and status as a superfood. Although you can find them dried in most grocery stores and online, if you’re willing to put the effort in, it is also possible to grow them at home. Here’s what you need to know.
What climate do goji berries like?
Goji berries are native to Asia and so can withstand hot summers and also cold winters. The one thing they do not like, however, is excessive rain. Goji plants can be grown inside or outside so long as they are positioned in a place that receives sunlight all day and has good drainage. If you’re choosing to keep your plant inside, you will need to set it by a window; otherwise, you will require a full-spectrum light to give your plant the lighting needed to produce berries.
Growing from seed or buying a mature plant
While you can grow a goji berry plant from seed, don’t expect to see any goji berries for at least four years! If you’re hoping for fruit right away, then you are better off buying a plant either online or from a local nursery. Mature goji plants may cost you a little more than a pack of seeds but should provide you with goji berries within a year so long as they are treated well.
How to plant your goji tree
Goji trees are very straightforward to plant; all you need to do is to dig a hole that is at least twice the size of the pot your tree is currently in and then backfill the gap around the plant using a blend of the original soil and some high porosity planting mix. Using a high porosity planting mix improves the drainage around your plant, which decreases the chance of it experiencing over-watering. Once planted, water the plant generously and then top the area with some organic mulch.
Caring for your goji plant
Goji plants are very low maintenance and only require a little pruning to keep them healthy. If you want your plant to grow more like a tree than a bush, then you can do this by cutting away the lower branches to encourage more top growth. If you don’t prune your goji tree, then it will very quickly become unruly.
Harvesting your homegrown goji berries!
Finally, if your goji tree is mature, it should produce you a bountiful crop of goji berries. As soon as your berries ripen, hand-harvest them daily to encourage more berries to grow and stay on top of your crop. Be warned - goji berries turn very quickly, so eat them fresh right away or preserve them by drying them or freezing them.
So there you have it - a quick guide to growing your own goji berries at home. Will you give it a try?