Everyone is talking about Goji Berries, a super-food that packs more nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants into an ounce than any other food known. Full of vitamin C, protein and cancer-fighting substances, Goji Berries sell for high prices, yet this is one of the easiest plants to grow for yourself and harvest loads of berries that can be eaten fresh or easily dried.
This bush will grow in any sunny or partially shaded location and is hardy from zone 3 to zone 10, so it can be grown virtually anywhere. In comparison to growing any other fruit plants, this one is a breeze. These plants are drought-resistant and normally free of pests and diseases. They grow rapidly and will usually produce their first crop of berries the year after you plant your bush. They require less care than a marigold and yet produce an amazing food that everyone wants.
Growing Goji Berry Bushes
The Goji Berry makes a shrub around 8 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet across. It can be grown in almost any soil and prefers a sunny location. It makes a great specimen plant and is beautiful enough to go into the flower garden, or it can be grown with your vegetables. A row of Goji Berry bushes makes a lovely and productive barrier between your flower garden and your vegetable garden. It can also be trained onto a trellis or a sunny wall and will produce berries without taking up any room when grown that way. If you don’t have a garden it can be planted in a large pot and grown on a balcony or terrace. Somewhere in every garden is a place for this plant.
Harvesting Your Goji Berries
Don’t be tempted to handle the green berries as they bruise easily and will then turn black, so be patient and wait for them to color-up. When it is time to harvest your Goji Berries, pick them carefully by hand, wearing gloves, or simply shake the bush over a tray. Handle the berries carefully as they can easily be broken. Spread them on a tray to dry in the sun or use a dehydrator, gradually raising the temperature to dry the berries completely over 48 hours. Dry berries can be stored in zip-lock bags or glass jars in the dark. Fresh berries can be juiced or eaten with cereal. The berries taste a little like cranberries, with a tangy, slightly bitter taste that is addictive.
Pruning and Maintenance
The Goji Berry bush is rapid growing and will often reach 6 feet in the first year. If you live in a cooler region, your bush will lose its leaves in the winter and before the new growth appears in spring, you should prune it by removing thin, weak branches and cutting the remaining ones back by about one-third. This will encourage many strong, fruiting stems to form and increase your harvest. In warmer areas trim the bush during the coldest time of year to keep it compact and healthy. Regularly remove some branches to keep the center from getting too crowded; otherwise you will only get berries at the ends of the branches.
Fertilize plants in spring with a general-purpose fertilizer. You can use a granular fertilizer at that time, or feed monthly with a liquid fertilizer. If you want to grow your berries organically, mulch each spring with a rich compost or manure, or use fish emulsion or seaweed as fertilizer. Keep your plants well-watered during dry weather, but the Goji Berry is very forgiving and drought tolerant once established.
History and Origins of the Goji Berry
The Goji Berry, Lycium barbarum, originated in Northern China, but it now grows wild in Europe and in some parts of America too. It is also sometimes called the wolfberry, an older name for it outside China. It is a bush growing up to 8 feet tall, and about the same across, unless pruned. The smooth, spear-head-shaped leaves are 2 to 3 inches long and about 1 inch wide and they are a deep green color. The flowers are produced during periods of warmer weather and are an attractive purple or white color, flaring in shape with five petals.
The berries form at the base of the flower and are green at first, orange-red when ripe and around ¾ of an inch long. Inside there are a number of small, yellow seeds. In cooler regions, flowers are produced from June to September and berries ripen from June to October, but in warmer areas flowers and fruit may be produced all year round. The stems have thorns which help protect the berries from being eaten by birds.
Buying Goji Berry Plants at The Tree Center
Our Goji Berry bushes are grown from selected plants to give premium-grade berries within one year of planting. Seedling plants can be variable and unpredictable in their cropping and hardiness, so avoid cheaper plants that will only be a disappointment. We only offer the genuine Goji Berry and carry authentic, original plants. However, we are constantly renewing our stock so our customers get fresh, healthy plants, so supplies of this amazing plant may be limited. To avoid disappointment order now.