Goji berry plants are one of the few fruiting plants that are cold hardy.
Grow goji berry from seed indoors, baby it through its first year, pot it up, or transplant it outdoors, and it’ll continue to grow yearly in almost any climate.
The second-year is when to pay particular attention to the goji berry plant because that’s when it’s ready for its big boy planting.
Plant it outdoors in the garden, or in a pot placed in a good sunny spot to encourage fruiting.
But, there’s one fact that you should know: You can’t pot up a goji berry in any soil and expect berries to emerge. It takes specific requirements.
To harvest the most berries, and not be sharing your harvest with wildlife, the following goji berry planting tips will help you grow and keep more of the fruit you grow.
Lean in and learn more…
Goji Berry Planting Tips
Plant goji berry in a spot that has some wind protection, as well as full sun. Use 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) of organic mulch to help enrich the soil. Protect fruits with a fine mesh netting, and trellis train this early. Before transplanting in garden soil, be certain you can manage the pruning required.
Goji Berry Planting Tips for the Garden
The goji berry plant is cold hardy to minus 18 degrees Fahrenheit, but it thrives in full sun.
They will tolerate shade, but that will be at the sacrifice of fruit. To get the most fruit, plant these in full sun.
Don’t forget to give them wind protection as well!
The site you devote to a goji berry plant needs some protection from the wind.
Despite growing to heights over 10 feet tall, the canes or stalks that the lateral shoots emerge from are not heavy. Wind will snap these if you don’t protect them. Planted in the open, they will damage easily.
Another thing that you need to consider when deciding on a planting location is how easy it’ll be to manage its growth.
Goji berry bushes want to spread and if allowed, will sprawl along the ground through their vigorous rhizomes.
You need access to cut away suckers from your goji berry plant, and you won’t want these near pathways either…
The lateral shoots are thorny and will give you a sharp sting if you brush past these in shorts and a t-shirt.
Plant them in a dedicated spot away from pathways, with some wind protection and preferably a spot that gets full sun.
Mulch is a necessity for the goji berry bush. It helps lock in moisture, prevents weeds from competing, and provided you use organic materials, it’ll enrich the soil too.
Ideal materials to use as a mulch are straw, leaves, grass clippings, wood chippings, or bark. Better yet, use a mixture of different materials.
As organic materials age, it’ll improve the soil as it decomposes.
Surround the base of goji berry bushes with 2 to 4 inches of organic mulch, but keep it around 2 inches away from the main stalk to prevent root rot.
After all, mulch is known to hold moisture.
When you grow anything edible, wildlife will compete with you for them.
It doesn’t matter if you have a birdbath and bird feeder several feet away, the bright red fruits on the goji berry plant will be too tempting for birds.
At ground level, other wildlife that’ll want to eat your fruit include squirrels, raccoons, deer, rabbits, and chickens.
If you want to keep more of your fruit for yourself, you’ll need to fence it in to keep wildlife away.
A fine mesh netting placed around your goji berry plant, and other edibles, will prevent birds from pecking your fruit.
The surest way is to build a frame around your plant so that the berries and leaves aren’t growing through the mesh.
Anything that grows through it is likely to be eaten by wildlife.
Alternative wildlife protection options for garden plants include installing moving objects that produce sound.
Examples are garden windmills or wind spinners, aluminum foil, flash tape, or even old CDs or DVDs as the reflection tends to scare birds from going near them.
Like many trailing vines, the goji berry can be trellis trained.
The simplest method is to train it to grow along a wire fence. Using T-posts staked in the ground up to 4 feet apart, wire fencing can be stapled in place to secure it.
In the second year of growth, use plant clips or cable ties to strap the strongest young canes to the wire fencing.
If you intend to keep your plant small, such as within part of a raised vegetable patch, you can grow these as climbers by erecting a structure for it to cling onto.
If you’re growing vertically, you’ll need to tie some of the branches to a trellis or tall canes, such as bamboo canes.
The ideal soil acidity for goji berries is 6.5 to 7.0. They can benefit from some amount of fertilizer in the early spring just as new growth is emerging.
They don’t do well with too high fertilizer content though.
If you do choose to use fertilizer, only apply at diluted strength. Once in early spring, then another in mid to late June.
The safer option is to apply a thin layer of compost (2 to 4 inches) and continually renew it each year by working it into the soil.
Pruning and Transplanting
Goji berry plants can be grown as a garden shrub, shaped into a tree, or you can grow these in containers for easier management.
Many gardeners opt to keep goji berry plants in containers to restrict spreading. If you feel you’d struggle with regular pruning to keep a spreading shrub contained, keep it in a container from the start.
Container-grown goji berry plants won’t produce as much fruit, but that’s because root growth is restricted.
However, they will still bear fruit.
Frequently Asked Questions Related to Goji Berry Planting Tips
Do goji berry plants need full sun?
As mentioned earlier, goji berry plants need sunlight, but they, however, can’t tolerate full sun. They tolerate partial shade but produce more fruit when planted in a spot outdoors that gets full sun.
Once planted, do goji berry plants need to be pruned?
Since they’re super spreaders, it’s best that you prune your goji berry plants after planting them. Goji berry plants naturally want to spend energy on spreading their roots. Gardeners grow them for fruit. You get the most fruit by controlling root spread and minimizing suckers. That requires keeping the plant healthy by snipping off dead, damaged, and diseased parts of the plant to prevent it from sending out suckers.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.