Don’t let the soaring price of dried goji berry fruit knock you off your diet!
Inside every goji berry are dozens of seeds. Some of those will be of good enough quality to propagate.
Figuring out how to grow goji berry plants from seed starts with figuring out which seeds are most likely to germinate.
Stick with us here because we’re about to spill the beans on
- bypassing nurseries to harvest your own quality goji berry seeds,
- separate the good seeds from the bad,
- pot them up in sterile mixes
- then give them the conditions they need to germinate.
We’ll even share how you’ll know it’s time to give your goji berry plant a bigger home to spread its roots while keeping its size under control.
How to Grow Goji Berry Plants from Seed
Use a seed starting kit and a sterile seeding mix. Sow up to 3 seeds per pot to a half-inch depth. Germination takes 10 to 14 days. After 2 months, they’ll be ready for transplanting in larger containers. Keep indoors for the first year, transplant outside in its second year.
What to Know Before You Grow Goji Berry Plants from Seed
Goji berry plants are fast growers. The rooting systems are aggressive.
Outdoors, they can be difficult to control. Some gardeners swear that these need to be kept in containers to control their spread.
Truth is, it depends on how big a goji berry bush you want to grow.
You’ll get more fruit by planting goji berry plants in the garden.
However, if you want a smaller fruiting shrub that’s primarily grown for its small green foliage and blue to lilac blossoms, keep them in containers bigger than 5-gallons.
Any smaller, they quickly outgrow them.
The Low-Down on Growing Goji Berry Plants from Seed
What you’ll need
- Seeds or dried goji berries
- A seed starting kit
- A dish to soak berries in overnight
- A coated paper plate to dry them on
- Grow dome
- Grow lights
What Seeds to Use
You can buy goji berry seeds from nurseries, or you can pick your own from dried goji berries.
If you’re going to buy seeds, do your research so you know you’re buying from a trusted source because not every seed is good.
The seeds are harvested from goji berries and some can go bad.
To ensure you’re only using good seeds, pick your own. You can read on how to increase the fruit yield of your goji berry plant for more seeds.
Like eggs, bad seeds float and the good ones sink to the bottom.
Picking your own seeds
To pick your own seeds, you’ll want to hydrate your berries first.
If you’re using fresh goji berries, dip them in water, roll them between your thumb and forefinger, and the seeds will become visible.
Dip those in the water and toss away the pulp. Floating seeds are useless. The ones that sink are the good ones.
Once you have extracted the seeds from your goji berry fruit, drain the water and toss away the bad seeds.
Use a paper towel to dry off some of the good seeds, then place them on a coated paper plate to dry out overnight.
The reason you want to use a coated paper plate is to prevent the seeds from sticking to it.
Preparing Your Seed Starting Mix
Depending on the quality of your potting mix, it may be ready to use. Few are though.
A quality seeding mix needs to be sterile, regardless of the ingredients. Most will have a mix of coco noir, vermiculite, perlite, and peat moss.
Unless your potting soil is specifically labeled as being a sterilized seeding mix, you’ll need to sterilize it yourself. Particularly if you’re using compost.
Why sterilize the seeding mix?
To get rid of lingering bacteria, and eggs laid by fungus gnats or other soil-borne pests.
Sterilized soil just means it’s had its temperature raised beyond the temperatures pests and bacteria can survive, rendering it pest-free.
If you need to do this yourself, an effective way to sterilize soil is to saturate it in boiling water, then leave it under foil to keep it warmer for longer.
The steam under the foil does the sanitizing.
There’s no nutritional value in seeding mix and that’s what you want. Do not fertilize.
Planting Your Seeds
For each cell or seed starting pot you’re using, fill it with a seed starting mix and sow up to 3 seeds per pot.
Don’t plant these deep. A quarter-inch depth is a plenty. Although the goji berry is related to the tomato plant, it doesn’t need deep roots because it grows much faster.
Once the seeds are planted, they need high humidity and bright light to start germinating.
Grow domes and grow lights help speed the process up but if you don’t have those, keep the soil consistently moist and the containers in the hottest part of the room with bright indirect sunlight.
You can expect quality seeds to germinate within 10-14 days of planting. Once they’ve germinated, cut back on watering.
However, if you encounter any problems during this process, read the article about common goji berry problems here.
When to Transplant Goji Berry Seedlings
Goji berry plants establish fast. They just don’t fruit fast. The roots establish enough within a few months of germination to be transplanted.
The right time to transplant is when each seedling has three leaves.
How to Transplant Goji Berry Roots
Transplant goji berry roots into a container that has more than a 5-gallon capacity. They can quickly outgrow containers.
The soil mix should be the same, and the depth you plant in its new container should be the same too.
The simplest way to transplant a new goji berry plant is to fill the new container with potting mix, knock the side of the existing pot to loosen soil and roots, then drop everything (soil, roots, and all) into its new container to a depth no deeper than the original depth the seed started at.
The more conditions are kept the same, the less chance there is of transplant shock.
Keep your goji berry plant indoors for at least one year, then if you want to put it outside, it can be transplanted in the ground in its second year.
Planting outdoors is best done when the goji berry plant is at least one foot in height. Until it is, keep it inside.
Frequently Asked Questions Related to Growing Goji Berry from Seeds
Is it easier to propagate goji berries from seed or cuttings?
Growing goji berry plants from seed take longer than propagating from cuttings. The advantage of seeds is for quality control. There’s less risk of fungal infections or insect diseases that’s possibly present in existing plants.
Should goji berry plants be kept in containers?
Goji berry plants are shrubs and will spread and grow quite tall. Growing in containers restricts their roots spreading. It doesn’t stop from growing. The bigger the container you plant this in, the bigger a goji plant you can grow. Their growth rate, as well as the direction of growth, are easier to control when you place them in containers.
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.