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Goji Berry Plant Care For Dummies & Seasoned Plant Parents

Goji Berry Plant Care For Dummies & Seasoned Plant Parents

 Also known as Wolfberry, is a thorn-riddled woody shrub that can be housed indoors. They are typically chosen due to their nutritional aspect. The berries can both be cooked up and added to a broth, or be eaten dried. 

The leaves are also edible! You may even want one of these plants within your home for their petite appeal. When grown in a smaller container, they won’t spread out as much as their garden-kept counterparts. 

The Goji berry, or Lycium barbarum, is native to China. They have always been considered as a delicacy that aids with longevity. The small, red berries add a pop of color amongst the narrow, green leaves.

There are a number of varieties that can change the overall appearance. Regardless of the variation, they all require the same type of care. 

Without further ado, let’s dive right into Goji Berry plant care. 

 

How Not To Kill Your Goji Berry Plant
 

GOJI BERRY PLANT CARE INSTRUCTIONS

Most people choose to keep these plants outdoors. It allows them to spread out and produce more berries. You don’t have to do this, especially if you don’t have space for it. To help out, we’ve compiled the ways to help your Goji Berry plant survive without garden life. 

 

SOIL

One of the greatest aspects about Goji Berry plants is their adaptability. They can be raised in just about any soil type, as long as it isn’t too high in overall salinity.

The best spot for pH levels is to sit somewhere between 6.5 and 7.0. Anything above 8.1 is too acidic. And although they can thrive in a variety of soil types, their preference is for ones that are light such as loam or sandy loams.

These are able to drain properly, another key aspect in the category of soil. Look for soil that has plenty of organic matter with higher levels of fertility. Some even argue that the perfect soil ration is two-thirds mixture of potting soil with a third being sand.

 

LIGHT

Sunlight is very important when it comes to the overall maintenance of your Lycium barbarum. Those berries take quite a bit of work to produce, so you’ll want to make sure that they are getting all they need!

The Goji Berry plant does best when given full sun. Most plants would experience damage from this amount of exposure. You can find a windowsill that gets lots of light, specifically one that faces the south, as this will have the most sun.

The minimum requirement for these floras is to have at least 8 hours of sunlight per day. If your house is a bit darker, you may want to consider placing them underneath artificial lights that can get the job done.

The Goji Berry plant can withstand living in partial shade, but once again, they do need at least some sunlight. 

 

WATERING 

You may have heard a few people say that they’ve used Goji Berry plants in their tea, but what about the water that they need to grow?

In the wild, these individuals have a near constant supply to water, as they are located in the Himalayan Mountains where rainfall and water runoff is frequent.

Your indoor plant will need to have a similar system set up! You’ll want to water these plants once a day. Make sure that it is a thorough session so that the moisture goes down to the roots.

This is where having a lightweight soil type is key. The water that isn’t absorbed by your Goji Berry plant will need to be drained so that the roots don’t start to rot.

Sand is one of those substrates that can aid in this process. Adding drainage holes on the bottom of the container is another piece of advice!

 

TEMPERATURE 

The overall temperature of the room that your Lycium barbarum resides in isn’t anything too drastic. In fact, they can handle a wide range. Those who keep these plants outside need to keep an eye on the temperature scale to make sure that it doesn’t get too cold.

The lowest temperature that a Goji Berry plant can survive without dying off completely is -27 degrees Celsius, or -18 degrees Fahrenheit. You won’t have to worry about this if you keep it indoors! Keep in mind that the other end of the spectrum can also be troublesome.

Anything over 37 degrees Celsius, or 100 degrees Fahrenheit is too extreme. Taking all of this into account, it’s easy to see why temperature isn’t really an issue for Goji Berry plants that are kept as an indoor ornament!

 

HUMIDITY 

With where they are naturally found, it may be assumed that these individuals want to be provided with higher levels of humidity.

This is actually false! Supplying water to the roots is one thing, but the leaves can be quite sensitive. An excess of moisture will result in the foliage rotting and eventually falling off.

You’ll want to be mindful of how humid your house is. Certain rooms, such as the kitchen or bathroom have water molecules trapped in the air. Opt for a spot that is closer to an open window where it can be drier!

 

FERTILIZER 

With such an abundant production of berries, fertilizer is something to consider. The type of fertilizer as well as how often you use it is something to keep in mind. Any additional assistance should be given in the early spring months when new growth shows.

Certain fertilizers lack the correct nutrients. Investing in a fertilizer that is specifically designed for roses or woody plants will yield the best results.

Another aspect to note is that Goji Berry plants will not produce any fruit until they are at least in to their second season of growth, even when given fertilizer. Don’t let this deter you from using food.

These individuals do well when given fertilizer. Just overdo it as they don’t like too much. Dilute any solution out of caution.  

 

PROPAGATION  

Propagating Lycium barbarum is actually quite simple when you know the steps! The two methods involved in this practice are through stem cuttings and seedlings.

Propagation through seed germination is fairly straightforward, but it takes a good deal of time. There have been cases where the seeds don’t actually form roots, making it a guessing game at times.

We prefer stem cuttings as it yields quicker results. There are a few considerations before you go about using this technique. We will lay out the steps involved later on!

 

GROWTH

The Goji Berry plant is known for being quite productive with a rather quick growth rate. When placed outdoors, these individuals reach a height of 12 feet, possibly even more with the right conditions.

They are considered a woody shrub, after all, meaning that they can take up a bit of space. Regularly pruned outdoor specimens generally range between three and six feet in height.

These plants are also known for growing to be quite wide, spreading out anywhere from four to six feet across. This is in large part due to their root system.

With a deep tap root, the smaller veins take up a lot of space! Potted Goji Berry plants need routine attention to stay at a manageable height. They won’t be able to spread out, but those roots will try.

 

POTTING

Goji Berry plants are known for stretching their roots out, making it crucial to repot when the time arises. Without consistently transferring your flora, you’ll end up with stunted growth and overall fruit production.

Wolfberries need a pot with plenty of room to grow. Make sure that there is at least a few feet of distance between the edges of the container and the plant itself.

Depending on your flora, you’ll want to repot every year. Some Goji Berry plant owners have recommended doing this every two to three years at the most.

If you keep an eye on the plant, you should be able to tell if it is too cramped for it’s current living situation. 

If you’re unfamiliar with the process of repotting, look at our article regarding labeled 4 Steps to Success!

 

 

PROVIDING YOUR GOJI BERRY PLANT WITH WATER

The key to sufficiently watering your Lycium barbarum is not in how much water you provide, but rather the frequency.

The Himalayan Mountains are known for having high levels of moisture year round. Contrary to their native habitat, you’ll want to add just enough to keep them satisfied. 

These plants do need a thorough watering session where moisture travels down to the roots. Without it, berries and flowers aren’t able to exist.

This does not mean, however, that you should add copious amounts of water. Root rot can be a problem when given too much water.

Water your plant consistently, about once a day, and do so until you see water drain out the bottom of the container. Drainage holes are crucial, as they will stop the plant from sitting in water. 

Another useful tip involves watering a Wolfberry plant before you even transfer it to a pot. Prior to planting, you’ll want to allow the bare root of the Goji Berry to soak in water for roughly half an hour.

You can then continue to transfer it to a pot with fresh soil. This will ensure that it’s given enough water to mature. 

 

GOJI BERRY PLANT PROPAGATION METHODS

Gaining a new individual from the parent plant is a good way to gain berries without buying another flora entirely. There are two methods that you can decide between.

Seed germination isn’t always successful, and yet is a favorable technique for a number of flowering plants. Stem cuttings are an easier and more effective way to go about propagating a Goji Berry plant.

Keep in mind that you’ll want to propagate your flora in the summer months for newer growth, and winter for older. 

 

PROPAGATION THROUGH STEM CUTTINGS

  1. Set up the new pot with freshly laid soil that has been dampened with plenty of water. We recommend using a mixture between peat moss and perlite, as it can keep the roots from sitting in water. 
  2. Find a healthy section of your plant and make 4 to 6 inch long cuts where the stem has at least three leaves. 
  3. Wrap the cuttings in a moist towel so that they don’t dry out. 
  4. Carefully remove the lower portion of leaves on each stem and place them into the pot. At this point, you should wrap the plant and container in plastic wrap.
  5. Keep an eye on your cuttings, opening the bag every few days to increase circulation. They should also be placed in a spot that gets plenty of indirect light.
  6. Once a few weeks have passed, you should be able to remove the bags and transfer them to a larger, individual pot. 

 

 

FIRECRACKING PESTS AND PRUNING

Even if you keep your Goji Berry indoors, you’ll want to familiarize yourself on the potential pests. Equally important is how to go about scaling back the leaves. Routine pruning will help keep your plant healthy and full of berries!

 Let’s first take a brief look at the bugs that can infest your Lycium barbarum. The most common pests to invade one of these individuals are aphids, Japanese beetles, spider mites, and thrips.

The majority of these pests can be dealt with by carefully washing the leaves with soapy water. More extreme cases involve the use of pesticide. 

Aphids are among the more common bug to find on your plant. Want to get rid of them for good? Read over our article concerning aphid removal!

 Before we mention the steps involved in pruning a Goji Berry, we’d like to mention that a plant under a year old should never be touched.

Most people choose to begin the act of pruning during the second season at the end of winter. You’ll want to remove any branches that seem dead, or that have dying leaves.

Don’t worry about taking off too much, as these plants do better when taken back on a regular basis. 

 

GOJI BERRY PLANT PROBLEMS

We don’t mean to scare you, but there are a number of things that can go wrong with a Goji Berry plant. They can be infested with bugs or a fungal disease, lack in certain nutrients, or simply need more of a basic need. Don’t let this phase you. We’ve compiled the most common issues and solutions to each problem!

 

PROBLEM #1: BLACK SOOT ON LEAVES

Leaves can be subjected to a multitude of pests. Scale shows itself in the form of a black soot-like substance. 

Try less invasive measures first such as neem oil and gently washing the leaves with soapy water. If that doesn’t work, you can try a pesticide.

 

PROBLEM #2: NOT BEARING FRUIT

If your Wolfberry is only in its first season, it won’t grow any fruit. Any plants older than this need a boost from fertilizer. A lack in fruit and flower production is a likely hint that you need to provide the additional support. 

Invest in a rose or woody plant fertilizer and implement a somewhat regular schedule. The food should be diluted and applied in the spring. 

 

PROBLEM SIGN #3: YELLOWING FOLIGAGE

The leaves of a Goji Berry are typically a light green. If they shift to a yellow hue, your plant may be not be getting enough water. 

Adjust your watering schedule. Make sure to thoroughly water your plant without letting it sit in the moisture. 

 

PROBLEM #4: PURPLE FOLIAGE

At first glance, purple leaves on a Goji Berry plant may be quite alarming. The reason for this discoloration is simply due to stress. 

 

Purple foliage isn’t really a clear indicator for a specific problem. Run through the basic need requirements and determine if you meet all of them. 

 

 5 TIPS TO A HAPPY GOJI BERRY PLANT

If you focus on these tricks, you’ll have fewer problems and a plant that likely produces a plentiful amount of fruit!

  1. The soil should be lightweight and have the ability to drain water easily.
  2. Put your plant in a spot that gets plenty of full sunlight.  
  3. Water should be provided once per day with enough to fully saturate the roots.
  4. Don’t wait too long to transfer your plant to a larger pot, before three years. 
  5. Routine pruning will keep your plant well kept and healthy!

 

 
 

 

GOJI BERRY PLANT FAQ

 

What are the benefits of Goji Berry plants?

These plants have been used for a number of homeopathic remedies. This includes helping with blood pressure, cancer, blood sugar, anxiety, sleep, liver damage, and overall immune system support. 

 

Can you eat raw Goji berries?

These berries can be consumed raw. Many enjoy putting them in their own trail mix!

 

Are Goji berries invasive?

Goji Berry plants are not invasive despite being native to China. They have the potential to become invasive due to their quick growth rate.   

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