How To Gardening Plant Portraits Goji berry

Goji berry

By Nancy Norris | January 24, 2020

Create a bushy tree or shrub with edible berries

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Nancy Norris
Common name: Goji berry, wolfberry, Chinese boxthorn
Latin name: Lycium barbarum, L. chinense
Plant type: Perennial
USDA Hardiness Zones: 6-9 for L. barbarum, 4-9 for L. chinense
Cultural needs: Well-drained, high pH (alkaline) soil, full sun
Plant size: 5-8′, easily pruned to stay 2-3′ as in photo
Nurseries stock Goji berry plants more commonly now than 10 years ago. I tried my first one a few years ago and the plant grew slowly, extending only a foot or so high. In the fall, I moved it to a location where the thorns wouldn’t constantly awaken me with rude scratches. The second year was different, much more bushy growth, which kept growing even after fruit set hold. I waited too long to “pinch back” the stem tips. Pictured in the third year, among six edible plants, tips have been pinched back and whole branches have been removed from the ground area to create more of a bushy tree than a sprawling shrub. To taste some of these odd berries takes an attitude adjustment. Rather than candy-like, the fruit tastes more like red bell peppers – sweet, but also savory. They’re sweeter once dried. In August, a friend picked a harvest of my berries; they took three days to dry in an Excalibur 9-tray dehydrator. One nursery advertised, “Grow $175 worth of berries each year from a single plant!” Read more about this superfood, a nutritional powerhouse at
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