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How do I Grow Goji Berry Plants?

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  • Written By: Greer Hed
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 19 September 2016
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Goji berry plants are woody perennial shrubs that originated in China and Tibet, but will grow successfully in many types of climate. The plants may be grown from seeds, which can be obtained from dried berries. Seedlings require care and attention, but once the plants are beyond the seedling phase they are hardy and require little special care to flourish. Edible berries begin growing on mature plants two or three years of age, and are preceded by the appearance of ornamental purple flowers in the early summer months. The berries may be eaten fresh or dried, and have a wide range of culinary and medicinal uses.

The first step in growing goji berry plants is to acquire seeds or berries to plant. These are usually available via the Internet or may be purchased at a gardening store or nursery. Berries may be dried or full; full berries will need to be dried before planting. Goji berries need cold temperatures for germination to occur, so full berries may be placed in a freezer for about a month before planting, thawed in water, and then dried. Once dried, the berries should be soaked in damp paper towels or shallow pans for an hour or two, and then the seeds may be removed with a knife and rinsed thoroughly.

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Seeds can be planted in small pots or trays filled with a mixture of potting soil, compost and sand. Goji berry plants prefer to grow in slightly sandy soil. The seeds should be planted about half an inch deep in the planting medium. Once planted, the seeds should be watered and placed in a sunny spot to begin to grow. Good drainage is also important to maintain for the health of the plants.

During the seedling stage, the goji berry plants will be vulnerable and should be kept indoors or in a greenhouse environment. Once the seedlings begin growing leaves, they may be taken outside or moved to a larger space indoors. Beyond the seedling phase, goji berry plants are very hardy shrubs that can withstand cold temperatures and droughts, so they may be grown outside in all but the coldest climates. The plants require well-lit conditions and prefer moist soil whenever possible. Plant mulch may be placed around the base of each shrub to help maintain the soil's moisture levels.

Two to three years after planting, the plants will begin to flower and then produce fruit. Indoor plants will need to be hand pollinated if they are to produce berries, while outdoor shrubs will require protection from insects, birds, and other animals. Pruning the shrubs will result in a greater berry yield. As the plants mature, they will produce more berries of increasing size.

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