Learn how to to grow wolfberries right in your backyard to enjoy the benefits of this nutritions fruit!
Grey is always looking for new types of fruits and vegetables to add to our property. He likes to explore new varieties, buy them, and plant them if they do well in our area! We are running out of room! Our woflberries, also known as goji berries, are 5 years old now. They are producing a ton of fruit each year! Wolfberries are a perennial, so once they are planted, they are fairly low maintenance. We think the berries look like little Christmas lights on the vine.
This guide will point out the benefits of wolfberries and how to add them to your yard.
What are wolfberries?
Goji plants are native to China. Goji berry has been used for thousand years in traditional Chinese Medicine in China and other Asian countries as foods to promote health and as drugs to treat diseases. Wolfberries have gained popularity among Western countries more recently due to their excellent nutritional quality.
Why you should grow wolfberries
Wolfberries are extremely good for you
Goji berries are considered a superfood, and are used to treat diseases. Here are some of the health benefits that you may experience after consuming organic wolfberries:
- Wolfberries provide immune support.
- They are good for your eyes!
- Protect against cancer
- Promote healthy glowing skin
- Stabilizes blood sugar
- Thought to improve depression and anxiety
- Improves sleep
Wolfberries are drought tolerant
Goji berries need very little water to do well. In some cases they can even survive in dessert climates. They do need some water, just not much.
Goji berries are cold hardy
These delicious berries are cold hardy all the way down to zone 2. Goji berry plants are extremely tough and are hard to kill. Like tomatoes (they are in the nightshade family) they do need heat to produce berries to help them ripen.
Goji berry plants are beautiful
They almost look like little vintage Christmas lights to me! The fruit is glossy and bright red. They dangle close together in dense clusters among the green leaves.
Wolfberries are enjoyed in a variety of different ways:
This berry can be consumed in many different ways some of the most common ways that people like to eat goji berries is:
- trail mixes
- by the handful!
- baked goods
You can get goji berries for much cheaper if you grow your own
Goji berries can be pretty pricey in the grocery stores! With how easy the are to grow, it only makes sense to plant a shrub in a pot or your backyard! These low maintenance plants will continue to provide you with fresh wolfberries for very little effort!
Ways to process wolf berries
Goji berries can be processed much like any other type of berry. It is common for them to be sold after being dried in a dehydrator. These sweetens their flavor and preserves them. Here are some other ways to consider preserving goji berries:
- Freeze Dry them! This is a really easy way to preserve the nutritional quality of goji berries. Simply load them onto the freeze dryer tray and let your freeze dryer do the work. We have a harvest right, if you are on the fence about buying one, check out this review where I all about the pros and cons.
- Make chocolate covered goji berries-These are a delicious dessert that are unique. Start with dehydrated goji berries and dip them in your favorite type of chocolate. We prefer semi-sweet!
- Make a goji berry powder-goji berry powder makes a great addition to smoothies, sauces, and baked goods.
- Make a goji berry juice-This is good to do if you have an abundance. Goji berry juice is an extremely potent way to get all the nutritional benefits delivered straight to the body fast!
How to Grow wolfberries in zone 9
Wolfberries are hardy plants that are drought tolerant and grow in zones 3-10. These plants are easy to grow in your own backyard. If left unpruned, they can grow as tall as 6-8 feet with a spread of about 6 feet!
You can start your goji berry adventure three ways. You can start by planting seeds, which will take the longest to bear fruit. The fastest way to start is with a potted plant. Nurserys will often carry goji berries as bare root or as a potted plant.
There are two main ways you can grow a wolfberry plant:
Growing wolfberries in a container
Goji berries love growing in containers. You’ll get a more compact plant while the container prevents the roots from spreading, like raspberries. Goji berries put down a deep tap root, so the minimum size container should be 5 gallons.
Growing wolfberries in the ground
- Before planting, soak the roots in water for 15 minutes to 1 hour
- With your bare root in the center of your pot, fill the container with potting soil up to the crown of the bare root. The crown is where the bare root starts. The crown should be the same level as the top of the soil.
- Water, and add additional soil if the soil settles below the crown
- Place in full sun
- Keep the plant moist
- Give the plant about an inch or two of water every week
- After you see 6-8 inches of growth, your new Goji berry plant is ready for the ground, fiber pot and all. Follow these simple planting steps:
Transplanting goji berry plant
- Locate a spot with full sun, although they can tolerate partial shade
- Plant each Goji berry plant at least 2 feet apart
- Goji berry plants can be trained like a grape vine on a trellis or left as a shrub
How to prune a goji berry plant
- Don’t prune a Goji berry plant in the first year
- In year 2, choose a main shoot and prune all others below it about 15” from the ground
- When the plant reaches 2 feet tall in the summer, pinch out the growing tips to cause side branching where the fruit will be born
- After ther main structure is established, just prune back to the height you want to keep it
- Always remove branches within 15” of the ground
- Prune any unproductive branches
- Thin out branches after the berry season
How to harvest wolfberries
Harvesting gojj berries is tedious, since they cannot be shaken from the plant. Because goji berries need to be picked by hand because fruit will bruise if it is squeezed too hard. With a light hand, simply pluck individual berries from the vine. It can be quite labor intensive, so get some help!
How to Grow wolfberries in zone 9 FAQ
How long does it take to grow wolfberries?
You can get fruit from your goji berry plant after the first year, although it takes about three years to get a full harvest.
Is goji berry easy to grow?
Goji berries are extremely easy to grow! They require very little care and are perfect for your backyard space.
Do goji berries need a trellis?
Goji berries can be trained on a trellis much like a tomato, however training it is not required. These plants will do fine without a trellis.
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Fed up with the fast paced modern world, Grey & Brianna made drastic changes to live slowly and intentionally. Read more about their unlikely story back to calm. If you want to send Grey & Brianna a quick message, then visit their contact page.