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The goji berry bush, which originated in China, has felt at home in this country for ages. It is better known to many under the names wolfberry or wolfberry. Although the shrub can grow up to three meters tall, its purple flowers remain tiny, as do the orange berries. For a long time, however, these were considered poisonous. Now that scientific studies have proven their healthy ingredients, the goji berry is also increasingly in demand for the garden.

variety selection

Goji berries, bot. Lycium barbarum and Lycium chinense are divided into two groups. The first group consists of varieties with orange-red, grooved fruits that are characterized by a mild taste. These goji berries are ideal for the raw consumption. The most popular varieties in this group are:

  • Big Lifeberry
  • NQ1
  • L22
  • turgidus

The fruits of the second group, on the other hand, are smaller and more evenly shaped. Their coloring is also much stronger and can be most appropriate than signal red be designated. The taste is tart and has a peppery aroma. The second group includes the following varieties:

  • Big&Sweet
  • Korean Big
  • instant success
  • Sweet Lifeberry
Wolfberry, Lycium barbarum, Goji

location and soil

The wolfberry loves sunny locations where it is well ventilated all around. An airy spot is particularly important, otherwise the shrub tends to develop mildew. An ideal soil for this plant is humic, permeable and sufficiently moist. In a soil that suits the goji berry, it likes to form many runners.

planting outdoors

The Lycium chinense does not need a second pollinator plant and can therefore be used both as single shrub as well as in company inhabit the garden. You can ideally plant goji berries from March to May, provided the ground is not frozen. A second good planting time is the months of August to October. The individual steps are as follows:

1. Dig a planting hole about 40 cm deep.
2. Put some organic fertilizer in the hole. Compost works well. You can also mix it with the excavated soil.
3. Put the young plant about 30 cm deep in the prepared hole.
4. Fill in the empty spaces with the excavated earth. Press the earth lightly.
5. Create a practical watering wall around the plant, because it needs plenty of watering at first. Give it the first watering immediately after planting.

tip: This vigorous plant needs an area of one square meter. Two specimens of this variety should therefore be at a distance of two meters.

Planting in the bucket

You can also plant the wolfberry in a bucket. Although the shrub remains smaller in this cramped environment, it still gives away its fruits generously. The following should be observed when caring for the potted plant:

  • choose a large planter
  • it should have sufficient drainage holes
  • Mix two parts potting soil with one part sand
  • Instead of sand, perlite is also suitable because it aerates the soil well
  • water thoroughly after planting


After replanting, water the goji berries regularly. Because until it has developed enough roots in the new soil, it is dependent on an extra portion of water again and again. Afterwards, only water as needed and, above all, depending on the weather. The shrub does not like long droughts, but neither does constantly wet roots.

Goji berries that thrive in containers are more demanding when it comes to watering. They cannot draw moisture from the depths of the earth, so they need regular watering from the watering can. Plentifully at the beginning of their existence, later only so much that the substrate is always slightly moist.


Although wolfberry flowers profusely and can yield up to a kilo of berries, it remains modest in terms of nutritional requirements. With an annual compost supply in the spring the bush gets everything it needs for the rest of the year. Further fertilizing during the vegetation period is therefore not necessary.

To cut

A wolfberry is beautiful and productive if it can develop a strong and dense growth through optimal care. For this it is necessary to use the scissors correctly from the start.

  • Cut back to 20 cm in the first year
  • the shrub then branches out from below
  • clear in the following year
  • leave only about five thick shoots
  • Cut harvested shoots from the previous year
  • remove old shoots after five years
  • then leave new young main shoots
  • Always cut dead wood promptly

The best time for all pruning is fall, after the shrub has been harvested.

notice: The wolfberry can also be trained well for a wire trellis.



Wolfberry can easily be propagated from seeds. However, she only offers this type of propagation for those who are not in a hurry to enjoy the fruit. The shrub grown from seed can take a full five years before it delivers its first harvest. Wait until March to sow so that the seedlings find ideal light conditions and sufficient warmth.

1. Obtain an air-permeable and nutrient-poor substrate such as potting soil or coconut substrate.
2. Fill a seed pot with the substrate and spread several seeds on it.
3. Cover the seeds with about 2 cm of soil.
4. Moisten the soil well and then cover the pot with cling film.
5. Place the pot in a bright but shady place. The warmer the seed, the better.
6. Air the film every two to three days so that mold spores don't stand a chance.
7. Keep the substrate consistently moist but not too wet. If possible, use soft rainwater.
8. At a room temperature of 15°C to 20°C, the seeds will germinate in about two to three weeks. Keep the young seedlings out of the sun for about six more weeks.
9. At the age of eight weeks, you should plant the young seedlings in their own pots. Be careful when doing this, because the delicate roots are still very sensitive.


Another way to successfully propagate goji berries is to grow them from young or already woody cuttings.

  • cut unwoody cuttings in summer or autumn
  • woody cuttings are taken in the winter period
  • they should all be about 25 cm long and have three pairs of leaves


Twigs of wolfberry that hang low by themselves are also ideal for propagation.

1. Keep bending the branch down until one part lies flat on the ground.
2. Fix the branch with wire or other suitable material and then cover it with soil.
3. Pour the area well and then keep it well moist.
4. New roots form relatively quickly on the buried branch. The new little bush is growing visibly.
5. Cut the connection to the mother bush so that the newcomer can move to another place where it has enough space for its own growth.


In the open air

All varieties of goji berries tolerate high minus temperatures when planted out. Their frost limit is even -26 °C. That's enough to survive most winters in this country without further protection. Only young plants cannot face the winter hardy. In the first few years, they need the usual protection from us with suitable covers.

In the bucket

Potted plants are hit harder by the frost than their relatives, whose roots are in the garden soil. So that the root ball does not freeze through, the frost must encounter a barrier on its way inside the bucket. This can consist of bubble wrap or plant fleece, for example. The material of choice is wrapped around the bucket several times. Don't forget the bottom of the bucket either. Ideally, the bucket stands on an insulating material such as styrofoam or a wooden board. In addition, a sheltered location mitigates the damaging effects of the cold.

Diseases & Pests

The powdery mildew severely affects this shrub if it is not combated immediately. However, you don't have to wait for the mealy topping. Protection begins with precautionary measures to prevent this fungus from spreading in the first place.

  • Spray preventively from the beginning of budding
  • every two weeks
  • with vegetable oil from field horsetail
  • Cut off branches affected by powdery mildew

tip: The use of chemical agents is conceivable, but not necessarily sensible. When However, if you want to harvest the goji berries for consumption, you should not spray them with harmful substances.

If the leaves of the wolfberry show small bulges in a brownish tone, then the gall mite is not far away. If the infestation is allowed to continue undisturbed, the shrub will lose these leaves entirely.
Remove all affected parts of the plant as soon as possible. However, if the gall mite has had the shrub under control for some time, these measures could be insufficient. Then the entire shrub must be disposed of.


Goji berries ripen gradually, which is why the harvest time is spread over a period of six to eight weeks. It can start as early as mid-August and last until October. Here it is important to wait for the right time when the fruits have optimally developed their aroma. A few sweet berries are certainly a great help.

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