The Goji Berry shrub is a native of the mountainous Tibet region in China and Mongolia. In Tibetan culture the berries were revered for their medicinal and religious ceremony uses. The Tibetan people were the first to use Lycium Chinensis in medicine. Later on, prominent Chinese herbal healers would credit the goji berry as the fountain of youth. It wasn’t unusual for people who regularly consumed goji berries to enjoy an unusually long life, they wrote. But you don’t have to live in Tibet or in Asia at all to enjoy the delightfully hardy goji berry plant. The true Lycium Chinensis shrub is a native of the Tibetan Himalayas mountain region and can easily survive cold temperatures due to this. Its definitely not a tropical plant. And the best way to propagate it is from seed or buying the plant from a greenhouse nursery.
This Asian native can actually tolerate a wide variety of climates as long as its not too warm of a climate. Its best to plant the seeds in fertile soil during early Spring so they can get an early start on their growth. You probably won’t see the characteristic orange-red berries until next year though! Make sure the soil isn’t too moist, but it shouldn’t be to the other extreme either. Well-drained soil is the ideal soil for the goji berry. It doesn’t always rain a lot in the Himalayan mountains so they are also good drought-resistant plants. It also makes a nice indoor plant because most varieties don’t grow over 10 feet tall. The growing site should be located in full sunlight though it can tolerate mild shade. Shade, even mild, can delay the growth of berries though so its probably better to keep them in full sun. Its useful to the the seedlings indoors until you see leaves as they do best this way. Like many plants, the sprout-lings are delicate. As for watering, it really doesn’t need it often with once a week of good watering being sufficient.
Sometimes goji berry is confused with wolf-berries, who are also natives to Asia, but they are very different in quality, taste, medicinal use, cultural use, and even the way their grown is different. Wolf-berries are traditionally grown in more populated areas of China and surrounding countries with most wolf-berry growing areas being highly contaminated with chemicals and poor quality soil is common. But the goji berry has traditionally only been grown in the high Tibet mountain region away from the crowded cities and polluted environments. The Himalayas experience a fresh renewal every year as ice melts off the upper parts of the mountains and comes down in a pure stream to where the gojis are growing. Wolf-berries aren’t as sweet and don’t have as much medicinal value as goji berries either. When it comes time to harvest your goji berries be sure not to touch them until their ripe as touching can cause oxidation and the berries will turn black. Typically, after two or three years their will be berries on the shrub ready to fall off. Goji berries can be used in many things such as soup, bread, cereal, salad topping, juice, raw, dried, and original goji berry herbal teas.