Goji berries have been an exotic treat in our diet for a few years now, their primary fallback being the cost: usually about $20 a pound (or more!!)
The primary reasons for cultivation are:
- the nutrient profile! here is a brief summary:
- supposed success with desert cultivation. I have no references for this, but had heard rumors of a similar variety that is native to the mid-desert (about 4000 ft, I believe). I myself have seen this plant growing on the lower regions of mountains in southeastern AZ.
- goji is a prolific fruiter
- for the purposes of trade/barter, goji is a valuable crop at this time. (remember, $20 a POUND, the bulk bag I obtained was $11 a pound for 10 pounds.)
As far as I know, the live plants are unavailable anywhere (even online).
So, in a brief moment of clarity, I decided to sprout some seeds from a 10Ib bag of organic goji I had ordered from Navitas Naturals. What a surprise, because I experienced a 98% germination rate!! Germination took between 1-2 weeks, and I germinated on a vermiculite/perlite/guano/topsoil mixture. The plant is a shrub-vine (forgive my scientific-botanical expertise..), and bears fruit in the 2nd year of growth normally. Some instances of 1st year fruit are reported.
So, if anyone wants some definitely viable goji seed, I'm entirely willing to make sure you've got some. I only needed 2 or 3 berries to obtain 20+ sprouted plants. In November & December, I'll have some potted goji seedlings for sale (hopefully at the local markets.) In the mean time, if you'd like some viable berries for sprouting, shoot me a message! Lets get this amazing plant growing around here!
p.s. In the picture, the 3 week old goji seedlings are the 6 spaces on the right. (the left is a new variety of thai basil, behind that is broccoli and cauliflower. I am experimenting with increased humidity, as you can see by the upside-down cup...)
The live plants were in abundance all spring. Every Lowes in town carried them.
Mine are doing ok. Didn't take the heat very well even though it was planted along a north facing wall with some afternoon shade.
Were they true Lycium Barbarum? As I said, there is a similar variety that is native to this region.
Did yours look like that? That is amazing if the true goji was available here. (this species is normally planted in the wintertime in tropical regions)
Hi Andrew and Daniel,
I am always interested in an edible that is new to me, so I looked up the lycium Daniel mentioned and it was referred to as "wolfberry" -- There are 5 varieties of Lycium that are native to Arizona: andersonii, berlandieri, fremontii, macrodon, and pallidum - according to "Plants of Arizona". The Berlandieri is mentioned in the wiki notes on the barbarum as being similar. Supposed to bloom below 3,000 feet from March to November.
I know in my hiking travels in the past we came across what was probably one of the wolfberries and they had a tomato-type taste (because of their solano relatives imagine).
Andrew did you get any edible fruit from yours and if so did you find it worthwhile?
The plant barely survived the summer. I think I got one flower in the spring, so no fruit this year.
It's a lycium barbarum that was propagated by La Verne Nursery of Southern California -- they supply Lowes and HD with most of their tropicals (mangos, loquats, dragon fruit, guavas et al) under the Big Box store label or the "Tropical Dream" brand. Some of their stuff is also sold at Bakers and Tropica Mango.
I think with ideal planting conditions -- like not against a hot wall, shade cloth during the summer, and a decent potting mix instead of amended clay, I think the plant would do ok here. It's not like pomegranate or grapes where you can plant and forget it. I think this plant needs to be babied a little for a few years.
I guess you can also order a starter from Raintree Nursery which is a mail order source for a ton of fruit trees. http://www.raintreenursery.com/Goji_Berry_Phoenix_Tears_4_Inch_Pot_...
We have two of the native lyciums (I think they are andersonii and fremontii) on our property that were just there - we always look forward to the fruit and compete with the birds for them.When hiking, we also snack on them if we are lucky enough to run across them in fruit. Wolfberries are delicious - not too sweet and with a great flavor. Yum. They are thorny though, and picking can be delicate and slow. I tried to freeze some once to extend the season, but they didn't taste too good thawed. I've never tried drying them - I think we are best off just eating them off the bush! Farraday
I happened to be at a Home Depot in Mesa yesterday with a friend who was looking for ornamental plants and we wondered over to the exotic tree area and there was the Lycium Barbarum. Healthy looking plants (their papayas were not great looking :-) Just thought I would pass that on.