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Lycium chinense (barbarum)

 
insipidtoast McCoy
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I've been cultivating these for less than one year, so I can't really comment on climatic requirements. There seems to be a paucity of good info regarding the cultivation of this plant. What I have learned:
-Goji berry plants are deciduous
-They can get pretty big and tall. (A little over head height)

How much do seedlings differentiate? Do these plants grow well from cuttings?

Shade tolerant?

Drought tolerant?

Are pictures of big plants that I've seen actually one plant or many grown in proximity?

I started a bunch from seed last summer. Nearly 100% germination. These are excellent sprouters (even young foliage is edible as a salad green -very surprising for a plant from the Solanacea family). A lot of these seedlings died for unknown reasons. Many just grew on tall, single stalks (even in full sun) that eventually flopped over.

I'm looking forward to starting some more test plots with these plants in the very near future.

Please comment on your experience with growing them.

Thanks
 
Paula Edwards
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I've bought a plant from the nursery Nellie Kellie and it simply died. Perhaps it was too wet. Or it didn't like the shady spot (apparently they can grow in shade). Or the slugs.
 
                    
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insipidtoast wrote:

-Goji berry plants are deciduous



Yes, they are delicious!

Haven't tried growing it as I am well south of the range indicated in most books. Eric Toensmeir indicated that they can turn into thick thorny masses that spread, I guess it depends on the climate, soils, and site. Supposed to be easy to propagate via seed, cuttings, tip layering and division.
 
insipidtoast McCoy
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where are you located?
 
                    
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North Florida. The Toensmeir book shows the range extending down to somewhere north of Atlanta, probably 250 miles north of me. It might work here (if only for a while), maybe I will experiment with it, but the older I get the less interested I am in trying to grow plants that are not well adapted to where I live.

Did you buy seed or use dried goji berries for seed?

 
insipidtoast McCoy
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I can tell you that they grow here in Santa Barbara USDA zone 10a. So, they would also probably grow where you live. We thought ours were dead here, but then read that they are deciduous. Most sources mention that fruit production does not start until the seedling plant is 2-3 years old.

I can't comment on how reliable the information is in the Perennial vegetables book. For one thing, they recommend growing air potato (Dioscorea bulbifera), which I believe is extremely invasive in your area, and probably only marginally edible after a very involved preparation process. That plant did not work out here on the west coast, that's for sure.

I got my goji seeds from tradewindsfruit. They say Lycium chinense on the packet, but in general there seems to be much confusion over proper taxonomy, and there really isn't much growing info out there on either L. chinense, or L. barbarum. One source mentioned they are highly adaptable and grow between areas of 300mm and 2000mm rainfall. Apparently they take the same shape as a big raspberrry bush.

Anyway, we'll be testing this species a lot more here. Hopefully we can confirm full drought tolerance for our climate along with decent fruit production.
 
                    
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Ok - have come across other references on the web saying there are cultivars that do fine in Florida. Food for thought.
 
John Polk
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There is also a species native to southern Arizona/northern Mexico.  That is hot desert, so they will stand the heat, but I don't know how they would do in your humidity.
 
insipidtoast McCoy
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Can you post a link to some info about this species?
 
Charles Kelm
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Location: Western Washington (Zone 7B - temperate maritime)
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Here is some info about growing goji seeds from the goji berries which you may have on hand.  This is instructions on how to make juice, but near the end they explain how to use the seeds afterwards to grow goji bushes:

Our customers are always asking us, "Which is better, Goji juice or Goji berries?"

You've probably seen all the ads on the internet for Goji juice.  Have you also noticed how expensive it is?

When you buy pre-made Goji juice, you don't really know what's in it.  Making your own is not hard, and when you do, you know exactly what it's made of.

Some people have digestive issues that make it easier to assimilate juice than to eat the berries.  The following method works especially well for them.

Sometimes we make our own juice by soaking the berries overnight. We suggest drinking it in the morning.  Be careful though, because it's quite potent.  It gives you lots of energy.  If you drink too much you might have trouble sleeping the following night.  Don't say I didn't warn you!

If you don't drink it all at once, be sure to refrigerate what's left.  Otherwise you'll end up with fermented Goji "beer!"

Here's how you Make Your Own Goji Juice in your very own 12 Step program:

   1.      Put about 4 ounces of Goji berries in a 16 ounce drinking glass
   2.      Just barely cover them with pure water
   3.      Soak and refrigerate them overnight
   4.      Put the soaked berries in the blender
   5.      Add just enough water to get them to blend
   6.      Blend them until pureed, about 1-2 minutes
   7.      Place a coffee filter into a coffee filter holder sitting in a large measuring cup or small bowl
   8.      Pour the puree into the coffee filter
   9.      After about 2 hours, the Goji juice has filtered through
  10.     Add additional water now and again to "wash" more juice out until all the flavor is out of the pulp
  11.     You can mix the pure Goji Juice with other juices if desired
  12.     Drink to your health.  We mean it!

What do you do with the pulp? Throw it out or feed it to the chipmunks.  However, if you want to try a fun experiment, put a layer of potting soil in a planting tray, spread all the pulp all over the soil, put another layer of soil on top, and keep it moist and warm. After about 2 weeks you'll start to see lots of little sprouts coming up. Goji seems to be a slow growing plant, but soon you'll have a thick, beautiful carpet of Goji sprouts. After they sprout, give them some sun.

Got this here: http://forgojiberries.com/ scroll down and look for the section called: How To Make Your Own Goji Juice
 
John Polk
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There is not a lot of info regarding the Sonoran species (L. exsertum).
Here is one link:

http://www.desertmuseumdigitallibrary.org/public/detail.php?id=ASDM01419
I plan to try it, just to see how it does in a humid environment once I get relocated.
 
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