[NAFEX] Goji Berry

Chex chex.rice at gmail.com
Tue Jan 23 09:28:51 EST 2007

Thanks for all the answers on the Goji Berry question.  I will pass
them along to my friend.

zone 5a, IL


Hi, I have a friend that is wanting to purchase some goji berry plants
because of his belief in their health properties.  I have been
searching for named varieties that will do well in zone 5a in Northern
Illinois, on an island in the Mississippi River.  I have been unable
to find any named cultivars.  Does anyone have any experience with
this plant or no anything about named cultivars?

Chris Rice
zone 5a, IL


I was under the impression that Goji Berries were a
specific cultivar or regional variety of Wolfberries.


>From what I have read and what I have bought at the oriental grocery store,
there isn't much variation in lycium berries (wolfberry, chinese boxthorn,
etc) and it would be silly to spend a lot of time or money looking for
cultivars.  The European version I makes somewhat smaller berries, otherwise
they are considered very similar.  I read an article on germanium that
claimed that the herbal hall of fame mostly consisted of plants that
concentrated germanium.  If that's the case, the germanium is in the seeds
and THAT means that you don't need to bother looking for varieties that make
more pulp.  The ordinary cheap dried ones from oriental groceries taste
great the way they are, and the seeds sprout just fine.  My problem is that
I can't get them to GROW once they are up.  They always die before they get
an inch high.  It frustrates me no end to read that they are naturalized in
places in Virginia.  I think they like sandy soil, but even in sand they die
for me.  What they don't seem to like, at least while small is excessive
amounts of rain.  They will do fine till we get into a wet spell, and then
they die every time.  Forest Farm out west sells the plants, and the one I
got from them lived for 2 years, till I transplanted it out of the woods to
some better soil, then it died.    Donna


Hallo Chris and Hallo Donna,
yes, I have the same experience, Lycium barbarum Goji Berry do not have
cultivars jet - at EU.
It is sold as a simple plant - not too nice - but to grow every where-
!!! Proposed for slopes.
It grows sometimes wild in German wine areas.
It likes dry sandy soils, but it is growing well in cold zone 5a. In
Germany it is growing in my area -
cold zone 6 - in a very heavy clay soil. A little bit like weed, but not
And to tell the truth, I did not know the background of the plant at
all... I started to minimize them.
It seems, the Goji knowledge is more developed in the USA.
They are propagated in Germany only(!) by winter cuttings. They grow 100%!
I have 750 mm annually rainfall, but they grow without any problem.

Thank you Donna for your very interesting information!
Hans Brinkmann


I am pleased that Hans reports Lycium will grow even on heavy clay.  Now if
I can only get some plants to actually grow.  I don't think Americans know
more about "goji" than Europeans, I only know about them because a friend
did Chinese herbs and gave us some.  Then I bought the book HERBAL
EMISSARIES by Stephen Foster and some Chinese guy, and they give LOTS of
info on growing and use.
       "Goji" is a name newly arrived here, some company is pushing them
and I suppose that will end in driving up the price.  I buy them in oriental
groceries, they are used in herbal teas but are also considered a tonic
food, so I just eat a handful on days I happen to think of it.  They are
sweet and tart and chewy.
   The bush has been described by one landscaper's book as "so ugly that it
should only be used to hide something uglier".      Donna


One Green World sells a named cultivar of wolfberry (same plant as "goji"),
but they say it is hardy to zone 6.  I have seen Lycium growing fairly well
as a wild plant in zone 3a, in poor soil, with about 12 inches of annual



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