Growing Goji Berry Plants – Your Guide on Goji Berries in UK Gardens

They seem like an exotic import, but growing goji berry plants in the UK is very achievable. They’re the latest ‘must have’ miracle berry in celebrity circles. Said to banish cellulite, boost your immune system, contain more vitamin C than oranges and more iron than steak, this Himalayan berry is quite a catch.

goji berry plants - image of dried berries
Despite originating in the Himalayas, Goji Berry plants can easily be grown in the UK.

There’s one problem with regularly eating Goji Berries, they’re very expensive to buy. Good news then, that these little red berries can be grown in the UK’s climate easily, and you can eat piles of fresh goji berries from your very own plant throughout the summer months by growing just a few small bushes.

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About Goji Berry Plants

Goji berry plants are deciduous, hardy, and have heightened in popularity over recent years. This popularity has a lot to do with celebs swearing by goji berries to reduce their cellulite and boost their overall health. They are easy to grow too – even for amateur gardeners with not much experience to call upon. Goji berries can be eaten raw straight from the tree, made into smoothies, brewed in teas, or added to breakfast dishes.

By year two of planting your goji bush, you can expect to see fruit growing on it – up to a kilo of it. That’s a lot of berries in a young tree! You can expect the biggest yield in around the fourth year. These Himalayan plants are tough in winter and produce lovely white or purple flowers in early summer. By the autumn time these berries are ready to harvest and provide spectacular colour in any garden. These bushes can reach heights of around 3 metres.

Growing your own goji berries is not only kinder to your wallet; it’s kinder to the environment too. They are now commercially grown in China, Mongolia and Tibet. The food miles involved in shipping them over to health shops in the UK are quite substantial, so if you have room for a bush or two in your garden or on your balcony, there will be a wealth of benefits involved.

How to Grow Goji Berries

Once established, goji berry plants are incredibly easy to grow. They’ll grow in almost any type of soil, and can even thrive in poor soil, as they are used to the mountainous regions in the Himalayas. They are reasonably drought-tolerant, and will even grow in partial shade (though you’ll get more berries from them if you grow them in full sun).

You can grow them from seed, or buy them as young plants. Buying young plants is far easier, as goji berry seeds are prone to rot in the compost and you’re less likely to get good results. The seedlings also need to be kept in warm conditions for 12 months, so for practical reasons, buying young plants is the more sensible option.

Once they’re a year old, however, they are perfectly winter hardy. Unchecked, they grow into a thick bush that reaches up to three metres tall, with vines that can grow to nearly four metres. If regularly pruned, they will form attractive small bushes that produce more berries as a result.

How Long Do Goji Berries Take To Grow?

When your plants first arrive it is likely they will just look like bare twigs with some roots on. Don’t worry, this is normal. If planted straight away and watered well they will grow leaves within two-three weeks.

How To Plant Goji Berry Bushes

Despite being very easy to grow, it’s a good idea to follow a few simple tips to give your plants the best possible start in your garden. This will maximise yields and speed up the process of getting your first berry harvest.

  • Dig a hole around 50cm deep and wide and place the goji berry plant in it.
  • Firm the soil around the plant and water well.
  • Leave about 1m between plants and mulch the area around the stems with leafmoluld or garden compost to keep the soil moist and well-nourished.
  • You can even grow the bushes into a goji berry hedge; simply plant them 1m apart in a straight line.

When To Plant Goji Berries

You can plant your goji bush in early spring when most of the cold harsh weather has dispersed. They are a hardy plant but it’s wise to plant young bushes once the frost has gone.

Where To Plant Goji Berries

Your goji bush will thrive in a sunny and sheltered spot although they can also tolerate some shade. They prefer well-drained soil, preferably with added mulch.

Pruning & Training Goji Plants

You have a few options when it comes to growing goji berries. You can grow them in containers, straight into the ground, or you can train yours to grow as a hedge.

To prune your plant, you should remove any dead or damaged branches so all energy is focused on growing the healthy ones. Pruning the stems themselves will encourage a healthy yield and will also allow more light to enter the bush.

When To Harvest Your Goji Berry Plant

Goji berries are ready to pick when the fruit is a deep red colour – usually late summer and throughout autumn. You can turn the berries black when handling so keen gardeners prefer to shake the berries onto a sheet placed under the bush.

After two years the bushes will start to fruit, and from four years you’ll start to get very heavy yields. In early summer the bushes will produce small, delicate, trumpet-shaped flowers that will be either white or purple. Both coloured flowers can feature on one plant, so they provide visual interest before the berry production begins.

The berries will begin to set in autumn. The ripe fruit are sweet and juicy and almost shiny in appearance. The flowers will continue to bloom right up until the first frosts, however, so your plants will be red, white and purple throughout late summer and autumn.

They are beautiful to have in your garden, delicious, nutritious, and cheap and easy to grow. If you want health-boosting berries on tap you should consider investing in a goji berry bush or two.

Growing Goji Berries in Pots

You will need to choose the correct sized container if you opt for a pot-grown goji plant. You will need one with a diameter of at least 18 inches and it needs to have drainage holes in the bottom. Ideally, you should feed with a fertiliser regularly during its growing season.

Goji Berry Plant FAQ’s

How Fast Will Goji Berries Grow?

You will have fruit growth after two years of planting which is pretty remarkable. By year 4 you will have an abundance of berries.

Are Goji Berries Self Pollinating?

Goji berries are self-fertile so only one plant is needed for pollination to occur. If you do plant more than one don’t plant them too close together as they spread well.

When Do Goji Berries Flower?

Goji berries will flower during the early summer months where you will see trumpet-shaped flowers in white or purple. Some plants produce both white and purple which look stunning.

How to Grow Goji Berries From Seed?

It’s advisable to avoid growing goji berries from seed as they often fall victim to rotting in the soil. If you do decide to attempt seed growing then start the process indoors.

How To Grow Goji Plants From Cuttings

You can take softwood cuttings during the summer months or hardwood cuttings during the winter months. Cuttings should be at least 4 inches long and each cutting should have at least three sets of leaves. The ends should be dipped in a rooting hormone and then potted and wrapped in a plastic bag. They should be placed in a well-lit room with plenty of natural light and intermittently remove the bag. Plants should be grown indoors over their first winter.

How Often To Water a Goji Berry Plant?

Goji berry plants should be watered thoroughly but they don’t need watering every day. Some mulch helps to retain moisture.

34 thoughts on “Growing Goji Berry Plants – Your Guide on Goji Berries in UK Gardens

  1. EcoMaster says:

    Do not even consider growing this invasive ‘weed’ from China. It has an ultra strong root system which is exceptionally difficult to control..( In the U.K.)It also bears very few fruit for the space taken up. Also it has no visual beauty ..Better to use fruit grown in its natural Himalayan home.

  2. Kev says:

    Hi, i have a Goji bush planted it after its first year, post 3 years its been in the ground now. was not growing much (3ft ) so i deemed the soil to be too acidic so last year i added ash from my log burner this year its grown massively now stands approx 7ft and is 4ft wide. last year it fruited late wasn`t much on it, being the first year of fruiting so i did not worry about having little fruit, or the fact that it flowered very very late on (last week of july). This year however its done the same (flowering wise wasn`t till July the 2nd it started flowering again. i have lots of flowers (buds still continuing to open) and have fruit growing out of the ones that have pollinated ..but it seems very late on to me …first gojij i have grown so not sure if this is normal in North Wales UK near the coast… any ideas or opinions appreciated

  3. King John says:

    I have a gogi berry bush which is about 6 yrs old and 3m high. It flowers in Aug/Sept which is a bit late. It ripens about 6 fruits if I am lucky, they are orange in color and taste horrible unless I let them dry out on the bush and then they taste sweet. Is my problem my particular variety. I mainly keep it because my peacocks love to eat the leaves.Is there a better variety that I can get?

  4. Dekzion says:

    We’ve had the standard red Goji for years, it’s in full sun, just one plant, never gets pruned (unless there’s bits sticking out and get in your face) and it always produces fruit from early spring it produces flowers which the little wood bumble bee loves and then it just gets on with it. we can crop a tablespoon full at least once a week to add to salads and its a constant race to beat the Robin to the fruit! I’ve got some ‘Black Pearl’ seedlings up and going indoors at the moment, they are showing secondary leaf growth so lets hope we get some early spring weather to spur them on.

  5. Aron says:

    Will some one pls pls answer the questions left here. I’m new to this and just had a small bush delivered it looks like twigs. When do I start feeding it and when can I put it outside. I live in the north of England (Newcastle upon Tyne) Thank you on advance for any help

  6. M says:

    Bought 3 Goji berry young plants last year and they grew a little. However the leaves started to curl inwards and most of the leaves fell off. I also noticed some greyish mould before the leaves dropped. This year, before they came into leaf, I removed them from their pots, washed the roots thoroughly and repotted in fresh pots and compost. They are now leafing up well but again have started showing signs of leaf curl. Any suggestions?

  7. Topsie says:

    Hi there I planted 2 plants two years ago and spot on with your info they’ve rehired this year!! Hooray. Quick question….when and by how much do I prune them? Thank you

  8. Cristobal says:

    I bought three plants from amazon. Gave one to the father in law. Planted two in large pots. They shot up to two metres in a matter of weeks. Leafy plants had to be straightened with canes. After three months I had a small amount of fruit and some purple flowers. Leaves gone now for winter. Hopefully bear some fruit next year.

  9. Sandra says:

    I’ve had a bush in my garden for some time. I bought it as a goji berry however the berries look more like black berries -round dark red/ black. The leaves on the bush turn a lovely shade of red in the autumn. I’ve had fruit on the bush for several years but this is the first year I’ve managed to pick before local wild life gets it. I’m worried that it’s not a goji berry or may not be edible can anyone help?

  10. Pbeatts says:

    I have found that goji Berry like the same as clematis. Head in the sun, but feet in the shade. Some of my goji plants failed when placed fully in the sun, but none died when the roots we’re shaded from the sun, but the plant itself was in full sun.

  11. Felicity says:

    My bushes are into year 5 .massive growth they stayed in full leaf all through winter.sent out long thin stems some with mild spikes on.not a single berry but last year I thought they had a couple of mauve ish coloured small flowers on .they are growing very tall and spindly should I cut back hard now ?

  12. Felicity says:

    My plants have gone mad they are very fast growing and put out long thin branches or stems with plenty of growth .going into year 5 now still not a single fruit at all.plants stayed in full leaf all through the winter .they are growing again new shoots everywhere .should I cut back hard now ?

  13. Jan Lee says:

    My goji berry started flowering last year (4yrs old), all flowers were so tiny and the fruits were the size of toothpicks. Will the fruits get bigger or should I get rid of the berry plant? Thanks for your advice.

  14. Mort says:

    UK here I have grown for 4 years and plants have gone mad and produced really long vine like stems, tied into metal rods and they get bigger and bigger, few flowers but no fruit. Mild winter this year and new growth already showing, cutting back hard because they are all across allotment next to me. will keep you upto date if they ever fruit.

  15. Mike B-R says:

    I live in East Lothian in Scotland. I tried with seeds first and though they germinated would die within 6 weeks. I got 30cm rooted cuttings this spring and planted them in my fruit cage beside my raspberry plants. 6 months later they are 3 mts tall and still growing so have tied them in like the raspberry canes. Not flowers yet, but they are certainly happy otherwise. Watch this space.

  16. Katie says:

    My gogi berry is in 2nd year. No berries yet but just started blooming late August. I live in Michigan. It sends out new shoots underground that pip up all over the garden. It is a nuisance. How can I control the plant.

  17. Don says:

    I also was informed that Goji plants are easy to grow. This is totally untrue. I have purchased 12 + Goji berry plants. I have 6 still remaining. I’ve tried different locations, same result. There are all in full sun. I bought plants from different suppliers, bought three year old roots, two year old roots. Some grow a little for first year then die. I mulch, I have fertilized. There is plenty of water. My first plant grew to about three feet tall the first year and it is now three years later and it is still three feet tall, no berries and always looks like it is ready to die. At this rate I may have berries in 10 years or so. Someone is not telling the truth.

    • Ruth says:

      @Don – There is obviously something your plants do not like, as I have grown a few with some success. However, I’ve never had a massive crop. I know they are quite sensitive to other pollutants such as chemical fertilisers etc. Or perhaps it is the unreliable English climate which isn’t doing them any favours. I find it difficult to grow all manner of plants that should grow here, I have never had any success with lavender despite doing EVERYTHING by the book. Sometimes you just can’t win.

  18. NMarie says:

    I have repeatedly read not to fertilize the Goji. Mine are two years old and have not grown. Some have died. Others have lost leaves – we had a very wet June so it isn’t lack of water – if anything they might be depleted on Nitrogen. I have no idea how to get them growing and would like a suggestion

  19. Nimby says:

    I am determined to do this Goji thing,after three years at it. I have two large plants (2m) outside. one is the eldest and threatens constantly with white mildew,and has only ever shown one flower. The other has just been moved out of the greenhouse,having come from Victorian Nursery and grown like mad. One more of theirs is left in the green house,and doing fine – I have now stopped watering them persistently and they don’t seem to mind. I have also purchased seeds from Suttons,which are now germinating in a propagator. Finally I have cuttings on the go everywhere,m,oct of which seem to be OK. So from all these options I hope to get more than a flower by next year. I am in the Highlands but near the Moray Coast – so the eldest will be spending Winter outside….

  20. Kjc says:

    Hi. My Goji Berry plant, in its first year looked beautiful in its pot in full sun and produced lots of flowers but one berry. Last year, I moved the plant to a bigger pot and half shade – it didn’t like that much. So earlier this year, I pruned it, planted it in the ground in the full sun. It seemed very happy, grew tall and produced lots of lovely fresh branches and leaves. Since then, all the leaves have dropped off, and it has only one remaining branch with lots of still fresh leaves on, but looking like they’re about to drop off. What shall I do? Prune it right back and start again?

  21. Sofia says:

    Hi, Nice day,dear friend Hope this e-mail find you well, -:) This is Sofia Liu,a lovely girl from Yinchuan,Ningxia,we are the first manufacturer export Organic Goji berries for 17years. After saw your website,I thought you might be interested in our Goji berries . would you like to get some samples for testing , my friend ? We still have many other models, i can send you our more information if it’s okay for you, dear friend -:) I’m here waiting for your reply-:)

  22. Gnomes says:

    My gojiberry has just produced its first fruit! It’s in its fifth year (possibly held back a year as I moved it off my allotment) and I didn’t think it would bare any fruit. I did not even notice it had flowers! I had plans to pull it out this weekend..l so my advice is to persevere with yours, I cut mine back hard in the early spring as it was getting too big and unmanageable, this probably did it some good. Though only a small crop this year I am hoping for more in future years.

  23. permiegreen says:

    I have had my Goji berry bush for 7 years, I have had flowers from late august every year, however tjis is the first year I have had berries 😀 I have to admit to jumping round the garden when I saw the 8 or 9 fruits it has produced. 🙂

  24. Eb61 says:

    Having read all the comments on this forum, I have come to the conclusion that we can grow goji in the UK but unless you live in the Scottish highlands, the correct conditions for fruiting are not met. My plant is about 8 years old now, sometimes flowers, but never fruits. It grows rampantly, and gets pruned regularly, otherwise it would outgrow its plot. Am resigned to having a pleasant plant in my veggie patch, with prunings that I can use instead of fruit!

    • Fruit Expert says:

      @Eb61 – You should be able to grow them to fruit in the UK too. But they will not tolerate heavy, wet soil. The best advice is to plant in free-draining soil using garden compost or manure and feed in spring with general plant fertiliser. For an abundant crop, plant in full sun and apply a fertilizer formulated for flowering woody plants in early spring, just as new growth begins. Perhaps you could experiment with another plant in a different part of the garden to see if it produces fruit, even though you’ll have to wait a couple of years to see if it’s worked. Good luck.

  25. Dorie says:

    I have three 2-year-old wolfberry/gojiberry roots that I bought this August from Phoenix Tears Nursery. Within 6-7 weeks of planting, they had put out 16-24″ stems loaded with buds that are now beginning to open. I planted them together in a raised bed. We have alkaline soil, which they like, and I topped off the beds with a local (North Texas) bagged topsoil that has a pH of 7.5-8. I have kept them watered – no potting soil and no fertilizer.

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