Black Goji

I have found so little information online about growing black goji I thought I would share my experience. I started seed last year from baker creek. I grew them in pots outside on the north side of my house but in full sun. Well draining soil. I got about 8 of 20 seeds to grow into plants. They dampen off easily but not as bad as red goji, I have not had as good success with red. I have them 10-10-10 once they got to about 6 inches. They took off and grew a foot or two each. They particularly liked the wettest part of the summer which I found funny for a desert plant but they do like water. I over wintered one outside, one in my house and the rest in my basement at about 40-55 degrees. They all survived but the ones in the basement did the best. I took cuttings from some and they easily rooted over the winter in the basement. When they came out in the spring I put some in the ground and a few I up potted. The potted ones have done the best I am guessing because I can adjust the water the easiest and can fertilize easily. I gave them 10-10-10 early on and a shot of ammonium sulfate after which they started to bud. I am happy to see all are flowering. I will update with the berries if all goes well.



Any updates?

It’s a year and a half later and there still isn’t a whole lot of information to be found on this plant. Is anyone else growing it?

I started some seeds a couple of months ago (that I got from Baker Creek in early winter 2019). They seem to be very easy to start from seed. I didn’t fuss over them at all.


I got tons of flowers last summer but no fruit. They grew very nicely but needed to stay out of the rain-they hate being wet.


Can these be put in the ground in zone 6?

Supposed to be able to do I put some in and kept some in a pot in my basement. I’ll know in a couple months.

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I have a Firecracker Goji that is now 6 years old. It took 5 years to establish itself. Got my first fruit last fall. Not very tasty for my taste. Will keep it anyway because having flowers (they are nice looking!) so late in the season around here (late October) is kind of a miracle… Marc

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Ok, that’s what I thought, but then I read, somewhere, that they were “dessert” plants. I am planning to plant most of mine outside in the spring, I think I will also stash a couple in an unheated hoop house and bring one inside for safe keeping. Please update this thread in the spring sometime. I’m really interested to know how the one you put in the ground did through all this (I’m assuming here) cold weather that we are having.

I have a red unnamed variety that I got from Gurneys 4 or 5 years ago. It fruits, but doesn’t like where I planted it so it’s very VERY small. I took cutting last spring, stuck them in my outdoor prop bed, and I believe that they rooted, so my plan is to plant transplant them this spring to a much happier spot on the property.

Yes, Gogi can take Kentucky winter…and can also take drought.
(But, the variety I had I couldn’t stand the taste!)

Yes, I know that Red Goji is fine in our zone, I have grown that for years now, but I can’t really find a whole lot of info on the Black Goji. I didn’t want to assume that it can grow in the same zone/climate because I know that it not always the case.

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I saw these in the Baker Creek catalog this year and was intrigued. I don’t have room for them, but I bought a pack anyway! They might live in pots as a few of you guys have had success so far. For the record, the scientific name appears to be Lycium Ruthenicum (I returned no results on the forum searching for this) as well as black wolfberry for another common name (as you all know if you bought Bakers Creek seed).

Mine have JUST started to sprout as of yesterday morning. I now have two little plants popping up. I started mine with a coconut coir/perlite base but then put fairly coarse sand (like the stuff from those yellow sand bags, not fine playground sand) on top and planted the seeds within the sand, with the assumption the roots will prefer the moisture in the coir to a full sand soil. I did leave the seeds overnight in warm water as stated on the seed packet, and some of them I added sand to the cup. I’ll keep updates on how things progress (or not). I am interested to hear about others who end up with fruit this year and your impressions!

Also- as they are supposed to be hardy to zone 5, did anyone overwinter successfully outside and did it make a difference vs your potted plants? I see @Rach was more successful with pots in the basement for year 1, but I’m wondering if they are hardy once established…


My outdoor plants seem to have overwintered fine in zone 6a. My potted ones look better however-they grew larger. They do like it very well draining. I got loads of blooms last year but no fruit. I’m thinking maybe they were too young. I’ll update later in the season. It’s so hard to find information on growing them, all the photos look like they are in desert or near desert conditions with drip lines.


Thanks for the update @Rach. It does seem like little collective knowledge is out there for these berries on the growing side of things. I bet there are sites out there with tons of information in different languages where black goji originated.


Last spring, I grew black goji from seed, and got yellow goji cuttings from EBay. They overwintered fine in the ground, zone 5. Still no flowers or fruit on any of them, but they are getting more twiggy branches. Neither variety has anywhere near the vigor of the red gojis that I grew from cuttings the previous year. Maybe next year I’ll be able to try the fruit.

In China and Russia, “black goji” (Lycium ruthenicum) is referred to as “black fruit wolfberry”. It is planted in some areas for erosion control but the last time the USDA checked it is not used for human food. In the U.S. the plant is considered a noxious weed and banned by some states. All the stories you see in advertising are just creative marketing by greedy seed companies.

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Early this year I bought a no name variety for my zone 4. My understanding is that the named varieties are hardy to zone 5 but the mutts are good for way lower temperatures than that. I made cuttings out of the trimmings and got five rotted and currently putting green growth.

My understanding is that besides the marketing hoopla they are nutritionally dense but tastes like crap fresh. They contain a number of compounds that are considered to have healing qualities.

Seaberries are similar in the sense that they are not exactly tasty but are pretty much a multivitamin.

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I saw this elsewhere:

“Goji berries aren’t very sweet until after 3 years of fruit producing. Until you have a 3 year old vine the berries taste more like tomatoes. I always leave mine on the vine until a light freeze.”

I planted a golden and a stardust this year. Both just started growing like weeds as the temperature rises. I doubt I’ll see fruit for at least another year or two. Both of my plants were gallon size upon planting. I’m not expecting a delicious berry per se’ but hopefully at least a semi palatable one. Otherwise medicinal use at best.