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Author Topic: Goji Berry in the Tropics  (Read 507 times)

LivingParadise

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Goji Berry in the Tropics
« on: May 02, 2017, 01:07:11 PM »
I don't have time to post photos now, but thought I would share some surprising and happy news...

I bought Goji berry plants from Ken's Nursery just in I think it was Oct, and only 6 months later several of them are flowering and fruiting like crazy! They're such tiny little plants, but they seem healthy and don't seem to care how small they are. I was very concerned that they would not do well in these conditions, as most temperate plants don't - I have terrible high PH soil, salt in the soil, desert climate half the year, high temps, and vicious spider mite issues in the dry season... but even so, with nothing but minimal supplementary watering, these things fruited. They never had a freeze or much in the way of chill hours, so that is not necessary. They have very pretty purple flowers, so I can see them being grown just ornamentally, although I'm not sure how long it will take for them to get to any big size.

So flowered profusely, and some didn't flower at all though. All are in partial sun conditions. So I'm not sure the reason, although they get somewhat different amounts of sun, and at different times of the day...

I'm really hoping they make it through the intense heat and flooding of our wet season in the next few months. So I'm not bothering to slow down the fruiting for now of the vigorous ones, because who knows if they'll even be here next year...

I also have fruiting from another tiny plant from Ken's, which I lost the tag for so I'm not sure which plant it was. I think it was a Spondea though...? So that plant too is probably just a year old from seed or so. Overall most of those plants have been doing really well, plus I got them at great prices because I bought at the end of their season. Far better experience in every way from Top Tropicals, plus WAY cheaper. Like 1/4 of the price because I got everything in bulk, plus free shipping, plus on sale.

So I'll update with photos hopefully at some point when I have more time. I don't even know which Goji this is. I planted black goji seeds I got off an Amazon seller from China, but they never came up. I've planted 2 other plants in the past of red goji (I think it was barbarum?) but they never lasted through the summer the last time, and never reached the point of flowering. So I kind of thought it might be impossible down here.

Really looking forward to watching the fruit turn color and getting to taste them! Goji leaves are also extremely healthy and can be eaten raw or cooked. I hope at least one of these plants makes it through the summer and gets big enough so I can pick leaves regularly to eat, even when it's not fruiting...

So if you live in an area that never freezes, even if the conditions like mine are unfavorable for other reasons, consider giving goji a try. From the right supplier, you might still have good luck. I will try to update if it lives past this year. If we get a bad flood, I'm doubting it. But it might be a great candidate then to grow as an outdoor container plant, and then I can bring it in if it gets too hot or if a hurricane's a-comin'.

stuartdaly88

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Re: Goji Berry in the Tropics
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2017, 03:02:33 AM »
I love goji so much it's one of the few "super foods" that I actually notice a tangible effect on me, they are just darn expensive!

I've tried from seeds a bunch of times and the seedlings died:( so this year I bought a mature bush and it seems ok but I got it in Autumn and it seems like the heat and caterpillars are what killed my others so holding thumbs for after winter!

I think I read the leaves are edible too uncooked they seemed fine but slightly soapy maybe?

Gobi was a main dietary component of Li Ching-Yuen the famed double centurion(unconfirmed but he did live long! Claims are 250 years but I'm sure it's closer to 150)
Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.
-Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Capt Ram

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Re: Goji Berry in the Tropics
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2017, 07:46:04 PM »
Looking forward to an update!!
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LivingParadise

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Re: Goji Berry in the Tropics
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2017, 09:44:18 AM »
No time to take and upload pics still, but it is fruiting PROLIFICALLY! And I don't have to go out there and pollinate by hand either. I bagged the entire bush with netting because it's so tiny, and I don't want any pests to get to the fruit before me, and it seems to still be producing fruit even with limited access for pollinators - probably because the pollen the flowers make is plentiful, which I always prefer on a plant because they're so easy to fruit usually - it seems like it might be pollinating itself by the wind.

Turns out they are red goji. I tried a few (which thanks to my netting were still there waiting for me), and I might have tried them too early because they tasted like bell pepper - I'm used to dried ones, which taste sweeter. So I'm going to try to wait longer until they are older and a little wrinkly, and see if that makes them taste more fruity rather than vegetabl-y. :) I only had like 3, but did notice an improvement of circulation about 30 minutes later. Such things are noticeable on me though, because my body is profoundly ill. I look forward to eating the leaves in between berry crops, when the plant is big enough for me to be willing to risk it. The other tiny one I have that didn't flower, is now flowering too! But less, which may potentially be a function of less sun, or simply that the plant is smaller/weaker/younger (I bought them together, but this one is more of a runt than the other).

If they do end up dying due to heat or other factors, I think I will buy again from Ken's, and keep them in a pot. I'm thrilled that they seem pretty drought-tolerant, as well as tolerant of terrible soil, both of which are very important here in the Keys. So far very happy with my experience! [And that there are a number of other things around the yard that are starting to produce or grow really well, to offset the plants that are not! For the most part, all my Ken's stuff did really well, better than my Top Tropicals or Pine Island, or other local nursery stuff. They're surviving at almost the same rate of native plantings, which says a lot because this is a really harsh environment, and I planted them kind of late in the season when most of the rain was already over. I'm short of money and energy now, but when I have some more I will probably go broke again buying more! :) Got my eye on a bunch of stuff...]

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Re: Goji Berry in the Tropics
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2017, 10:14:13 AM »
I have heard that they like high pH. I had a plant growing really well here in Sarasota but the berries were small and never sweetened up. I recently pulled it out because I am short on space and I was working in that area. I probably should have kept it even if I mostly used the leaves. I have a feeling that they need to be grown out of the subtropics to get the large berries that you purchase dried in stores. The little flowers attracted a lot of pollinators.
-Josh

 

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