Wolfberries / Goji Berries/ KAU KEE Plant

I came across this post by Eddie Chua on October 17 2015, in our Facebook group, “SG Farming in Apartments” about his Goji stem cutting that has rooted in water.

As my mother loves Goji berries, I like to find out more about this plant!

How to grow a wolfberry or Goji berry tree from cutting

Goji Berries and Kau Kee Chai (Photo: CN Herb)

There are 2 ways to grow this hardy perennial plant.

  1. By Seeds : Angie Wong, a member at Singapore Urban Gardening group (Facebook), shared how she germinated from Eu Yang Sang’s dried berries. Taken from the fridge, these were cut open for the seeds inside, and sowed directly on wet tissues.
    Grow goji berries

    Angie Wong  chose the plumpest ones from Eu Yang Sang’s dried berries.

    Goji berries seedlings

    Angie Wong – 6 days to germinate. These seedlings were 9 days old

  2. By Stem Cutting ( Eddie’s instructions : strip the stem of big leaves, cut the stem down and soak in water until roots appear)

For this Wolfberry/ Goji berry or Kau Kee trials, I begged Regina Fok who lived in USA, to share her observations with me . 🙂 I wanted to see if winter chill is a factor required for this plant to bear berries. And hence, our rooting trials began in 2 countries in 2015.

Regina Fok’s Goji Berry Plant began in October 2015, in USA

Grow a goji berry tree from stem cutting

Oct 2015 – Regina Fok’s goji berry stems rooting in water

How to grow wolfberry plant from cutting

Regina Fok ‘s stem cutting has rooted in water

After her stem cuttings rooted in water, Regina Fok planted them in soil and they over wintered indoor in pots. The plants did not faced the full elements of winter as young plants.

Gojiberry Wolfberry from cutting

May 10 2016 – Roots have outgrew the pot over the winter

Gojiberry from cutting

May 2016 – Regina Fok’s cutting planted in the ground once spring arrived!

Grow gojiberries from cutting

Gojiberries, Wolfberries flower buds seen on Regina’s plant (USA)

Grow wolfberry plant

June 4 2016 – Regina’s plant flowered once its in the ground!

Gojiberries and wolfberries from cutting

October 2016 – Regina’s plants bore fruits!

Grow goji or Wolfberries

Nov 11 2016 – Vigorous grower!

Grow goji or Wolfberries

Nov 12 2016 – Not the first harvest!

Regina Fok’s plants did not need much care. In fact, she almost forgotten about these plants in her garden, until she chanced upon them in October 2016, while clearing her garden for winter. For all her neglect, she was surprised to see the plants had grown well and even fruiting without adding fertilizers!

Grow goji or Wolfberries

Minimum care for hardy wolfberries plants!

Grow goji or Wolfberries

How wolfberries grow on plants!

My wolfberry plants’ journey began on December 26 2015 in Singapore

Grow wolfberry or gojiberry from Cutting

Trimmed off Kau Kee (wet market in Toa Payoh) leaves and cut the stems shorter before rooting in water

How to grow Goji berry from cutting

Jan 6 2016 – Kau Kee /Goji berry/ Wolfberry cutting rooted in water (11days)

I learned from gardeners in Singapore that this plant can be planted in soil directly without roots, and decided to do a comparative study on how having roots affect a plant’s growth.

Wolfberries from rooting

Plants with more roots mass will grow faster (PlantB)

Feb 10 2016 – Plant A

Grow Wolfberry or Gojiberry from Kau Kee cutting

Feb 10 2016 – Plant B had more leaves and was taller

Conclusion  – For any stem cutting that had “rooted”, it is best to  plant in soil  when there were good “roots mass” seen. This basically mean a lot of white new roots in layman terms! 🙂 These plants would be stronger in faster time when they are planted in soil than those with less roots.

What happened when we just cut stems and plant in soil without roots?

Grow wolfberry plant from cutting

Stems cutting planted without roots did not have as many leaves as Plant A and B. Planted much earlier than A & B but still lagging behind in growth!

Gojiberry or kau kee from cutting

May 30 2016 – Leaves bud is thicker than flower bud…hopes dashed! Likely need to winter this pot to see flowers!

These outdoor pots used own made compost from kitchen green waste, as they were too expensive to fill otherwise. Zero commercial fertilizers as I wanted a natural edibles garden as much as possible.

Happy to share how the flowers begin their journey! 🙂

Grow Wolfberries, gojiberries

October 30 2016 – First flower bud seen

Grow wolfberries, gojiberries or kau kee

Dec 04 2016 – More buds on the way

Grow Wolfberry or Gojiberries

Feb 01 2017 – Flowers and berries

Grow wolfberry from kau kee cutting

Jan 10 2017 – Lots of flowers but berries are still green

wolfberry flowers

Feb 28 2017

Grow Wolfberry and Gojiberries

Feb 01 2017 – plants continue to flower

Grow wolfberries, gojiberries from cutting

Dec 10 2016 – Isn’t this cute? Just before the flower bloom fully.

Grow Wolfberry or Gojiberry from Kau Kee Cutting

Feb 17 2017

Grow wolfberries, gojiberries from cutting

Dec 12 2016 – more flowers bloom at the same time

Grow gojiberries, Kau Kee, Wolberries

November 11 2016 – Flower coming out from bud.

Grow wolfberries , gojiberries and kau kee

SG Kau Kee Flowers – Do they look the same as Regina’s USA wolfberries flowers?

Grow wolfberries, gojiberries from cutting

Dec 12 2016 – Not the same shade of purple in the flowers

Wolfberry from Kau Kee cutting

Jan 11 2017

Grow wolfberries, gojiberries from cutting

After the flower bloom, the petals turned dried and dropped off

Wolfberry or Gojiberry fruiting stages

February 25 2017 – Fruiting begin

Wolfberries FRUITING stages –

Grow wolfberry and gojiberries from cutting

Jan 27 2017 – Small green berries first after flowers self pollinated

Grow gojiberry n wolfberry in Singapore

March 24 2017 – It took about 4 months from green berries stage to fully ripen red state.

Growing wolfberry or gojiberries in Singapore

February 28 2017 – Vigorous fruiting, heat tolerant

Grow wolfberries, gojiberries from cutting

A green berry gaining weight finally! Hopefully they turned red soon

Grow wolfberry or Gojiberry from cutting

Jan 19 2017

Grow Wolfberry or Goji Cutting

Jan 31 2017 – Slowly but surely, the berries are turning red (been 5 months since it was a small berry)

Grow Wolfberry or Gojiberry from Kau Kee Cutting

Wolfberry

Grow wolfberry and gojiberry

Feb 18 2017 – Fresh Wolfberry is Juicy! 🙂

Grow Wolfberry or Gojiberries

Feb 01 2017 – Gifted my mom with the first berry.

Seeds Journey – our seeds were harvested from our plants and sowed on February 18 2017. Out of 3 seeds from above fruit, only two germinated on February 28 (10 days) . Another learning opportunity has began!

Grow wolfberry or gojiberry

Feb 18 2017 – Sowing seeds from our fresh wolfberry

Grow wolfberry or gojiberry

February 28 2017 – Germinated !!

Grow wolfberry or gojiberry from seeds

March 1 2017 – hopefully a strong plant

Germinating fresh Wolfberry seed

Length of germinated seed is about 2 cm. Roots had not emerged.

Grow wolfberry or gojiberry from seeds

March 26 2017 – 2 days to 1 month old seedling!

Growing wolfberry or gojiberries in Singapore

June 04 2017 – seedling grows very fast

Growing wolfberry or gojiberries in Singapore

June 04 2017 – Seedling planted in outdoor garden

What happened after fruiting? 

Growing wolfberry or gojiberry in Singapore

Renewal 🙂

Leaves will drop until the whole plant is devoid of leaves. Some fruits still remained until they too dried on the stem. However the plant can renew itself without human intervention. Somehow, they will find a way! 🙂

Growing wolfberry or gojiberry in Singapore

June 10 2017 – New growth on the woody stem

Growing wolfberry or gojiberry in Singapore

New shoot

AUGUST 2017 – Flowers and Fruits on its own without much human aid. These are very hardy plants, drought resistant and did not need fertilizer.

Grow wolfberries in Singapore

August 04 – Flowers spotted

Grow wolfberries in Singapore

August 05 – New berries spotted

Reflection on parent plants’ journey in 2015 – Looking back now I was amazed by how much the plants grow ! The cuttings showed roots after 11 days, on January 06 2016 (started on December 26 2015) . These were how they looked on the first day of being planted, a short stalk with few leaves! Tip – Need to be individually potted in wide and deep pot or best grounded! 

Grow Wolfberry or Gojiberry from Kau Kee cutting

January 13 2016 – Journey to find answers began!

Grow goji or Wolfberries

Nov 11 2016 – Pruned it often to encourage a bushier growth

Grow wolfberries, gojiberries or kau kee

Dec 04 2016 – DIY a steel cage to support the plant, else the stems keep flopping to the ground

Grow wolfberry or gojiberry from cutting

Jan 31 2017 –  Plant B , tied long stems to the steel frame

Wolfberry from Kau Kee cutting

Jan 20 2017 – This steel frame work well to support the plant

Grow Wolfberry or Gojiberry from Kau Kee cutting

Jan 17 2017 – Plant A, slower to flower

Grow Wolfberry or Gojiberry from Kau Kee Cutting

Feb 17 2017 – Plants are grown in own compost from kitchen green waste and dried leaves.

Neglect may be the key to get it to flower, meaning don’t harvest as often when its near the one year mark. Let the stems get woody. These plants are best grown in the ground, but if this is not possible, in the biggest pot you can find. 🙂

CONCLUSION KAU KEE is wolfberry.

It took 10 months from cutting to see flowers.

5 months from successful (natural) pollination to full red berry stage.

The taste of fresh wolfberry is medicinal and texture is seedy. 🙂

The Berries of Goji and Kau Kee Plants:

Both the berries and the leaves are edible.

It is considered a good herb for improving eye sight .

The berries are often sold in dried form like these :

 

Fresh goji berries

March 7 – Annie Lim from Perth, Australia, shared picture of fresh goji berries from her garden

Annie Lim from Perth, Australia, said her Goji berry plant grew like weeds in her garden. They are about a meter high and potted instead of in the ground. Some support would be required when there are fruits, otherwise they will bend over. This is a hardy plant, no matter how much was pruned, this plant would rebound even more.

This plant is hardy as it can tolerates winter temperature, summer heat and drought condition. It is also a native plant of Tibet.

Fresh everlasting wolfberries on tree:

Fresh wolfberries on tree

This is what Gojiberries and wolfberries tree look like! Thanks to Ms. Peck (USA), I finally get to see one

Grow wolfberries

Potted Gojiberry plant in Perth Australia (Annie Lim)

Annie Lim also shared that this plant loved the sun and should be able to thrive in Singapore.

How to prepare Gojiberry/ Wolfberry/ Kau Kee stems for Propagating –

  1. Stripped off leaves and mind the thorns while handling this stem
  2. Trim down the length of the stem
  3. Place stems in water until roots appeared (In Singapore’s experiment, about 11 days)
Grow Wolfberry

Regina Fok preparing her Goji berry stems for propagation

 

The leaves are sold in supermarkets and Singapore wet markets. It is good to know the Chinese name for this plant : 枸杞菜   (Ms. Wisteria Lesley ,Urban Farmers Singapore, November 5 2015, said the proper name of this vegetables is this. Package one was wrongly typed ! )

Grow gojiberry plants from stems

Goji berry stems in Singapore are sold like this or fresh stem cutting in markets. People used the leaves for soup

The leaves are often cooked as a nourishing soup with pork and beaten egg :

The leaves have a smooth silky texture when its cooked.

The leaves have a smooth silky texture after its cooked.

Ms. Regina Fok, who is  based in USA and I will be sharing our data on this progress.

It would be interesting to find out if  winter is a factor in producing berries for this plant.

Answer one year later (2016)  – Winter is not a factor for flowers ! 🙂

Information :

  • Full Sun
  • Water well during hot weather and after transplant
  • 10 – 12 inches soil depth
  • Wide pot to give its roots some room, but best in ground with compost.
  • Matured plant is 8 to 10 feet tall

 

 

7 thoughts on “Wolfberries / Goji Berries/ KAU KEE Plant

  1. Hi, Victoria.
    I am Lee from Indonesia.
    I have been interesting to grow a wolfberry / goji berry by my self.
    But I cannot find any place in Indonesia that sell goji berry trees.
    Well some of the nurseries do sell seeds, but I prefer to grow it from small trees,
    it would be excellent to grow it starting from small trees that is propagated from cutting or grafting or air layering.
    Could you provide me some information about how to get goji berry trees?
    Is there any nursery in Singapore or Malaysia that sell this tree ?
    I saw there are some nursery in US or Australia that sell goji berry tree, but
    if I can buy from Singapore or Malaysia, it would be faster because it’s much
    nearer, and the shipping cost would surely be cheaper.
    Thank’s before.

    Sincerely,

    Lee

    • Hi,

      Its very hard from seeds. I have been trying to germinate goji seeds from Tibet, and still nothing is happening. From my experience, cutting from live plant is easier (as shown in my blog), and yet it still take a year to flower. I will wait a bit before letting you know if I can sell you cutting because my berries have not turned red yet. There are posts in my group about plants available for sale in Malaysia. You may like to check in Facebook, “SG Farming in Apartments”, “Urban Farmers Singapore” etc for such posts. I can also get you in touch with friends who may be selling these plants.

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