The Goumi berry grows on a tree/shrub that reaches up to 10 feet in height, generally a tad smaller. Once the shrub reaches maturity it produces prolific batches of berries, more than the average family could ever eat fresh.
The berries are juicy and somewhat tart when picked at the peak of perfection. If eaten unripe or over ripe they taste terrible. As there is only a short window of opportunity for harvesting these berries some growers leave a lot for the birds, but the more frugal gardener preserves them in pastries, pies, jelly and jam, fruit leathers and so on. The berries are not true berries they are actually stone fruits much like a cherry. It has a single central pit which is also edible.
In its native Asia it is sometimes grown in orchards with other fruits as it makes an excellent companion plant being a nitrogen fixer, similar to beans and legumes.
Goumi is not always self pollinating and at least two should be planted to ensure pollination and genetic diversity for higher quality fruit. You can get by with just one as it is not always self pollinating also means it is sometimes self pollinating, basically would you like your glass half full or half empty ?
It is not very particular so far as soil goes and will grow in most soil types. It will also tolerate saline conditions so does well near salt water and seaside locations. It is also drought tolerant.
It can be grown from soft wood cuttings or seed in addition to purchase of a sapling. If planning on growing Goumi from seed be advised that it requires cold stratification of 8-12 weeks or germination will more than likely fail.
Botanical name: Eleagnus multiflora
USDA Zones 6-9
Full Sun but will tolerate partial shade
Soil pH 5 – 8
Bears Fruit in 2 – 4 years.
Maximum yield begins at 4 -5 years and gradually declines after roughly a decade.
Flowers in spring and bears fruit in mid summer
Fragrant blossoms attract Pollinators
Harvest in Late Summer
Storage: Poor storage qualities, should be used fresh or preserved. See: Jelly and Preserves and / or Goumi Berry Recipes from SweetAire Farms
This shrub can become invasive once established. New shoots will grow continuously near the plants base which have the capacity to grow into new trees. Unharvested berries left over winter are also know to produce new ‘volunteer’ plants and are also spread by wildlife.