- Growing kiwi fruit: It’s easier than you think
- Tips for Growing Kiwi Fruit
- How to grow a kiwi plant from seed
- Semi-Tropical, Hardy and Super-Hardy Kiwis
- Cultural Requirements for Kiwis
- Kiwis are Dioecious
- Feeding Kiwis
- Staking Kiwi Vines
- Pruning Kiwi Vines
- Harvesting Kiwi Fruits
- Growing Hardy Kiwi Vine In The Garden
- Hardy Kiwi Growing Tips
- Growing Kiwi Fruit – How to Grow Kiwi Fruit
- How to Grow Kiwi Fruit – A Guide to Growing Kiwi Fruit
- Further Information on Kiwi Fruit
- How to Grow Kiwi Plant in a Pot
- How to Grow Kiwi Plants in Pots
- Planting Kiwi Berry Vines
- In This Series
Growing kiwi fruit: It’s easier than you think
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Do you enjoy growing fruit? Perhaps you have a few blueberry bushes, a handful of strawberry plants, or some apple trees and you’re looking to expand your garden’s offerings? Consider growing kiwi fruit.
While you may be picturing the brown fuzzy kiwis you find at the grocery store, those aren’t the kiwi fruits I’m talking about. Grocery store kiwis (Actinidia chinensis) are native to southern Asia and they don’t survive temperatures lower than 10 degrees F. But, hardy kiwis (Actinidia arguta) are native to northern China and Russia and can survive temperatures as low as -25 degrees F. And, best of all, hardy kiwi fruits do not have to be peeled! Their skin is beautiful and smooth, so they can go straight from the plant into your mouth. They taste much like their fuzzy-fruited cousins, but I find hardy kiwi to be sweeter and far more enjoyable to eat.
You may think that growing kiwi fruit is challenging, but I’m here to tell you it is one of the easiest fruits to grow, if you keep these few things in mind.
Related post: Growing organic apples with fruit bagging
Tips for Growing Kiwi Fruit
- Variety selection is everything. Most hardy kiwi varieties are hardy from USDA zones 5-9, but if you live where it gets very cold in the winter, your best bet is to plant Russian selections like ‘Natasha’, ‘Tatyana’, and ‘Ananasnaja’ (a favorite for its aromatic fruit and extremely productive nature). These Russian varieties are said to be hardy all the way down to -35 degrees F! Other good varieties for growing kiwi fruit just about anywhere include ‘Michigan State’, a larger fruited, hardy variety that I love, and ‘Ken’s Red’ which bears sweet-flavored fruits with reddish-plum colored skin.
- The fruits are smaller than the fuzzy kiwis at the grocery store. The green fruits of hardy kiwis are only slightly larger than a grape, but they’re produced prolifically. Expect dozens of one to two inch long fruits to be produced within three or four years of planting. The best production occurs when the vines are about eight years old, and you can expect them to produce for forty years or more.
- Only female vines produce fruits. Hardy kiwis are dioecious, meaning male and female flowers are borne on separate plants. So, for growing kiwi fruit, you’ll need to plant one male vine for every eight or nine female vines. Since vines are vegetatively propagated, the vines will be “sexed” when you purchase them.
- Hardy kiwis are fast growing (like, seriously fast!). You’ll need a sturdy pergola or trellis to support the growing vines. Each one can grow up to 40 feet tall!
- Growing kiwi fruit means you’ll also be growing fragrant flowers. The flowers, which appear in early summer, are small and white. Their fragrance is similar to lily of the valley. The fruits continue to mature all summer long and are ready to harvest in late fall.
Kiwi vines also have beautiful, fragrant flowers.
- When growing kiwi fruit, site the vines in full sun. Try to find a location that’s protected from late spring frosts that might damage newly emerged spring growth. Space vines about ten to twelve feet apart, on center. Make sure they’re regularly watered until established.
- Pruning is a must. For many people growing kiwi fruit, pruning is the most challenging task. The vines must be pruned with a sharp pair of high-quality pruners when they’re dormant in the winter, and again two or three times throughout the summer. In winter, prune out any branches that produced fruit the previous season, as well as any dead or crossed branches. The one-year-old branches produce the most fruit, so don’t prune them out, instead trim them back to the eighth node up from the base of the plant (the nodes look like little nubs along the branch). These nodes will push out new fruiting spurs in the spring. Summer pruning involves removing any long, arching vines that extend beyond the developing fruits. Any non-flowering vines that extend off the trellis can be removed in the summer as well.
- Keep the vines well mulched. I like to use three inches of compost or shredded leaves. But, don’t pile the mulch against the base of the plant; keep it three inches away from the vine’s base.
- If your hardy kiwi fruit aren’t ripe when frost threatens in the fall, harvest them and allow them to ripen on the kitchen counter. Make sure all the fruits are harvested before frost strikes.
- Hardy kiwis are among the most pest-free fruits you can grow. The plants are not fussy, nor do they require any spraying. Oh, and they’re pretty, too!
Related post: Gooseberries
In many ways, growing kiwi fruit is much like growing grapes. They are vigorous growers and need to be properly pruned, trained, and trellised. But, when they’re treated right, you’ll have more fruit than you can handle. Growing kiwi fruit should be on every gardeners to-do list!
Growing kiwi fruit can also take place in containers. These forty-five gallon grow bags are perfect containers for kiwi vines.
For more on growing fruit successfully, check out the following articles:
- How to prune blueberries for more fruit
- Growing dwarf berries in containers
- 5 mini-melons for small gardens
Are you growing kiwi fruit? Tell us about it in the comments below.
How to grow a kiwi plant from seed
Kiwifruit is so tasty; it’s intoxicating. All my life, I’ve enjoyed the unique flavour and texture of kiwis but never stopped to wonder where they come from and how they grow. It took 24 years, countless fruit salads, and the digestion of innumerous tiny black seeds before I thought about planting some.
After my first kiwi sprouts emerged from the soil, I did some research and realized that Canada, with its uncomfortably cold winters, is not an ideal environment for growing kiwi plants. While fairly hardy, kiwi cannot survive temperatures below -18 degrees celsius. This news didn’t; however, change my mind about continuing to care for my seedlings. I find watching their development fascinating and enjoy seeing them grow into beautiful little vines. Plus, judging by the way our climate has been changing in recent years, it may soon become possible for kiwi to survive a southern Ontario winter.
Whether you’re planting to observe or to consume, here’s how you can get growing your own kiwi vines:
Things you’ll need:
1) A kiwi. Try to get an organic kiwi in order to avoid the possibility that non-organic seeds may not reproduce as well. There are a few different types of kiwifruit in existence and this step-by-step method for sprouting should work for all varieties.
This is they type of kiwifruit I used!
2) A small mug or container. This will hold your kiwi seeds for their first week of germination.
3) Paper towels, a plate, and a clear plastic container. These will be used to construct a very simple mini greenhouse for germinating your kiwi seeds.
4) Potting soil. I would guess that any potting soil will do, but I suggest using one with a blend of peat, perlite, vermiculite, and organic fertilizer. Almost all of the seeds I planted in this type of certified organic potting mix have sprouted beautifully, so I think it’s fair to say that it works.
5) Containers/pots. A container (with drainage holes) that is 2-3” deep and an inch or two in diameter will be sufficient for sprouting; however, the seedlings will eventually need to be re-potted into larger containers in order to continue growing. The size of the container is up to you, but I suggest a rather large pot since kiwi vines get quite big and re-potting intertwined vines is not always a simple task.
6) Sun, or a grow light. Kiwi vines need lots of light, especially when sprouting. If you don’t have enough natural sunlight you will likely need to supplement some of it with a grow light.
Method for sprouting kiwi seeds:
1) Scoop some kiwi seeds out of your ripe, organic kiwifruit and clean them by rinsing off all of the fruit. I found that placing them in a small cup, adding water, swishing them around in it and then carefully straining the water out was the easiest way to accomplish this. Do this a few times until they are completely clean.
2) Fill your small mug or container with lukewarm water and add your kiwi seeds. Place them in a warm location, such as in front of a heater, on top of a computer, or on a warm window sill. Your kiwi seeds will remain in this water-filled mug until they start to open (for about one week), so I suggest changing the water once a day in order to avoid unwanted bacteria growth.
3) Once you can see the seeds beginning to open, it’s time move them to their mini greenhouse. Soak some paper towel with lukewarm water and place it on a plate. Distribute your germinating seeds on the paper towel, cover them with a plastic container and place them in a warm, sunny spot. (Make sure you poke some holes in the plastic container in order to allow for some airflow). Your seeds will sprout fast in these conditions. After only two days of life in their greenhouse, my kiwi seeds were ready for planting.
4) As soon as you’re seeds are sprouted, it’s time to plant. Before planting, always prepare your container well. Pre-moisten your potting soil by putting some soil into a bucket and mixing in some water until it is damp all the way through.
These little sprouts are ready for planting!
5) Fill your container with the pre-moistened soil. Leave about an inch of space below the rim of your container.
6) Plant your seeds! Sprinkle your seeds into one or more pots making sure they are at least a few inches apart. I suggest giving each seed its own small pot in order to make transplanting easier; however, I split seven sprouted kiwi seeds between two pots and they are all growing fine. Once they are in their pot(s), cover them with a thin layer of soil. I’ve read that all seeds should be planted at a depth of about twice their length, so you can imagine just how little soil is necessary to cover your kiwi seeds.
7) Once planted, water thoroughly with a squirt bottle or gentle watering can and place your pot or container in a warm, sunny, location (for some, this may mean under a grow light). If you feel that your house may be too cold or drafty for the little guys to continue germinating, cover the top of your pot(s) with clear plastic with holes punched into it and secure with an elastic band. This will continue the greenhouse effect and can be left on until you see your sprouts emerge from the soil.
These are the first two leaves of one of my sprouts.
Mature leaves take on a fuzzy texture and a brilliant lime-green colour.
8) Take care of your fuzzy babies and enjoy the process. Provide them with:
- Water. Ensure that the soil is damp at all times, especially when your kiwi sprouts are young. Do not allow them to sit in a puddle of stagnant water though; those drainage holes are there for good reason.
- Sunlight. Ideally, they should be placed in a warm sunny window where they will receive plenty of direct sunlight each day. If a consistently sunny window is not possible, supplement some sun for a grow light. Since Toronto rarely seems to get any sun in the winter, my sprouts reside under the warm rays of a grow light for 12 hours each day. Once they get a bit bigger, I will move them outside for the summer months.
- Food. In order to keep your kiwi vines healthy and growing, the soil will eventually need to be replenished with nutrients. I suggest feeding it an organic fertilizer, such as compost or vermicompost, once it has developed a nice little set of leaves. Dig a little trench around the base of your vines, fill it with compost and water it well. Or, serve it up as compost tea. Try feeding your vines a few times each year or as needed, but do not overfeed! When it comes to fertilizing, less it best; so if in doubt, put it off a bit longer. (Another option is to start your seeds in potting soil with vermicompost or worm castings mixed into it).
- Love. Spend some time looking at your fuzzy new friends. Get into the habit of watching for browning leaves and checking the underside of leaves for pests. Just like us, our plants can fall victim to bugs and disease and may sometimes require some extra love and affection.
Kiwis have become a staple in the produce department at grocery stores and now they are becoming more commonplace in the backyard as well. The lovely perennial vines create a unique cover for trellises and arbors. And kiwi fruits are good for you. They are packed with vitamin C, potassium, vitamin E, high fiber, and are low fat.
Semi-Tropical, Hardy and Super-Hardy Kiwis
It may surprise you to know that kiwis will thrive in just about any climate that experiences at least a month of below 45 degree F temperatures in winter. The vines need a period of cold to set fruit.
The kiwis available at the grocery store, Actinidia deliciosa, are native to China. They are semi-tropical and are best suited for zones 7 through 9. Look for these varieties: ‘Blake’, ‘Elmwood’, and ‘Hayward’.
Hardy kiwis, Actinidia arguta, and super-hardy kiwis, Actinidia kolomikta, have smooth, edible skin and smaller fruits. They are very prolific and the flavor of the fruit is sweet. Grow A. arguta in zones 4 through 7 and A. kolomikta is cold tolerant to zone 3. ‘Anna’ and ‘Dumbarton Oaks’ are two common A. arguta varieties. ‘Arctic Beauty’ is A. kolomikta.
Cultural Requirements for Kiwis
Plant your kiwi vines in well-drained soil with a pH between 5.0 & 6.5. They will produce fruit in partial sun. The hardy & super-hardy types are particularly shade tolerant. It’s important that they are in a location that is shielded from glaring winter sunlight and away from cold spring air pockets that might damage the early blooming flowers.
Kiwis are Dioecious
Plant a male kiwi vine within 35 to 50 feet of a female kiwi vine for proper pollination. A single male plant can pollinate several female plants. Hand pollination is an option for a small number of plants. Just pick a male flower and rub it on a female flower.
Kiwis roots are sensitive to fertilizer so always use a slow release fertilizer when feeding. Apply an all-purpose, slow release fertilizer at planting time. After the first year feed in early spring before the leaf buds break and again in summer after the flowers fade. Kiwis are excellent candidates for organic gardens because they respond well to options such as cow manure.
Staking Kiwi Vines
The kiwi is a vine that needs staking. This helps support the fruits, allows sunlight to reach the leaves and keeps the vines off the ground. You can train them to a guide wire and stake system similar to grapes or any vertical structure such as a fence or trellis.
Pruning Kiwi Vines
It’s important to prune kiwi vines to keep the shape tidy and for fruit production. Fruits are borne on the current season’s growth that emerges from the previous season’s canes. During the first year work on developing a central trunk that is trained to the support. Thereafter prune during the dormant season. Remove dead and diseased wood and stems that fruited during the previous year. Shape up male kiwis after they flower in summer.
Harvesting Kiwi Fruits
Growing kiwis is a time investment. It may take 2 to 5 years to see a plentiful harvest. Look for the fruits to begin to ripen in early fall. Semi-tropical kiwis are ready to pick when the skins turn brown, but the fruit is still firm. You can further test for ripeness by slicing into one of the fruits. If the seeds are black, go ahead and harvest the rest. Give them about a week at room temperature to soften before eating. Hardy and semi-hardy kiwis will drop from the vine when ready. To keep kiwis longer, put them in the refrigerator while they are still hard. They will stay fresh for 5 weeks to several months.
Growing Hardy Kiwi Vine In The Garden
Kiwi (Actinidia deliciosa) is an attractive, sweet fruit that is produced mostly in California and New Zealand. However, if you live in an area that has mild winters and a frost-free season long enough for the fruit to ripen, you can grow hardy kiwi plants in your garden.
Hardy Kiwi Growing Tips
Although growing kiwi vines requires mild winters and a long frost-free growing season, you can grow hardy kiwi plants in cooler climates so long as you choose a variety that has adapted itself to the cooler climates. There are some hardy kiwi plants that have done so, and they make a great addition to your fruit garden.
Growing hardy kiwi requires a lot of space. These are vines that spread quite a bit – sometimes over 20 feet. Since growing kiwi vines takes a lot of space, it is best to train them on a fence or arbor.
In order to get your hardy kiwi growing, you should make sure you have a male and a female plant. They do not self produce, so you need both. However, you can have one male plant and up to eight females together, and the male should be able to pollinate all the female plants with no trouble.
When you plant your hardy kiwi vines, make sure you put them about 10 to 18 feet apart. Again, they require a lot of room.
Further, they prefer well-drained soil and an area that gets full sun in order to be able to produce fruit. This is what growing hardy kiwi requires. Although hardy kiwi plants enjoy sun, if you’re in a region known to get excessively hot, place them in an area that is protected during the hottest part of the day – like in an area that receives partial sun or shade at that time, or you can use a shade cloth for new vines, as young plants cannot handle the scorching heat.
All fruit from the growing kiwi vine comes from the new growth on wood that is one year old. You should prune your hardy kiwi vine because annual pruning definitely enhances the production of fruit. Make sure you mulch around your small plants.
Make sure once you plant your hardy kiwi vine transplants, you water them daily until they take hold. After that, you can slack off a little, as they prefer well-drained soil once they are settled. Mulch will preserve soil moisture and prevent frost damage to any new transplants.
The fruits can be harvested once they are firm, yet starting to soften. Kiwi is a great fruit for fruit salads or just eating by itself.
There are three types of kiwifruit, Strik explained, the most common being the fuzzy kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa) available at the grocery store, usually the cultivar called ‘Hayward.’ Joining the lineup are hardy kiwifruit (A. arguta); and kolomikta kiwifruit (A. kolomikta), which is not often grown for fruit. Instead, gardeners become enamored of the variegated pink leaves and use it as an ornamental vine.
Hardy kiwifruit, also called kiwiberries because of the grape-sized fruit, are most suited for home gardens because they are best adapted to Oregon’s westside climate, she said. The highly aromatic fruit has smooth, green skin – sometimes with a red blush – that’s edible, making them great for snacking. Fuzzy kiwifruit don’t ripen on the vine and are harvested in fall when they are “green ripe.” They can be stored in a cold area for months, which is why they you’ll fine fuzzy kiwifruit in grocery stores year-round.
Fuzzy kiwifruit are best grown in warmer regions like California, because vines can get winter cold injury in most areas of Oregon. Hardy kiwifruit are better adapted to our region because they are very winter cold hardy and fruit will vine ripen from mid-September into mid-October. You’ll sometimes find them at farmers markets and some grocery stores.
Of the hardy kiwifruit, the easiest to find are ‘Ananasnaya,’ (sometimes called ‘Anna’) with jade-colored skin, bright green flesh, black seeds and a pineapple-type flavor (the name means “pineapple” in Russian) and ‘Ken’s Red,’ a New Zealand cultivar with olive green skin and darker green flesh with deep red streaks.
“The young shoots and fruit of all kiwifruit species are sensitive to frost injury,” Strik said. “Temperatures of 30 degrees or less for only 30 minutes can severely damage newly emerging shoots in the late winter through spring.”
To reduce the chance of damage, grow kiwi plants in warmer areas of the garden that are protected from frost, avoiding low areas or cool sites. When temperatures are forecast to drop to 32 or lower, drape the vine with row covers before sunset and remove them when temperatures rise above freezing.
Strik, who is the author of Extension’s publication Growing Kiwifruit, offers additional tips:
- Kiwifruit vines are either female, which produce the fruit; or male, which are vital for pollination and fruit production. Be sure to plant both unless a neighbor has a male.
- Build a substantial arbor or T-bar trellis (a diagram is included in the above publication) that’s tall enough to stand under for harvest; the stronger the better since the vines can grow 15 feet wide and produce up to 100 pounds of fruit.
- Plant 10 to 15 feet apart in spring in deep, well-drained soil in a sunny, protected area of the garden. Don’t skimp on this advice since kiwi vines are susceptible to root rot.
- Water a couple of inches of water a week during the growing season. A drip system works best.
- Fertilize with about ½ pound of nitrogen per mature vine, dividing this into thirds (mid-March, mid-April and mid-June) using a well-balanced fertilizer such as 16-16-16 (3 pounds per season) or soybean meal (about 7 pounds per season).
- Prune females heavily in December. If it gets later in the season, the vines will excrete large amounts of sap, which dismays gardeners. “I often get people saying, ‘My vine is bleeding to death,’” Strik said. “So, it’s best to prune early. If you are pruning late, don’t worry too much about the sap loss.” Prune males after bloom in late June. When pruning a mature vine, remove about 70 percent of the wood that grew last season. Most of the wood removed is older wood that already has fruited. See the publication for pruning diagrams.
- In warmer regions of Oregon harvest fuzzy kiwifruit in late October to early November when they are still hard, but the seeds are black. They can be stored in a cold (32 to 40 degrees) area for several months. To ripen small amounts, put in a slightly vented plastic bag with apples or bananas. Harvest hardy kiwifruit, which do not all ripen at the same time, when they are soft to the touch. They should be eaten right away; or in order to store in the refrigerator for a few weeks, harvest fruit when they are still firm, but seeds are black (early September). When they are too ripe, the fruit will tear at the stem end. You can enjoy them throughout the winter by freezing them and letting them partially thaw before eating.
Growing Kiwi Fruit – How to Grow Kiwi Fruit
How to Grow Kiwi Fruit – A Guide to Growing Kiwi Fruit
Kiwifruit can be grown successfully in the UK so long as you have plenty of space and a sunny spot. Despite the ‘kiwi’ name suggesting they come from New Zealand, they are actually from southern China originally. Nowadays most kiwifruit sold in the UK comes from Italy.
Kiwifruit can be bought as all-female, all-male or self-fertile varieties. All female varieties tend to crop better so long as there is a male plant nearby to pollinate them. The ideal ratio is one male per three or four females.
Growing Kiwi Fruit
- Kiwi require plenty of space and a sheltered, sunny spot in which to thrive.
- If planting both a female and male, space 3–4.5 m (10–15 feet) apart.
- Plant into a slightly acidic soil, well-drained and rich in organic matter, against a wall or fence or over a pergola.
- Mulch around the base of the plant, avoiding direct contact with the stem to prevent rotting, and apply a general-purpose fertilizer as the new spring growth starts.
- Tie in the stems as they grow.
- Don’t let the plant dry out, particularly in hot, dry weather.
- New plants start to produce fruits after 3–4 years.
- Plant the container-grown kiwi vines at any time of the year.
- Harvest from established plants in the late summer through to September–October, depending upon the variety.
- Pick your fruit before the first frosts of the year. To ripen, place with other fruit in your fruit bowl, especially bananas.
Pests and Problems with Kiwis
- Protect the young shoots from frost with fleece.
Varieties of Kiwi
- If you’re just growing one kiwi fruit, ensure you plant a self-fertile variety, otherwise you will need both a male and a female plants – the female produces the fruit and the male is required for pollination.
- Unripe kiwi will keep in the bottom of the fridge for two–three months.
- Kiwi fruit are high in vitamin C
Further Information on Kiwi Fruit
Recipes Using Kiwi Fruit
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Kiwi Fruit Seed & Plants
- Kiwi Fruit from the Allotment Shop
How to Grow Kiwi Plant in a Pot
So how do kiwis grow? Today you’ll learn about the kiwi plant and how to grow kiwi plant in a pot. These fruits are mostly grown in California and New Zealand for the most part, and so they need a warm growing medium to fruit. If you live in a warmer area where there is no frost, you can easily grow your own kiwi plant at home!
And the best way to grow kiwi? In a pot of course! No longer does kiwi have to be that fruit you purchase from a grocery store because you can grow hardy kiwi varieties right at home! These “hardy” kiwi variety is actually smaller and sweeter than in-store bought kiwis (meaning they’re even more delicious!). They are also called baby kiwis and they grow in clusters. What’s even better about these kiwi varieties is that they can sustain colder weather, unlike their grocery store counterparts, and can also be eaten whole!
That’s right, baby kiwi varieties, or hardy kiwis, have a very soft and smooth outside that you can consume in its entirety!
How to Grow Kiwi Plants in Pots
Hardy kiwis can sustain and remain dormant in -25C weather, but actually grow in mild winters, so as long as they’re taken care of, kiwis can grow almost anywhere! Remember that kiwi vines also need support, so you’ll need a climbing pole or a trellis for your kiwi to climb on.
- Purchase a soil-less potting mix that has at least one third organic material. Make sure that the potting mix is well draining soil since kiwis do not like standing water.
- Into that potting mix, add organic fertilizer such as bone meal or well composted manure. This will ensure a really health growth medium, and will also help prevent diseasese.
Place your kiwi pot in a sunny south or west facing wall if you live in a cooler climate. For warmer climates, place your kiwi pot in full sun.
How to Fertilize Kiwi Plants:
In late winter, mulch with rotted organic matter. In spring, apply an organic well balanced fertilizer, just as new growth emerges.
Kiwi Companion Plants:
You can plant kiwi alongside the following plants: marjoram, lemon balm, and marigold. Be careful as kiwi vines are quite dominant and will need a trellis or stake in order not to spread around in the pot.
Spacing Kiwi Plants:
- Space each single plant 9′ 10″ (3.00mm) each way.
- Space rows 9′ 10″ (3.00mm) with 9′ 10″ (3.00mm) row gap.
- Start off by purchasing a kiwi nursery container. It is much easier and much more guaranteed you’ll have kiwis than if you were to plant them from seed. If you DO decide to grow from seed, just follow the same directions as below!
- Place your nursery container or pot next to a trellis so that your kiwi can climb up. Or, simply use a stake as you would with tomato plants.
- Fill the nursery container about two thirds full with the potting and fertilizer mix.
- Remove the kiwi plant from its container and plant it in the center of the container.
- Take a male and a female plant from the container and place them on each side of the of the centered plant. (Kiwi nursery containers SHOULD contain both a male and a female plant, especially if you’re growing the hardy variety!). You’ll need female plants for successful pollination!
- Cover up the rest of the container with potting mix until it gets to the top. Leave 2-3 inches at the top for water.
- Stick a stake into the container next to the trellis to facilitate growth and reach.
How to Care for Kiwi Plants:
- You should prune the vines about four times during the growing season. Start by cutting off half the new growth of each branch every few weeks. This will teach the kiwi plant to grow more as a bush than a vine. Limit the growth of the male plant to just flowers – just enough to pollinate!
- Fertilize the plants just before growing begins, and then two or three more times during the first half of the growing season.
- You should pick off your kiwi fruit when they are mature, but not fully ripe. They will ripen on their one once off the plant!
How to Harvest Kiwi Plants:
Pick kiwi plants before the first frost and then let ripen indoors. In warm weather climates such as tropical or subtropical regions, allow the kiwi to just barely ripen on the vine naturally. You’ll know they’re ready to pick once they are the correct size and color (the same size and color you would find in a grocery store). Pick them off and allow them to ripen indoors.
Kiwi Plant Pests and Diseases:
Be wary of wet soil – kiwifruit is susceptible to bacterial blossom blight, oak root fungus, and Phytophthora (root rot). Additionally, keep an eye out on bleeding canker which is a disease that can affect the kiwi plant in cold winters.
Please be aware that if you do not live in a warm climate, it may be hard to successfully grow kiwis. If growing or moving the kiwi plants indoors, keep them in a warm area with plenty of sun. A south facing window would be ideal as kiwi plants enjoy at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day.
Now that you know how to grow kiwi in a pot, let’s get to it so you can enjoy this amazing tropical fruit all year long!
For more posts on tropical fruit, check out our Tropical Fruit Blog!
Planting Kiwi Berry Vines
Fuzzless Hardy Kiwi (Actinidia arguta) are great to eat and easy to grow! These no-spray, pest-free vines are excellent for covering walls, fences, trellises or arbors, and they do well in part shade to full sun.
Fruit trees require fertile soil for good growth, so before you plant, check your soil pH. Contact your local County Extension Office for information about soil testing in your area, or purchase one of our digital meters for quick and accurate results. Kiwi plants enjoy a soil pH between 5.0 and 7.5. They do well even in the weakest of soils—just don’t plant them where the soil may get waterlogged.
NOTE: This is part 3 in a series of 9 articles. For a complete background on how to grow kiwi berry vines, we recommend starting from the beginning.
- Kiwi plants need support. (See below.)
- Plant Hardy Kiwi vines in partial shade to full sun in well-drained, fertile soil with a pH level of 5.0-7.5.
- Spacing should be 10’ apart.
- Avoid frost pockets; kiwi plants need protection from late frost.
- Dig a hole that will accommodate the root system and plant at the same depth as grown in the pot or nursery row.
- Fill in hole and water thoroughly.
- At planting time and again at the end of the growing season, fertilize with Stark® Tre-Pep® Fertilizer. (If planting in the fall, wait to fertilize until spring for best results.)
- No pruning is necessary at planting time.
- For varieties that are not self-pollinating, remember to plant at least one male for every eight female plants.
Constructing a Support System
Hardy Kiwi vines grow rapidly, so build a support system before or soon after planting. These can be constructed similar to grape trellises, but they must be sturdier. Set three 8-10’, 4-6” diameter post 2’-3’ deep with 8 feet between posts. Place a 3’ cross arm at the top of the posts. Space three 8-12 gauge wires between the cross arms and stretch very tightly, as the heavy, fruit-laden vines will ultimately grow along these wires.
Plant your kiwi plant next to the middle post. During the first growing season, train a single trunk to grow to the top of the trellis. Tie the vine loosely and check it often to be sure it doesn’t wind around the stake. When the trunk reaches a few inches above the wire, cut it back to 3-6” below the wire. This forces the trunk to grow into a structurally strong “Y” shape forming two main growth branches. Allow two trained branches to grow along the middle training wire for the remainder of the growing season. Do not allow the branches to wrap around the wire. Remove all suckers growing from the trunk. Make sure the wires securing the trunk to the post do not restrict the expanding trunk.
For Tropical Kiwi, you should follow cultural practices of Hardy Kiwi.
In This Series
Care & Maintenance
- Pest & Disease Control