Growing kiwifruit can be an easy, exciting adventure with an abundant, delicious reward. Before embarking on this adventure, one must plan ahead for a sturdy support system and be willing to do some annual pruning.
There are two main types of kiwi. Actinidia arguta, the hardy kiwi, and Actinidia deliciosa, the fuzzy kiwi. In general, both types require two plants of the same species, a male and a female, for pollination. Both plants produce flowers, but only the female will produce fruit.
There are self-fertile varieties of each species which yield fewer, often smaller fruits. Actinidia arguta has small, smooth skinned fruit and can withstand -25˚ F. Fruits of the hardy kiwi can ripen on the vine in late fall.
Actinidia deliciosa has larger, brown, fuzzy fruits and can withstand 10-15˚ F (they can survive 0˚ F with freezing damage). The fruit does not ripen on the vine in our climate and should be harvested after the first hard frost in November or December and ripened in cool storage.
There is also a third type, the Arctic Kiwi, Actinidia kolomikta, which produces small, smooth skinned fruit and withstands –40˚ F.
Care: The first years of establishing a strong root system are critical for success. Three important elements include warm soil, soil nutrients, and ample water. A site that is full sun with well drained soil is best for arguta and deliciosa varieties. Kiwi vines are brittle so they should be kept out of strong winds.
Vines should be planted 10 feet apart or trained to grow in opposite directions. The male and female plants can be a maximum of 35 feet apart for pollination. The flowers are pollinated by bees, yet they do not offer nectar for attraction. Therefore, it can help to cut competing flowers around the vines when kiwis are in bloom.
Kiwis require an annual fertilizing and pruning. Organic fertilizers can be added in one helping in the spring, according to package instructions.
Pruning is best done in winter, when the vines are dormant. They should not be pruned from mid February through April because they are actively growing and will bleed sap. Kiwi are trained and pruned in the same manner as grapes.
Please stop by our Information Desk for support system and detailed pruning instructions.
We carry a wide variety year-round.
These are some of our favorites but represent only a fraction of what you will find at the nursery.