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.