Feeding Kiwi Fruit: When And How To Fertilize Kiwis

Kiwi Fruit Vine
kiwi fertilizer
(Image credit: sb-borg)

Fertilizing kiwi plants is an important part of their care and will ensure a bumper crop of delicious fruits. Thanks to hardy varieties, growing your own kiwis is now possible in many cooler zones. Kiwis are packed full of more Vitamin C than an orange and have a weird ability to neutralize free radicals, making them an excellent nutritional supplement. Added to these benefits, the cute, fuzzy, little orbs have a unique, fruity flavor that kids and adults alike crave. Read on to gain a little knowledge on how to fertilize kiwis and enhance these vines' productivity and health.

When to Fertilize Kiwi

Kiwi fruit is borne on fast-growing vines. Hardy kiwis are especially tolerant of almost any soil pH and any well-drained soil but benefit from the addition of large amounts of organic material. Training, pruning, mulching, and watering are key components of the vine’s care but feeding kiwi fruit vines will encourage better yield and bigger fruit. Knowing when to fertilize kiwi will assure big healthy plants with prolific flowers. Young plants are sensitive to fertilizer but once they take off after the first year, don’t forget this crucial step. Kiwi plants prefer slightly acidic soil but will tolerate neutral soils. In basic soil, fertilize in early March with a few evenly spaced additional applications through the growing season. For acidic soils, the vines also need an early application and another feeding just before fruit set, which is usually May or June. Using straw or manure as a side dress is also recommended. After about six years, your vines will need 1 pound (0.5 kg.) of nitrogen per year, but younger plants can thrive with just 2 ounces (57 g.) per application. Feeding kiwi fruit vine seedlings is not recommended except with a diluted liquid plant food after four true leaves have developed. Do not fertilize vines after July.

Best Fertilizer for Kiwi Vines

Growers have their own ideas on the best fertilizer for kiwi vines, but experts can guide us with a few tips. A formulated citrus and avocado food are recommended for fertilizing kiwi plants. You may also choose to use a high nitrogen fertilizer containing trace elements. The best way to know what formula to use is by doing a soil test. This will tell you what elements your soil might be deficient in and, therefore, need to be added. Nitrogen is always needed in early spring as the plant is re-sprouting. Ammonium nitrate and urea are suggested for added nitrogen. An all-purpose 10-10-10 fertilizer is also suggested. You may use a granular or liquid fertilizer but be careful not to cause the plant to burn. Watering after any fertilizer is crucial.

How to Fertilize Kiwis

Water the area at least one to two days before the application of any food. Apply the recommended amount of granular fertilizer around the root zone of the vines. Scratching it in lightly will keep it from blowing away and enhance the food's ability to get to the roots. Water in heavily to allow the dry food to release its nutrients. Mix any liquid fertilizer according to the package directions. The fertilizer is sprayed on the root zone, avoiding the leaves to prevent burning them. Mix measured liquid in a garden sprayer set at the rate suggested by the instructions. Morning is the best time of day to fertilize. Remember to water in the plant food so it will not burn the roots as they begin their uptake of nutrients.

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.