Tricolor Kiwi Information: How To Grow A Tricolor Kiwi Plant

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By Darcy Larum, Landscape Designer

Actinidia kolomikta is a hardy kiwi vine that is commonly known as tricolor kiwi plant because of its variegated foliage. Also known as arctic kiwi, it is one of the most hardy of the kiwi vines, able to withstand winter temperatures as low as -40 F. (-4 C.), although it may not fruit or flower in the season following an extremely cold winter. For tips on growing tricolor kiwi, continue reading.

Tricolor Kiwi Information

Tricolor kiwi is a fast growing perennial vine that is hardy in zones 4-8. It can reach heights of 12-20 feet (3.6-6 m.) with a spread of about 3 feet (91cm.). In the garden it needs a strong structure to climb up, such as a trellis, fence, arbor or pergola. Some gardeners train tricolor kiwi into a tree form by selecting one main vine as the trunk, pruning any low vines that sprout from this trunk and allowing the plant to bush out only at a desired height.

Tricolor kiwi plants require both male and female plants to be present in order to produce their small, grape-sized kiwi fruit. Though these fruits are much smaller than the kiwi fruits we purchase in grocery stores, d their taste is usually described as similar to common kiwi fruit but slightly sweeter.

How to Grow a Tricolor Kiwi Plant

Actinidia kolomikta, as previously stated, is known for the attractive white and pink variegation on its green foliage. Young plants may take a while to develop this foliage variegation, so do not panic if your new tricolor kiwi is all green, as the variegated color will develop in time. Also, male tricolor kiwi plants are known to have more colorful foliage than female plants. Researchers believe this is because the brightly variegated foliage attracts more pollinators than the small male flowers.

Tricolor kiwi is native to parts of Asia. It requires a partially shaded location with consistently moist soil. Tricolor kiwi cannot tolerate drought, high winds or over fertilization, so it is important to plant it in a sheltered location with rich, moist soil.

In addition to drawing pollinators, tricolor kiwi plants are also very attractive to cats, so young plants may need some cat protection.

Tricolor kiwi stems will profusely ooze sap if broken, chewed on or pruned during the active growing season. Because of this, any necessary pruning should be done in winter when the plant is dormant.

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