(Image credit: wwasilisa)

With more vitamin C than oranges, more potassium than bananas, copper, vitamin E, fiber, and lute, kiwi fruits are an excellent plant for health-conscious gardens. In zone 8, gardeners can enjoy many different varieties of kiwi vines. Continue reading for zone 8 kiwi varieties, as well as tips for successfully growing kiwi fruit.

Growing Kiwi in Zone 8

What kiwis grow in zone 8? Actually, most kiwis can. There are two main types of zone 8 kiwi vines: fuzzy kiwis and hardy kiwis.

  • Fuzzy kiwi (Actindia chinensis and Actinidia deliciosa) are the kiwi fruits that you would find in a grocery store produce department. They have egg size fruit with brown fuzzy skin, green tart pulp, and black seeds. Fuzzy kiwi vines are hardy in zones 7 to 9, though they may need winter protection in zone 7 and 8a.
  • Hardy kiwi vines (Actindia arguta, Actindia kolomikta, and Actindia polygamy) produce smaller, fuzzless fruit, which still have an excellent flavor and nutritional value. Hardy kiwi vines are hardy from zones 4 to 9, with some varieties even hardy to zone 3. However, in zones 8 and 9 they may be sensitive to drought.

Hardy or fuzzy, most kiwi vines require male and female plants to bear fruit. Even self-fertile hardy kiwi variety Issai will produce more fruit with a nearby male plant. Kiwi vines can take one to three years before producing their first fruits. They also produce fruit on one year old wood. Zone 8 kiwi vines can be pruned in early winter but avoid cutting back the one year old wood. In early spring, before growth begins, fertilize kiwi vines with a slow-release fertilizer to avoid fertilizer burn, which kiwis can be sensitive to.

Zone 8 Kiwi Varieties

Fuzzy zone 8 kiwi varieties may be harder to come by, while hardy kiwi vines are now widely available at garden centers and online nurseries. For fuzzy kiwi fruit for zone 8, try the varieties ‘Blake’ or ‘Elmwood.’ Hardy zone 8 kiwi varieties include:

  • ‘Meader’
  • ‘Anna’
  • ‘Haywood’
  • ‘Dumbarton Oaks’
  • ‘Hardy Red’
  • ‘Arctic Beauty’
  • ‘Issai’
  • ‘Matua’

Kiwi vines require a strong structure to climb upon. Plants can live up to 50 years and their base can become like a small tree trunk over time. They require well-draining, slightly acidic soil and should be grown in an area sheltered from cold winds. The main pests of kiwi vines are Japanese beetles.

Darcy Larum