How to Grow Kiwifruit

Опубликовал Admin
24-06-2021, 02:30
Kiwifruits, also known as simply "kiwis," are a popular type of edible berry that grows on vines in temperate regions. While each vine can produce hundreds of pounds of fruit, it typically takes anywhere from three to as many as seven years for these plants to reach maturity. Because of this large time investment, be sure to start with good stock and cultivate your kiwifruit plants using optimal methods.

Sprouting Seedlings

  1. Choose a type of kiwifruit. Growing kiwifruits from seed is a fun project and will give you a nice ornamental plant. Kiwifruit do not always grow true to type, meaning that your plant may not produce edible fruit like the one it came from. If you want to grow a kiwi plant for its fruit, purchase a grafted plant from a nursery. Three major types of kiwifruit are:
    • Common kiwi – This is the type of kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa) typically found in grocery stores. It is a brown, fuzzy fruit with a thick skin and green pulp. For optimal growth, it requires about a month of cool weather with temperatures ranging from 30 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 to 7ºC). Common Kiwi can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 7-9.
    • Golden kiwi – Another popular type of kiwi, the golden kiwi (Actinidia chinensis) is sweeter but more delicate compared to the common kiwi. It is closely related to common kiwifruit but is less fuzzy and more yellow. This fruit grows best in zones that experience winter lows ranging from 10 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit (-12 to -1ºC).
    • Kiwi berry – This name usually refers to two different kiwi species, the hardy kiwi (Actinidia arguta) and the super-hardy kiwi (Actinidia kolomikta). These kiwifruits are much smaller compared to common and golden kiwis and have a thinner, smooth skin. As their names suggest, this type of kiwi is the most cold-tolerant and can be grown in areas that experience harsh winters. These varieties are sometimes able to produce fruit after just one growing season, in contrast to most others that take years to mature.
  2. Obtain kiwifruit seeds. If you've decided to grow common kiwifruit, getting seeds can be as simple as going to the grocery store and buying a fruit. According to some gardeners, seeds from organic fruits are more likely to germinate and grow hardy adult plants. For more exotic types of kiwi, you can order inexpensive seeds online from a variety of vendors.
    • To remove seeds from a fresh kiwifruit, simply slice the fruit in half and scoop a them out with your fingers or a spoon. Place the seeds in a small bowl or cup and rinse them to remove the fruit. To rinse, swish water around in the bowl and strain it back out a few times.
    • Keep in mind that most kiwi growers favor purchasing young plants created through propagation from nurseries rather than sprouting them from seeds. This is partly because propagated cultivars possess traits that are much more consistent over generations. Additionally, most varieties of kiwifruit are delicious, meaning that both a male and a female plant are required for fruiting to occur. Since the only way to tell the difference between the two is through their flowers and flowering usually takes three or more years to start happening, it's difficult to accurately space seedlings for optimal pollination and fruit production.
  3. Sprout your seeds. Place your seeds in a resealable plastic bag along with a damp paper towel. Zip the bag up and put it in a warm spot. Check your seeds every day until you see that they have sprouted.
    • If you notice the paper towel drying out before your seeds have germinated, be sure to moisten it again. The seeds need a humid environment to sprout.
  4. Plant your germinated seeds. Prepare and moisten a few pots of seed starter potting mix, one for every three or four seeds. Tear off a section of the moistened paper towel you used to germinate the seeds that has a three to four seedlings clinging to it. Plant this, paper towel piece and all, into one of your pots. Repeat until all seedlings are planted.
  5. Place your plants in a spot that gets plenty of light. Windowsills are generally the best choice unless you have a basement equipped with grow lights.
    • Young plants are especially sensitive to winter chills, so many growers keep their kiwi plants indoors for the first two years or so.
    • Remember to transfer your plants to new, larger pots as they begin to outgrow their smaller ones. At this stage, begin boosting their nutrition using a generic starter fertilizer.

Transplanting Seedlings

  1. Find a good spot in your garden for your kiwifruit. Make sure conditions there are suitable.
    • You will need adequate space for your kiwifruit plants to grow.
    • Most kiwifruit plants grow best in either full sun or light shade.
    • Kiwifruit generally need slightly acidic soil that has a pH between 6.0 and 6.5. If your soil is too alkaline, you can try to acidify it to make conditions right for growing kiwifruit.
    • The soil must be moist but well-drained.
  2. Build a sturdy trellis for your plants. Remember that kiwifruits are vine plants that can grow up to 30 feet long and weigh a fair amount. Like other vines, they grow best across vertical structures that provide support and greater access to light.
    • Kiwifruit vines can grow on most types of trellises, gazebos, and fences.
    • Commercial kiwifruit growers use six-foot-high wire trellises with T-bars spaced 15 to 20 feet apart.
  3. Transplant the young plants. Transplanting kiwifruit plants is largely the same as other types of plants. The major difference is that you must space your plants so that each is at the base of its own support structure. Simply dig a hole for each plant that is a little bigger than their current pots. Carefully lift each plant out of its pot, including the roots and the dirt they cling to, and place the roots into the holes you just dug. Finish by filling in the edges of the hole with loose dirt.
    • Try to disturb the roots as little as possible to avoid shock.
    • If you plant to grow fruit, keep as many plants as you have room for. Once they flower, which can take up to five years, you can identify the male and female plants and cull the extras.

Maintaining Your Plants

  1. Protect your kiwifruit from animals. Even if all other conditions are perfect, your plants may be destroyed by various pests. Kiwifruit plants will be especially vulnerable until they have fully matured.
    • The leaves of kiwifruit plants can sometimes attract deer. Keep your young plants safe by keeping deer out of your yard with either a fence around it or chicken wire surrounding your plants.
    • Cats respond to kiwi leaves similarly to catnip. If you've ever tried to grow catnip, you probably know that neighborhood cats can easily destroy your plants. If there are outdoor cats in your area, take measures to keep them out of your garden. Example strategies include building a fence, putting chicken wire around each of your plants, and spraying with repellents.
    • Unlike many other commercial fruit-bearing plants, kiwifruit do not have many insect enemies, so regular pesticide use is usually unnecessary.
  2. Tie shoots to supports. As your kiwifruit plant grows, it will begin to send out shoots. You will need to train these shoots to grow on the support by wiring the vines to the trellis. This will ensure that the plant will grow a strong "trunk" section.
  3. Prune your plants regularly. You should prune your kiwifruit plants once a year. Trim excess canes (vines that have grown a bark-like skin) and any lateral shoots not supportable by its trellis. Lateral shoots are branches that go off to the sides. Your kiwifruit vines will not be able to support the weight of such shoots on their own until they've reached the top of your trellis (when using the T-support system). Once the vines reach the top of the trellis, they will be able to grow more horizontally across it.
    • The optimal time for pruning female plants is late winter while the plant is dormant.
    • Male plants can be pruned sooner, right after flowering.
  4. Cull the male plants. Kiwi plants will usually flower within four or five years of planting. When this happens, you can identify the male plants by the bright yellow, pollen-covered anthers in the flower's center. The female plants have sticky stalks (stigma) in the center instead, and white ovaries at the base of the flower. Since only the female kiwi vines produce fruit, you'll want one male plant to pollinate every 8 or 9 female plants, rather than an even split between the two. Remove the excess males and space the survivors an equal distance apart among the female vines.
  5. Harvest your fruit once it's ripe. After a few years (or even that same year for hardy and super-hardy kiwi), your plants should start producing fruit. Yields may start out small but typically increase every year as the plant matures.
    • Kiwifruit usually ripens in September and October. If frosts typically happen by then in your area, you will need to harvest the fruit before it's ripe and let it finish ripening under refrigeration.
    • Snap kiwifruit off at the stalk when their skin begins to change color (to brown for common kiwifruit). Another way to check for harvest-readiness is to look for black seeds in a sample fruit.


  • All kiwifruit generally require a temperate environment with both cool winters and warm summers.
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