Growing Kiwi

Growing Kiwi

Michigan State Hardy kiwi

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 Vigorous fruiting vines related to the supermarket Kiwi but hardier and with smaller, smooth-skinned fruit. These climbing vines are self-twining and require sturdy support as they can grow 20 feet in a season. There are two types of hardy Kiwi, the standard Hardy Kiwi (Actinidia arguta) and variegated Arctic Beauty types (Actinidia kolomikita). Both have separate male and female plants and both are needed for fruiting. Plant one male vine for every 4 to 8 female plants to ensure good fruit production. Plants are hardy in zones 4 to 8, and Arctic Beauty in zones 3 to 7. Arctic Beauty has attractive, pink and white variegated foliage and males can be grown alone as ornamentals. Delicious fruit is smooth skinned, high in vitamin C, and lasts up to two months when refrigerated. It can be eaten fresh, in fruit salads, dried, or used to make wine. Flowers are small and fragrant. Plant outdoors 4 to 8 weeks before the last frost in spring. Before planting, soak the roots for 2 to 3 hours to hydrate plants. Loosen the soil 12 to 18 inches deep and wide enough to fit all roots without bending. Mix compost or other organic matter into loosened soil. Trim off any broken or damaged roots and spread them evenly. Plant slightly deeper than when grown in the nursery and space 10 feet apart.

Maintenance

For full sun to part shade in well-drained soils. Requires a sturdy fence, trellis, arbor, or other structure to support vines. Arctic Beauty types fruit 1 to 2 years after planting, while Hardy types take 3 to 4 years to fruit. The foliage color of variegated forms is best in full sun and with moderate fertility and can be reduced if plants are overfed. Both types need annual winter pruning for good fruit production. Prune stems back, leaving 8 to 10 buds. Can prune vines in summer to maintain size or if they overgrow support. For summer pruning, cut flowering shoots back leaving 4 to 6 leaves after the last flower. Vines do not harm fences or other structures. 

Fertilizer Recommendations

Use Gromax Fertilizer Tablets 20-10-5 (51165) or low rates of Algoflash All-Purpose Liquid Fertilizer 6-6-6 (51085) or Neptune Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1 (51221).

Alternative Products

Other vining fruits are Grape, Goji Berry, and Wolfberry.

Complimentary Products

Moderate feeders, plants benefit from fertilization starting their second season. If rabbits damage plants, use repellents like Shake Away Small Critter Repellent (52075) or Hot Pepper Wax Animal Repellent (52059).

Kiwi Facts

Easy-to-grow and generally does not usually suffer from pest or disease problems. Vines can be damaged by late frosts in spring, but usually overcome freeze damage. Rabbits sometimes feed on vines in winter. Fruit can be allowed to ripen on the vine and will also continue to ripen after picking. Mature vines can produce 50 pounds of fruit or more each season.

 

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