Kiwi




The Hardy Kiwi
 
Common Name: Kiwi (kiwifruit)

Scientific Name: Actinidia deliciosa, Actinidia arguta, and Actinidia kolomikta
Family: Actinidiaceae

 
Description:

Deciduous, woody, twining vine that produces small tropical tasting fruit. 


History:

Native to southern China, cultivation spread to New Zealand in the early 1900’s where it was produced in large scale.  


Comparing the common “fuzzy” kiwi (A. deliciosa) with the Hardy Kiwi (Actinidia arguta).
The Hardy Kiwi has soft, smooth, edible skin.

Trivia:

  • Only the “fuzzy” kiwi (A. deliciosa) is tropical (zone 7).  The other two species (Actinidia arguta and Actinidia kolomikta) are known as Hardy Kiwi.  They are hardy to Zone 2!
  • Kiwi’s are dioecious, meaning the plant is either male or female
  • It was dubbed “Kiwifruit” after New Zealand’s national bird, the brown and furry kiwi.
  • Italy is the leading producer followed by New Zealand and Chili.
  • Kiwi is very high in Vitamin C.

 

There are many, many types of Kiwi in the world!
They are not all brown and fuzzy.
 


USING THIS PLANT

Primary Uses:

  • Fresh eating
  • Fresh juice (usually mixed with other juices)
  • Drying pureed fruit into fruit “leather”


Secondary Uses:

  • Drinkable sap (concentrated into a syrup?)
  • Seasonal Shade (thick cover of leaves in spring-fall; no leaves in winter)


Yield: 5-10 gallons (20-40 liters) per female vine
Harvesting: Harvest when ripe, in autumn
Storage: Use fresh

Male (left) and Female (right) Kiwi Flowers
 

DESIGNING WITH THIS PLANT

Zone: 2-7
Plant Type: Vigorous, woody vine
Leaf Type: Deciduous
Forest Garden Use: Vine, climber
Cultivars/Varieties: Over a dozen cultivars (male and females)


Pollination:

  • Kiwis are dioecious (male and female plants).
  • You need one male vine for up to eight females.
  • Some self-fertile cultivars exist


Flowering: Late spring


Life Span

  • Years to Begin Bearing: 3-8 years
  • Years to Maximum Bearing: 11-16 years
  • Years of Useful Life: 30 years

 

Kiwi vine trellised to an arbor.
 


PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THIS PLANT
Size: Vigorous vine that can grow to over 100 feet high into trees if allowed.
Roots:  Heart-shaped (a number of main roots all spreading out and down)
Growth Rate: Fast


Beautiful foliage of this Hardy Kiwi: Arctic Beauty
 

GROWING CONDITIONS FOR THIS PLANT
Light: Full Sun (preferable)
Shade: Tolerates moderate shade
Moisture: Medium
pH: 5.1-8.5

Special Considerations for Growing: 

  • Tolerant of most garden conditions, but really needs well drained soils (mounds?)
  • Does not tolerate late spring frosts well – kiwis leaf out early and young shoots are not frost resistant
  • Cats are attracted to the chemicals in young leaves.

Propagation: Layering or softwood cuttings.


Maintenance:

  • Pruning annually to keep within a manageable size.
  • May need nitrogen and potassium to sustain heavy cropping
  • 
Disease/Pests: Few, but Japanese beetles are fond of Kiwi




Concerns:  Can grow very fast and high if not controlled.


Kiwi allowed to grow in a hedge.
 
Hardy Kiwi

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