Native to southern China, cultivation spread to New Zealand in the early 1900’s where it was produced in large scale.
- 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.
USING THIS PLANT
- Fresh eating
- Fresh juice (usually mixed with other juices)
- Drying pureed fruit into fruit “leather”
- 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
DESIGNING WITH THIS PLANT
Plant Type: Vigorous, woody vine
Leaf Type: Deciduous
Forest Garden Use: Vine, climber
Cultivars/Varieties: Over a dozen cultivars (male and females)
- 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
- Years to Begin Bearing: 3-8 years
- Years to Maximum Bearing: 11-16 years
- Years of Useful Life: 30 years
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
Light: Full Sun (preferable)
Shade: Tolerates moderate shade
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.
- 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.