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Deciduous, Edible fruit, Vines

Genus of about 40 species of deciduous climbers from Asia. Most are grown for their delicious fruit (see the entry on Kiwi), but several have attractive foliage and interesting, fragrant flowers.

Actinidia kolomikta
Actinidia kolomikta

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Actinidia kolomikta

This eastern Asian species is grown for its flamboyant foliage. Grows rapidly to 15 ft. or more, producing a marvelous foliage mass made up of 3–5-in.-long leaves with an elongated heart shape: some in solid green, others white-splashed green, and others green heavily variegated in pink to red.

Female varieties produce a bonus crop of small fruits, but male plants (which are nonfruiting) typically have better leaf color. Colors are best in cool weather and—in warmer zones—in partial shade. Clusters of small, fragrant, white flowers appear in early summer.

Plants climb by twining; provide sturdy support and train new stems into place as they lengthen. Thin out growth in late dormant season.

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