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Actinidia

Kiwi
Actinidiaceae
Deciduous, Edible fruit, Vines

Most kiwi vines are grown for delicious fruit (see the entry on Kiwi), but some are prized for their flamboyant foliage. Clusters of small, fragrant, white flowers appear in early summer. Female varieties produce a bonus crop of small, tasty fruits, but male plants (which are nonfruiting) typically have better leaf color.

Kiwi vines grow best in fertile, well-drained soil. They climb by twining, so provide a sturdy support and train new stems into place as they lengthen. Thin out growth in late dormant season, and trim stems to fit support.

Actinidia kolomikta ‘Issai’ (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)
Actinidia kolomikta ‘Issai’ (photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.)

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Actinidia kolomikta

This native of eastern Asia grows rapidly to 15 ft. or more, producing a marvelous foliage mass of 3–5-in.-long leaves with an elongated heart shape: some in solid green, others white-splashed green, and others green that is heavily variegated in pink to red. Colors are best in cool weather or in partial shade in warmer zones.

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