Deciduous, Edible fruit, Vines
These East Asian vines are remarkably vigorous and beautiful, producing fruit whose flavor is a combination of melon, strawberry, and banana. Fuzzy-skinned kiwifruit (the type sold in markets) has a delicious piquancy; other kinds taste sweeter. Unless you have a self-fruitful variety, you will need to grow a male plant nearby to pollenize the fruit-bearing female.
Supply sturdy support such as a pergola, fence, or wall; guide and tie vines to the structure as necessary.
Grow in well-drained soil with regular applications of nitrogen fertilizer. Plants burn in salty or alkaline soils. During dormancy, prune for best form and fruit production. Cut back to one or two main trunks and remove closely parallel or crossing branches. Fruit is borne on shoots from year-old or older wood; cut out shoots that have fruited for 3 years and shorten younger shoots, leaving three to seven buds beyond previous summer’s fruit. In summer, shorten overlong shoots and unwind any shoots twining around main branches. Because the male pollenizer’s sole purpose is flower production, you can prune it back drastically after bloom.
It is much like fuzzy-skinned kiwi vine in appearance but has smaller flowers, fruit, and leaves (which are smooth and fuzzless). The 1–1 1/2-in.-long, fuzzless fruits are eaten skin and all. Green-fruited female varieties ‘Ananasnaja’, ‘Jumbo’, and ‘Hood River’ need a male variety (may be sold simply as “male”) for pollen. ‘Issai’, also with green fruit, is a self-fruitful variety. A. purpurea and its hybrid ‘Ken’s Red’ produce small red fruit with red flesh; each needs a pollenizer. Pick when grape-size fruit starts to soften slightly; taste is the best test of ripeness.
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