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Kiwi (Actinidia deliciosa)
Kiwi (Actinidia deliciosa)

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Zone
Zones 4-9, 12-24, 29-31
Full SunPartial Sun
Full, Partial
Regular Water
Moderate

Kiwi (Common)

Kiwifruit
Actinidiaceae
Deciduous, Edible fruit, Vines

From eastern Asia. Fast-growing, twining vines reach 30 ft., are grown for fruit with flavor that is a combination of melon, strawberry, and banana. Fuzzy-skinned kiwifruit (the type sold in markets) has a delicious piquancy; the other kinds are sweeter. Unless you have a self-fruitful variety, you will need to grow a male plant nearby to pollinate the female (fruit-bearing) plant.

Supply sturdy supports, such as a trellis, an arbor, or a patio overhead. You can also train kiwi vines to cover walls and fences; guide and tie vines to the support as necessary. These vines prefer good, well-drained soil and regular applications of nitrogen fertilizer. Plants are sensitive to salt burn in alkaline soils. In fall, harvest fruit while it is firm and let it ripen off the tree; fruit left on the vine too long will spoil or be eaten by birds. Start harvesting when the first fruits just start to soften or when fuzzy kiwis turn from greenish brown to fully brown.

During dormant season, prune for 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 male pollenizer’s sole purpose is flower production, you can prune it back drastically after bloom.

‘Chico Male’

This is a male variety used as a pollinator for any female variety.

‘Hayward’

Creamy spring flowers are up to 1 1/2 in. wide. Fuzzy brown fruits are the size of eggs, mature in October–November. They must be picked and ripened off the tree, like pears. Egg cartons are good storage units. This is the standard commercial variety.

‘Saanichton’

This variety was bred to perform well in cool-summer climates. It produces 1 1/2-in. creamy white flowers in spring, and fuzzy egg-size fruit in October–November. It must be ripened off the vine; egg cartons are good storage units. Needs a male pollenizer.

‘Tomuri’

This is a male variety needed to pollinate female kiwis.

‘Vincent’

In spite of its name, Vincent is a female variety bred to fruit well in areas with little winter chill. It produces 1 1/2-in., creamy-white flowers in spring, and egg-size fuzzy fruit in October-November. Needs a male pollinator like 'Tomuri'.

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