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  How To Grow Hardy Kiwi

PLANT TYPE: Perennial
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Actinidia arguta
ZONE / HARDINESS: Hardy to zone 5
MATURE PLANT SIZE: Vine; determined by trellis/support structure
LIGHT: Full sun to light shade
FLOWERING PERIOD: Late May / Early June
SOIL TYPE: Well-drained soil
pH RANGE: 6.5
KNOWN PESTS: Root knot nematodes, Spider mites & Japanese beetles
KNOWN DISEASES: Phytophthora crown & root rot


Hardy kiwi often do not survive the first growing season. This is generally due to planting in a poorly drained soil and the development of root rot or neglect after transplanting.

Survival can be improved by growing them in a five gallon container for the first season. Plants should be staked and transplanted only after they have become well established late in the first growing season or after the danger of frost is past the following season. The plant must be transplanted to the yard or the container must be protected during the winter to prevent the roots from freezing. Water the plants adequately, but not excessively.


Seed, but better cultivar are propagated by cuttings and grafts.


When choosing a site for Hardy Kiwi it is important to avoid sites which have late srping frosts, as the foliage is frost sensitive. Hardy Kiwis are not heavy feeders, but an application of compost or well-rotted manure to the hole when planting would be beneficial. Do not allow the roots to dry out during the establishmnet year. Mulching around the plants will help to keep the soil from drying out. Plant Hardy Kiwis 4-5 feet apart. Since Kiwis are a very vigorous vine and can grow to 10 feet tall, they will require the support of a trellis or fence. When the Kiwi is planted, prune the stem back to 2 buds. Once these buds develop into shoots choose the larger of the two to be the main trunk and remove all others. Train this main trunk up onto the support by tying it to a stake or a wire. Do not allow it to twine around or this will cause problems as the vine gets older. Once the main trunk has reached the desired height, nip off the growing tip. From the shoots that will begin to form, choose 2-4 shoots to serve as the main branches and remove all others.

Now that you have established the shape of the plant, future pruning will be to help ensure proper fruit set. This pruning should be done in the spring before the buds begin to grow. Hardy Kiwis mostly set fruit on wood that was produced the previous year. Remove any wood that was produced the previous year. Remove any wood that fruited the previous year and any damaged canes. Leave well spaced (10-15 inches apart) 1 year old canes. Prune these canes back and you should be removing 60 to 70% of the canes.


To determine when to pick, harvest a few fruit and allow them to soften for a few days. When fruit ripens to a suitably sweet flavor, harvest all of the fruit and refrigerate them. Fruit will store in the refrigerator for five to six weeks. Removal from the refrigerator initiates softening and ripening and should be done several days before eating. All of the hardy kiwi varieties have a similar flavor. Hardy kiwi often reach sugar levels of 20 percent and are considerably sweeter than the 'Hayward' kiwifruit.


The fruit is usually eaten raw. Hardy kiwi also contains large quantities of the enzyme actinidin, which will tenderize meat.

Need more information, visit this page:
Ohio State University Extension Service


Hardy kiwi grows in a wider range of climates than regular kiwi does. Plants tend to be easier to grow, fruit doesn't need peeling, and it tastes sweeter

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