How to Care for a Kiwi Vine

Overview

Native to forests in parts of China, kiwi vines (Actinidia deliciosa) require long growing seasons of at least 240 frost-free days to produce fruit. The kiwi vine is normally hardy down to about 0 degrees F, but new hardy kiwi varieties can withstand much lower, sub-zero temperatures. Kiwi vines grow 9 to 12 feet high and 18 to 24 feet long, usually on a trellis system. The vines bear oval or oblong fruits up to 2 ½ inches long and covered in brownish skin with dense, short, stiff hairs. Inside the fruits is firm, bright-green flesh with tiny purplish-black seeds. Care for kiwi vines by providing a strong support system for the vines and regular watering throughout summer.

Step 1

Provide a strong climbing support for your kiwi vines, such as a trellis system. Ensure the support is at least 6 feet tall and sturdy enough to support the vine, keeping in mind that some kiwi varieties have female vines that can produce up to 250 pound of fruit in a single season.

Step 2

Water your kiwi vines deeply to soak the soil down to the roots at least once per week throughout the growing season. Water the kiwi vines more frequently during the hotter weeks in summer to prevent the vines from becoming stressed.

Step 3

Feed your kiwi vines in March and once per month during summer with a high-nitrogen citrus or avocado tree fertilizer, following the instructions on the label. Spread a 2-inch layer of composted manure or organic mulch on the ground around the vines in early spring, but keep the materials about 1 inch away from the vine.

Step 4

Prune you kiwi vine once each year in winter, cutting the older canes back to the point where they connect with the previous summer's new shoots. Train your kiwi vines so that the central stem grows up to the top of the climbing support and develop its lateral vines to grow along the width of the support.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't forget to plant your male and female kiwi vines close enough together so that proper cross-pollination can occur to produce fruit.

Things You'll Need

  • Climbing support
  • Garden hose
  • Citrus or avocado tree fertilizer
  • Composted manure or organic mulch (optional)
  • Pruning shears

References

  • California Rare Fruit Growers: Kiwifruit

Who Can Help

  • Sustainable and Urban Gardening: Actinidia / Hardy Kiwi
Keywords: growing kiwifruit, kiwi vine care, grow Actinidia deliciosa

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.