Hardy kiwi vines produce small fruits with edible skin, unlike the more commonly known fuzzy-skinned kiwi varieties. Some varieties of hardy kiwi survive in temperatures as low as -40 degrees F, though the fruit is damaged in temperatures below 30 degrees F. Kiwi vines also add an ornamental quality to your landscaping, as they can be trained to climb trellises or pergolas. Caring for your hardy kiwi ensures it remain healthy and productive for years to come.
Plant kiwi vines in a well-drained garden with full sun near a support structure such as a trellis or fence. Avoid areas subjected to high winds, as wind easily damages the vines and fruits.
Water kiwi vines once weekly, providing about 2 inches of water each time. Water twice weekly during long, dry periods or if the leaves begin to brown and drop off.
Tie loose vines to the trellis support as necessary to hold them upright. Use cloth or plastic plant ties. Wrap the tie around the vine and trellis, forming a figure-eight shape. Place the cross section of the figure eight between the vine and the support to prevent rubbing and damage to the vine.
Apply 2 to 4 ounces of slow-release fertilizer per kiwi vine at planting and 1/2 lb. of 10-10-10 analysis fertilizer at the end of the growing season. Use 1 lb. of 10-10-10 in spring the second year and apply 3/4 lb. after the plants finish blooming in early summer. In the third year and beyond, increase the fertilizer 2 lbs. in spring and 1 lb. after flowering.
Prune hardy kiwi in winter when the plant is dormant. Cut off lateral shoots along the main vine for the first 6 feet of height, then allow the kiwi vine to branch along the top of the trellis. Each winter, prune away dead and non-productive canes to make room for new cane production.