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How to Care for a Kiwi Plant

By Frank Whittemore ; Updated September 21, 2017

Kiwi plants are vines, climbing readily and growing up to 24 feet long. They have rounded, green leaves, small yellowish-white flowers and oblong fruit that is covered with tiny brown hairs. While kiwi plants require a substantial support such as a trellis on which to grow, they are relatively care-free and easy to nurture.

Plant your kiwis in a location that has full sun and is protected from wind. The soil should drain well, be relatively rich in organic material, and have a pH between 5 and 6.5. Plant male and female vines to ensure pollination.

Construct a trellis or other permanent structure to support the weight of the vines.

Plant each vine near a post in the structure that will support it, then train the vine to grow up the post. Encourage the vine to grow across the structure as well, forming a primary vine with lateral canes.

Water regularly during the summer. Do not allow the vine to become stressed during dry periods. Spread 2 to 3 inches of mulch around the base of the plant to help keep the soil damp.

Spread high-nitrogen fertilizer such as citrus or avocado fertilizer around the plant in the spring. Do not feed kiwi plants late in the season.

Prune in winter to maximize fruit production in the growing season. Trim back lateral canes on the main vine once they have fruited for two seasons; this will encourage secondary cane growth from the laterals in the following season.

Harvest fruit in the late fall or early winter when the seeds in the fruit are black. Store ripe fruit in the refrigerator.

 

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About the Author

 

In Jacksonville, Fla., Frank Whittemore is a content strategist with over a decade of experience as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy and a licensed paramedic. He has over 15 years experience writing for several Fortune 500 companies. Whittemore writes on topics in medicine, nature, science, technology, the arts, cuisine, travel and sports.