How to grow kiwis
Find out how to grow kiwis with the help of our Grow Guide to planting, growing and harvesting.
Kiwi fruit is delicious and nutritious, being particularly rich in vitamin C. Kiwis are easy to grow – the attractive climbing vines bear heart-shaped leaves and pretty white flowers. Vigorous growers, kiwis can be planted to cover a wall, fence, pergola or unsightly shed, as long as they get plenty of sunshine and warmth.
How to grow kiwi fruit
Grow kiwi fruit in moist but well-drained soil in full sun. Most varieties do best when a male and female plant are growing together, although self-fertile varieties are available. Mulch with well-rotted manure or compost in spring and feed weekly with a high potash fertiliser in summer. Harvest the fruits from August to September.
More on growing kiwis:
How to plant kiwis
Generally you'll need to plant a male and a female kiwi cultivar to ensure good pollination and a decent crop of fruit. However, if you’re short on the amount of space required for two vines, you can opt for a self-fertile variety.
Choose a sunny, sheltered spot with rich, fertile soil for your kiwi vine to thrive. Dig a generous hole for your kiwi plant, adding in a few spadefuls of well-rotted manure. If you have room for a male and female vine, make sure they're planted a few metres apart so they have plenty of room to climb.
How to care for kiwis
Despite being an exotic fruit, kiwis are relatively easy to look after. They benefit from a good mulch in spring and a regular weekly feed with a general purpose fertiliser through the growing season.
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Fruit-producing kiwis should be pruned in summer and winter.
Growing kiwis: Problem solving
Kiwis are relatively trouble-free in terms of pests and diseases. However, young shoots can be prone to damage during cold weather, so protect with horticultural fleece.
Kiwi vines take up to four years to produce fruit, so they're a long-term investment. The fruits should be picked in August and September and left to ripen off the vine over a few weeks.
You can store fruits in a cool place or in the fridge up for three months.
Kiwi varieties to grow
- Actinidia deliciosa 'Jenny' – the only self-fertile, hardy kiwi variety. The fruits are ready to harvest in August and September
- Actinidia arguta 'Issai' – the ‘cocktail’ kiwi, commonly found in Asia, this hardy, self-fertile variety produces small fruits, the size of grapes. These ripen slightly earlier and have smooth skin. They are sweeter than other kiwi varieties and can be eaten whole
- Actinidia ‘Hayward’ – a female cultivar and the most widely grown kiwi. It's late flowering and produces large fruits
- Actinidia ‘Tormuri’ – a male cultivar, suitable for planting with ‘Hayward’ for cross-pollination