Actinidia deliciosa (Kiwifruit) is a vigorous, deciduous, woody-stemmed, twining climber with broadly ovate, heart-shaped, lustrous mid-green leaves, 5-8 in. long (12-20 cm). Slightly fragrant clusters of cup-shaped, creamy-white flowers are borne in late spring. Kiwifruit is dioecious, with separate male and female plants. Successful fruit production requires a female cultivar and a male with viable pollen, unless a self-fertile cultivar is grown. Greenish brown, fuzzy, egg-shaped, edible fruits appear on female plants in early fall. They are sweet and tangy, their flavor somewhat reminiscent of pineapple. Kiwifruit is a frost-sensitive, temperate zone vine that requires plenty of heat to mature the fruit properly. Fast-growing, Kiwifruit is a rewarding plant with handsome foliage all summer long, delicious fruits and no serious pest issues. Easy to grow in a sheltered sunny position in the garden, it is perfect for trellises, arbors, fences, or walls.
At the turn of the century, Actinidia deliciosa was just a wild plant in China, but by 1970 it has been developed into a new fruit crop in New Zealand. Today, the kiwifruit is an important commercial crop grown in different parts of the world, with over a million tons of fruit per year distributed worldwide.
- Grows up to 15-30 ft. tall (4-9 m) and 6-10 ft. wide (2-3 m).
- A full sun lover, it is best grown in fertile, medium moisture, well-drained soils. Light shade is tolerated. Provide a sheltered site. Since late spring frosts and early fall frosts could kill this vine, overhead frost protection is desirable.
- Generally pest and disease free.
- When grown for fruit, pruning is carried out in winter and summer.
- Take softwood cuttings in the spring or propagate by layering. Named cultivars can be grafted using whip and tongue grafting
- Native to China