Kiwi plants are fast growing deciduous vines that prefer warm temperate climates and if given the right conditions will produce an incredibly tasty, edible fruit. Kiwis grow similar to grape vines but even more quickly. They can achieve a spread of 20-30 feet depending on the variety and require sturdy support like an arbor, trellis or pergola.
Fuzzy Kiwi - Actinidia deliciosa
This is the type found in our grocery stores with the bright green flesh and fuzzy skin. It is not terribly hardy and can be difficult to grow in cool climates. Notable varieties include Hayward and Vincent.
Hardy Kiwi - Actinidia arguta
A better choice for the Pacific Northwest is the hardy Kiwi. It is more winter hardy and more reliable in our climate. The fruit on these plants is more similar to a grape than the traditional fuzzy kiwi. They have smooth edible skins, excellent flavour and aroma. Notable varieties include the self-fertile Issai and the Male and Female Hardy Kiwi
Arctic Beauty Kiwi - Actinidia kolomikta
Often used as an ornamental plant, this kiwi is extremely hardy and offers attractive green. white and pink foliage. Fruit is smaller than the hardy kiwi but is very sweet with good aroma and flavour. for the health conscious, the fruit of this species is also extremely high in Vitamin C. Available in both male and female varieties.
Most kiwi plants require a sheltered sunny location in order to thrive and produce fruit. One variety, Actinidia kolomikta or Arctic Beauty Beauty, prefers some shade.
Kiwis require a moist, but well drained soil. As they have shallow roots, add a protective layer mulch around the base of the plant to help preserve moisture and keep the roots warm - which Kiwis love! In the summer, Kiwis require a steady supply of moisture. If you see your kiwi plant drooping, add water quick. A heavy deep watering twice a week in the warm season is ideal - water more if required.
As with most fruiting plants, use a fertilizer that has a high middle number like Arts Garden Pro Fruit Tree and Berry Food. Kiwi's are heavy feeders so multiple yearly fertilizing is recommended. Once in early spring, and as fruit sets in July should be considered the minimum.
Kiwi plants are either male or female, except for a few self-fertile varieties. As such, its essential that you plant both male and female plants in the same area. Male plants don't produce fruit, but pollinate the females. One male is generally recommended for every half-dozen or so females. It is also best to plant the same species. Self-fertile varieties require no additional pollination.
Harvesting Kiwi Fruit
Kiwis are long lived plants and will produce fruit for decades. However, they often do not produce when young. Expect your first crops somewhere between 2-5 years of age.
For More Information
For more information about growing Kiwi plants, visit or call Arts Nursery at 604.882.1201. We carry multiple varieties and dozens of kiwi plants throughout the year. You can also view our kiwi selection online.