Kiwi

You might think that you are never going to be able to grow these strange, furry yet delicious fruits in a UK garden, but you would be wrong. There are cultivars that are frost hardy or fully hardy and they will usually thrive as attractive climbing plants in a sunny and sheltered spot and will produce their delicious and healthy fruits to add variety to your fruit basket.

Growing Kiwi:

When choosing kiwi fruit plants to buy you should bear in mind that only some kiwi plants are self-fertile and with some varieties you will need to buy more than one plant and have a male and a female specimen in order to get any fruit. Also bear in mind that kiwis are a long term project – these plants will usually start to produce fruit around 3-4 years after planting, so you will have to be patient. Plant in late autumn or early spring.

Kiwis are vigorous plants and you will need to give them plenty of space. They should be planted around 3-4.5m apart and can grow up to 9m long. Kiwis will grow well in a sunny and sheltered spot and the ideal position is against a south or west facing wall or fence. In milder areas kiwis can be grown in the open but this will not usually work further north in the UK. Wherever you grow them, kiwis will be particularly sensitive to frost when they are young and will need some protection from frost in the spring.

Kiwis will grow best in a fertile soil that is slightly acid and well-drained yet rich in organic matter. Place a mulch of well-rotted manure or compost around the plants in late winter but take care to avoid contact with the stem as this can cause it to rot. Feed the plant with a general purpose organic fertiliser or plant feed when growth starts in the spring.

Kiwis need plenty of water in the summer and you will have to water, perhaps even as much as three times per week in the hottest and driest parts of the season.

Kiwis are best grown as espaliers or trained over a pergola. Pinch out the tips of the shoots after they have developed five leaves – these will produce fruit the following year.

Why grow kiwi in the garden?

Kiwis add an air of exoticism to any fruit garden and can enliven your fruit basket. These fruits are delicious on their own or baked into various pies. While they can encounter various problems, once established they should provide you with fruit that you can use to impress other gardeners that you know.

Quick Facts

Latin Name
Actinidia deliciosa