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Hardy Kiwi

Hardy kiwi are interesting at those places where the climate is too rough for real kiwi. Another plus: the foliage is robust and is persistent from early spring to late autumn. Hardy kiwi are interesting for pergolas, covered alleys and to build a roof of leaves, but also as espalier fruit on facades. Ornamental kiwi may be an interesting alternative.

Hardy kiwi. Latin: actinidia arguta

Unripe Mini-kiwi

Requirements / Origin

The hardy kiwi can grow even in rough location in an altitude of around 600 meters, if the space is sunny or wind protected. The soil in the location needs to be fresh and even damp, water the planter in case of dryness. One of the main German suppliers and specialist for Hardy Kiwis is Werner Merkel in Chemnitz, his varieties are availble at kiwiri.de.

Characteristics and Pruning

The hardy kiwi is a vine, that originates from Japan, China and Korea. It reliably yields fruit every year and are undemanding and easy to care for. The growth is not quite as fast as with real kiwi, with a growth height up to approx. 15 m. The shoots are smooth, brown-red with small hairs.The foliage lasts from April to November and the leaves are very healthy. The flowering is in June / July with yellow / white flowers that remain hidden under the leaves. Leave the small fruit hang right until the first fruit for optimal ripening. The vitamin C content is very high, the fruit can be ripened further in the refrigerator. The shoots need to be thinned out annually. Yellow autumn colouring of the leaves! The kiwi variety "Issai" is monoecious (see above). Due to the high frost resistance, even culture in pots is also possible. The habitus is very similar to the celastrus, especially to C. scandens. Celastrus, however, does not have such a pronounced club-shaped twig thickening under each petiole andthe leaf edges are not as sharp.

Growing support for hardy kiwi

There is a table at the bottom of the page with all suitable trellis designs for the hardy kiwi. Choose a trellis in the medium, or even better heavy / massive ranges. The trunk should be trained just like a grapevine trunk would be. It's vital to guide the kiwi plant so that the main shoots and trunk won't wind around the trellis wires or lattices - the exact procedure is described in more detail in the wisteria page. On a pergola, the individual wires should be 40 to 50 cm apart, but only every second cable will hold a branch: the other wires will hold the green shoots and leaves of the year. For facade or wall trellises, the plant is trained as described in "shaped trees". The main axes should be 35 to 40 cm apart. The kiwi shoots grow very quickly - leave at least 1.5 meters distance between the trellis and downpipes or lightning rods!

Suitable wire rope trellis

Click on the picture to see a list of suitable trellis designs.

Actinidia with their autumn foliage late in autumn
Development of a mini-kiwi on wire rope, medium range "classic"
Kiwifruit - no summer pruning
Actinidia arguta - hardy kiwi
Mini-kiwi without summer pruning
Actinidia arguta on a facade
Small kiwi on wire rope
Facade greening with a hardy kiwi on a wire rope trellis

Suitable wire rope trellises

Please click on the graphics to see a detailed view of each design!

 = suitable              = sometimes suitable              = not suitable