Kiwis are very healthy fruit and are often grown as espalier fruit in warmer, wine-producing regions. Facade greening with kiwis on older grapevine trellises has been a thing since around 1970. Because of their very vigorous growth, kiwi plants need a lot of space and need to be trimmed several times in summer. That's why they are most often used on pergolas, which is also the way they are cultivated. They are a good choice for very high greening projects, for covered alleys, and similar projects. The mini-kiwi, as well as the arctic kiwi ('hardy kiwi'), are interesting alternatives for rougher or cooler climates.
(Latin.: Actinidia chinensis / deliciosa)
Kiwi is grown on a pergola and regularly bears fruit only in warm climates. Growing kiwi on walls or facades is a good idea in colder climates, but the location must be sunny, warm, and protected from wind. Cold microclimates, such as on north facing slopes, are not an option. The ground should be fresh or even damp, not too calcareous -- a slightly acidic garden soil with a lot of humus is good. Water regularly if the soil is dry. Kiwi plants can be found in local nurseries or ordered online.
This vigorous twining climber supplies the fruits (kiwis) of the kiwi plant with an extremely high vitamin C content. Originating in China, it spread into Europe from New Zealand around the 1950s, and is now also cultivated in Southern Europe. The growth habit of the kiwi plant falls in the category of trained/shaped trees. With commercial cultivation, the plants are usually trained as horizontal cordons with short spurs. The growth is very vigorous, with a growth height up to 20 metres or more. Shoots come early (endangered by late frosts) and are hairy, rust-red. The foliage is very healthy, flowers are yellow / white; flowering around end of May. Multiple prunings are required when the kiwi grows on a wall trellis! The acidity can be reduced by letting the fruit hang a long time and by harvesting only right before the first frost in autumn. The shelf life is long and the fruit will ripen even more when left in the refrigerator, or by storing them next to apples (they will also decay faster). The variety "Hayworth" ("Hayward") is well known. Usually dioecious, so both male and female plants need to be present for fruiting to occur. The male plant doesn't need to take up too much space on the trellis. The variety "Jenny" is monoecious and self-fertile, but the fruit is smaller. Strong growth of the plant may result in building damage (similar to wisteria). In leaf and habit, the kiwi is similar to Celastrus Orbiculatus, but the leaves of Actinidia Chinensis are larger.
The table at the bottom of the page shows which trellis designs can be used for a kiwi plant. The trunk can be trained just as a grapevine trunk would be. Choose a trellis in the medium range, or even better- in the heavy or massive ranges for more stability.
It is 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 section. On a pergola, the individual wires should be 40 - 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 under trained/shaped trees. The main axes should be 35 - 40 cm apart. The kiwi shoots grow very quickly-- so leave at least 1.5 metres distance between the trellis and downpipes or lightning rods!