Kiwi vines are originally native to parts of southern China but have since been grown all over the world in areas such as New Zealand and Italy, which is where we import most of our fruits from now. The plant is a deciduous, vigorous climber that needs plenty of room to grow and the fuzzy, oval kiwi fruits that it produces are packed full of vitamin C.
The attractive leafy foliage brings life and colour to the garden and the delicious fruits bring fresh flavours into the home. Although kiwis are usually grown in warmer climates, it’s entirely possible to grow them right here in the UK too!
To find out how, keep reading out Kiwi Plant Care Guide and you can learn how to grow kiwi plants in the UK.
How to Grow Kiwi Plants in the UK
There are many self fertile kiwi varieties which is great news for people with smaller gardens. Planting a self fertile variety means you only have to have the one plant in order to produce fruit each year.
Other varieties are dioecious meaning you have to plant both a male and a female plant in order to grow fruits. Planting both the male and female requires a lot more space, it’s recommended to plant them at around 3–4.5 m (10–15 feet) apart.
Our hardy Kiwi Vine Gift is the ‘Jenny’ variety which is self fertile and perfect to send as a unique living gift to friends and family.
Kiwi Planting Location
Kiwi plants are vigorous climbers and need plenty of space to grow and climb. If you don’t have a large amount of space it is possible to keep them at a smaller size with the correct pruning.
The planting location needs to be temperate if you want your kiwi vine to flourish, without the right conditions your plant may only produce a small amount of flowers and fruits each year.
To help your plant produce an abundance of flowers and fruit choose a spot in the garden that is warm with plenty of protection from the elements, especially in the winter. Sheltered, south or west facing walls with full sun are usually ideal and more protection can be added if necessary.
As kiwi plants are climbers they need to be provided with the right support to grow. Large walls, fences and trellises are all great options, they can also be grown over pergolas just like grape vines.
Soil for Kiwi Plants
Kiwi plants prefer soil slightly on the acidic side with plenty of nutrients and organic matter mixed through. For extra organic matter and nutrients, mix through some well rotted compost through the soil before planting.
Always make sure that the planting area is well draining, kiwi plants do not tolerate having “wet feet” and this may lead to root rot.
Once you’ve found the perfect place, dig a whole that's just larger than the rooball and place the plant in. Backfill the edges and firm the soil down. Straight after planting, give the soil a good water to give the roots time to establish in their new home.
Tie the stems to the supports to help train the plant.
Watering Kiwi Plants
Kiwi plants like their soil to stay moist but never wet or standing in water. When planted into the ground they shouldn’t need watering too often unless it’s been particularly dry weather.
Increase watering in the summer during the growing season and while the plant is flowering and fruiting. Check the soil weekly in warm weather to see if it needs a drink, avoid letting the soil dry out too much as growing fruit is thirsty work!
Pruning Kiwi Plants
To keep a kiwi plant productive you need to prune each year removing a few of the oldest canes each time. The fruits grow from the side shoots the younger canes that are around one year old. Older canes are still productive but can usually be cut away at around 4 years old to make room for fresh canes to start growing in. Only remove between 1 and 2 canes each year.
Prune in February, after the fruiting period is over. Look for the oldest canes (these are usually the thickest) and cut back right down to soil level. Prune in a way that will create an even and open plant, to allow good air flow and an even spread of sunlight throughout.
Unpruned plants and grow wild and unruly and overtime will become less productive.
Feeding and mulching Kiwi Plants
Mulching is a great way to conserve soil moisture and add well needed nutrients back into the soil. Add a fresh layer of mulch in early spring to get the growing season off to a good start. Avoid pushing the mulch too close to the stem as this can lead to rotting.
Throughout the summer when your plant is getting ready to fruit, apply a good liquid fertiliser weekly. Use a general, multi purpose feed and follow packet instructions.
When the fruits have set, apply feed once a month until September and then stop feeding. Growing kiwi fruit has never been easier!
Kiwi Plant Pests and Problems
Kiwis prefer a slightly more temperate climate and won’t tolerate frost. Young shoots and new growth can experience frost damage if not protected with fleecing.
Other pests and problems include red spider mites and aphids, however, this is uncommon on a healthy plant and if caught early enough it can be treated quickly.
Harvesting Kiwi Fruits
Kiwi fruits start growing through the summer as small, green berries and depending on the variety the fruits should reach their full size in around August. Even though they’ve reached their full size, they’re not ready for picking just yet.
Pick your kiwis while they are still quite hard and just as they are changing colour from green to brown. This is the perfect time to harvest and store as they will continue to ripen off the branch.
Harvesting kiwis too early will result in a tart tasting fruit as the sugars have not yet had a chance to sweeten. If you pick them too late there’s a chance that they have turned to mush.
You can store your kiwis in one of two ways:
- Store in your fruit bowl - this allows for the fruit to ripen up more quickly, especially if kept next to bananas.
- Store in the fridge - this is the better option if you want to store for longer periods of time.
Self fertile varieties of kiwi usually produce fruits that are smaller in size and much less hairy than the ones you find in the supermarket.
Send a Kiwi Vine as a Gift
Our beautiful Kiwi Vine makes a wonderful gift to send to friends and family who love fruit, they’ll be delighted when they pick their first batch of fruits and taste the sweet, bright green flesh. Whether it’s to celebrate a birthday, anniversary or even a housewarming, there’s nothing this gift isn’t perfect for! We have plenty of other fruit vines as gifts too, check them out. Order today for fast delivery around the UK.
Simply add the Kiwi Vine to basket, personalise a greetings card and nominate a day for delivery. We’ll handle the rest!