Favorite Kiwi?

bart1(6/7 Northern VA)February 4, 2008

I've searched the archives and I've found a lot of discussions of kiwi polonators, but none on the best or worse varities.

My question to you kiwi vets out there is, what are your favorite kiwi varities? Which one(s) should I get for garden in northern Virgina?



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Mine are only a year old, so I can't comment on taste, but I believe Edible Landscaping (a few hours away, Afton, VA) has had success growing all their hardy vareities in their orchard. The owner, Micheal, is very nice and quite knowledgeable (and I think EL was one of the 1st to offer hardy kiwis in the US). I'm sure he'd be happy to give you his thoughts if you contacted him.

Most of what I've read has indicated that Anna, Ken's Red, and Dumbarton Oaks are all tasty, but that the primary benefit of Issai is that it is self-fertile and quick to bear (not tops in taste).

Here is a link that might be useful: EL's kiwis

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 12:39PM
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I recently bought a Ken's Red, I heard as well that Ken's Red is one of the best tasting.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 3:00PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I have heard Dumbarton Oaks is not quite as good. Issai is no good based on my experience with it, its not vigorous enough and it drops fruit. Its not that hard to plant a male right by the female and keep it pruned small, so the self-fertile aspect of Issai means little. Geneva 3 fruited last summer for me and was quite good, but I have nothing to compare it to yet other than store kiwis. Anna (Ananasnaya), Kens Red, Michigan State, and Myers Cordifolia are supposed to be very good and I am growing all of them for five years now; no fruit yet.

Implicitly you can see the downside of all of the hardy kiwis: they take several years to fruit. I expect I will get most of them fruiting in the coming summer.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 5:09PM
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bart1(6/7 Northern VA)

Thanks everyone!

djofnelson - I do know of Edible Landscaping and will give them a call. Michael helped with with some peach tree choices a couple of years ago. Thanks for the suggestion.

Scott - I know what you mean......I don't want to wait to plant until yours are ready for the taste test results so I'll just have to roll the dice!

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   February 7, 2008 at 8:42AM
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In an article by David Karp, The Fruit Detective, he visited Roger Meyer's farm, tasted various kiwis, and said that:
"one of the most compelling varieties we tried was the Cordifolia--a smooth, acorn-shaped mini-kiwi with intensely sweet, flavorful pulp. For once, a green-fleshed kiwi that cried, "eat more of me!"
I had read somewhere that Ken's Red was excellent also. I'm growing the Early Cordifolia, Ken's Red, and a pollinator, but no fruit yet.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 11:34AM
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It has been one year since this post and I was wondering if there were any updates and thoughts on this. My husband is building me an arbor now. It will be 16' long, 10' wide and 8' in height. He is putting post down with cement and we will use a cattle panel ( post in the center of the arbor ) on top. On the top sides we plan to use a half panel. I want a Cordifolia for sure and a Ken's Red. I have been told this arbor will easily hold a 3rd female and I was thinking of including the Anna. Do you think this arbor can hold 3 females?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 7:16AM
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logrock(7b (NW of Atlanta))

This is a thread worth keeping alive, especially as taste test results come in.

goatster, do you have any pictures of that trellis? Is the top made of horizontal wires or a cattle panel laid flat? It sounds like a pergola type structure so one plant in each corner (3 females and 1 male) seems natural. Wooden vertical poles tend to warp inwards under continuous pressure so I hope he anticipated that. Or maybe he used steel?

Scott, Wow... 5 years and no fruit? Did they have flowers that got frozen or are they all just growing real slow?

Some of my flowers survived so I may get to taste Dumbarton Oaks and Ken's Red this year. We tasted some "Hardy Kiwi" from Target a few years ago but have no idea where they came from or what variety, but got us hooked enough to commit a signifiant part of our backyard to a kiwi vineyard.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 10:10AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I'll try to add any new results this fall. Last year nothing new fruited except a couple Michigan States and some critter got all the ripe ones (as well as all of my Red and Yellow chinensis kiwis). This year I have some of my seedling chinensis kiwis blossoming so I hope I get some fruits there, early fruits in particular.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 10:04AM
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bart1(6/7 Northern VA)

Anyone have any updates to this thread? It's been a few years now!

Last year was the first year I got any friut on my 4 females (Anna, Ken's Red, Dumbarton Oaks, and Cordifolia). Unfortunately, I didn't realize they were ripe when they were and lost a lot of them. I also didn't keep any tasting notes, but what I do recall was that they all tasted "good" and none tasted "bad". There were some subtle differences but nothing to make me say, "this one is the best" or "this one is the worst".

Since I first planted them in 2008, there seems to be a bunch of new varieties out there. Has anyone grown:

Fifty Five

I'm thinking of putting in 2 or 3 more and would like to get some that are the "most different" from the ones I already have (ie different flavor, different ripening time, different look, etc).

So far I've zeroed in on Fifty Five because it's the earliest ripening one that I've found.

So, what are your thoughts and reviews and lessons learned in the last 3 years of Kiwi growing?


    Bookmark   January 11, 2012 at 9:13AM
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I'm trying to make my selections right now. I built a trellis tunnel that is 20 feet long, 5 feet wide and 7.5 feet high. I was going to plant 1 male, 1 Issai (bc it is supposed to produce as soon as 1 year after planting), and 1 other female. I'm trying to decide between Ananasnaya and Dumbarton Oaks. Dumbarton Oaks ripens 3 weeks earlier, which is always a good thing, and it's supposed to taste great. I'm in zone 6b, but crazy weather happens here. There has been the occasional mid-September snow storm. Or October 1st blizzard. So I'm wondering if Issai really does ripen that early, bc then it will be worth it. If it doesn't, then I would probably replace it with Ananasnaya. I was going to put the male plus one female on one side of the trellis (keeping the male cut way back after pollination) and the other female on the other side. Opinions?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 4:58PM
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I'd also be interested in the results of this old thread. I'm planting Anna and Chang Bai this year. Has anyone tried Chang Bai? I bought it just because I thought it was unique, but I could find almost no information on it.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 5:29PM
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bart1(6/7 Northern VA)

I'm probably in 6b and last year I got my first Dumbarton Oaks on August 20, which my notes say may have been too late as there were many overripe ones on the ground and few on the vine. Last year was also a very early year for things heating up in the spring so that date may be a little earlier than normal.

I harvested my Anna's September 23, but my notes say that this may have possibly been a little late as some were rotting on the ground, but they were very sweet.

In 2011 I harvested my Dumbarton Oaks Sept 2nd, but again, my notes say I should have picked them a week earlier. I harvested my Anna's on Sept 25.

Obviously, I haven't figured out how and when to properly harvest the kiwis. There seems to be a period when some are ripe, some are still hard and some are already rotting on the ground. Slightly underripe fruit will soften up in the 'fridge too, so I think you can get away with harvesting them earlier than optimal if bad weather is coming.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 8:20PM
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I have an an arctic kolomitka variety (I don't recommend these hard to keep alive) called krupnopladnaya and I use to have September sun as well but it died before fruiting. after a couple years of trying I got a small amount of fruit finally last year on the krup, I was unimpressed. tasted like a store bought kiwi except a lot less sour, and I think I prefer more tartness. it was similar to a gold kiwi if you've ever had those.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 10:25AM
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