Hardy Kiwi Questions

spladle160July 24, 2012

Hi all, I just started growing hardy kiwis this spring and have a few questions and wanted to share some photos. My hardy kiwi growing started when I ordered a meader and anna along with a half dozen other plants from willis orchards. I built an arbor for the kiwis (see below) and everything except for the meader kiwi died. Then last fall I went to edible landscaping and bought another male and 4 females. (kens red, anna, dunbarton oaks, National Arboretum #7). I wintered the new kiwis in 5 gallon buckets for pots and built them a trellis this spring. Hope you all like the pics and I'm hoping a few of you kiwi experts can help me with a few questions.

1. how long has it taken you to get fruit? Can proper pruning and fertilizing shorten this?

2. What fertilizer do you use? how much how often?

3. what's your favorite cultivar?

4. Can you help me identify this fuzzy vine willis sent me as a replacement for my anna hardy kiwi? It doesn't look a thing like my other anna or any other hardy kiwi I've ever seen.

Thanks and happy growing.

P.S. if any nearby kiwi growers would like to get together let me know.

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original arbor, I'm thinking of putting a glider under it.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 8:40PM
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Four months of growth, tertiary structure.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 8:42PM
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any idea what this is? it doesn't look like a hardy kiwi to me

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 8:48PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

The fuzzy thing is a fuzzy kiwi, actinidia deliciosa. I prefer fuzzy kiwis, they produce more, larger, and tastier fruit, and fruit sooner. They should be hardy in your zone. The problem with it being unknown is it could be a male. Also the deliciosa and the arguta may not pollinate each other since the bloom may not overlap.

Willis is not a highly rated nursery so its not surprising that so many died. Avoid them.

You need to remove all that grass competition and put down some mulch to minimize weeds. It makes a big difference for small young plants.

Don't over-fertilize, once kiwis get going they grow like crazy. In the first few years use a cup of 10-10-10 per plant, or similar. I use a handful of organic 5-5-5 on each of my plants.

In terms of varieties, I like Ken's Red a lot. You already have that one. Make sure you get two males if you have that many kiwis, if one dies you don't want to miss fruit for 4-5 years waiting for the new male to get going. Arguta can take many years to fruit, my Myers Cordifolia has not fruited in 10 years. Kens Red took eight years for me. I would recommend getting a Saanichton fuzzy and a fuzzy male, and keep your other fuzzy and it can either be another female or a backup male. Saanichton has been my most reliable fuzzy kiwi, every year I get many fruits. Harvest them in November and put them in the fridge until February.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 10:39PM
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I planted 2 hardy kiwi this spring and one is doing great and is already about 5 feet tall but the other is small and very thinly vined. I also don't know which is the male and which the is the female. I had help planting them and the tags came off before I had a chance to see what went where, so now I have no idea which sex I should get to replace the vine that isn't thriving. I don't have room for more than two when you consider the adult size. Is there a difference in growth between male and female? Is the difference between the smaller and slower to grow vine a sex thing? Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 11:17AM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

Scott, Good advice to get a back-up male. I got two female kolomiktas and one male and the male died. I know it was my fault as it was in a pot and I missed watering it during a particularly bad heat wave. So now I need to buy one more and then also pay the shipping. Thankfully the females will only have a year up on the male. Worse is that I may be tempted to purchase something else while I'm at it. Ugh!

Is it possible to propagate kiwi through air-layering?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 2:37PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Tethered, its pretty much impossible to tell without flowers. Either wait and see or buy one of each to hedge your bets. If one of the varieties was Issai it is probably the weak one, it is a much slower grower.

MHG, I believe kiwis can be air-layered but I have never done it. Rooting green cuttings is the most common and reliable method. I use grafting myself, I have a bunch of roots I graft varieties on to. They are very easy to graft.


    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 8:44PM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

Hardy kiwi air layers easily. One of mine did it on its own while still in a pot. After I planted in the ground, I buried one shoot, and dug it up as a new plant the next season.


    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 11:24PM
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I have two female and one male hardy (anna I believe). I planted them 8 years ago and moved then two years ago. This year I built a strong trellis, but have yet to see any fruit. I want to plant a fuzzy or two. Can they cross polinate?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 7:10AM
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Rama Kamishetty

Hi spladle160,

I am planning to buy kiwis from willis orchards. I want to see how your plants are doing. Did you have fruits? I never tried non fuzzy ones. I am thinking which one to plant.

Please give me some advice.

Thank you,

    Bookmark   March 19, 2015 at 7:59AM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

I'd suggest Issai and Ken's Red. Issai because it is small, compact and tastes great. It also bears very quickly and can set some fruit even if your male pollinator doesn't bloom. Ken's Red takes a long time to bear, but I have heard that it is the best flavored. Mine (planted in 2011), should be ready this year, as it flowered last year.

Here's a thread where I described my harvest last year.

Also, I'd recommend against Willis. They have a horrible reputation. Instead, Rolling River Nursery and Whitman Farms have sent me great kiwis. I don't see Issai at either of them at the moment, so you may want to try one from Stark Brothers, which should be much better than Willis.

    Bookmark   last Saturday at 8:15AM
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