Kiwi plants are perennial vines or creepers. There are dozens of varieties of kiwi plants, including the specially developed hardy kiwi for northern locations. Female kiwi plants will produce fruit once they have reached maturity, but first they must flower and be fertilised by a male kiwi plant. You can encourage your kiwi to bloom, but nature makes the final determination.
To ensure healthy growth, choose the kiwi appropriate to your climate. Many of the kiwi varieties require a minimum growing season of 240 days without frost. Buy a hardy kiwi plant if your local weather does meet this standard. An aggressively growing vine, it will blossom in spring but produce an edible grape-size fruit rather than the larger kiwi fruit sold in grocery stores.
Plant your kiwi in a sunny location. Because it is a tropical plant, the more sunlight it receives the healthier it will be, and the likelier to flower.
Fertilise when you plant your kiwi, using a pound of organic fertiliser (peat moss, steer manure or an organic blend) mixed with 56.7 to 113gr of a balanced slow release fertiliser. Using a trowel, thoroughly combine the fertiliser with the soil. Water well once the kiwi is planted.
Protect the young vine trunks from frost damage in winter by wrapping them with tree wrap.
After the kiwi has been established in your environment for a year, begin a winter pruning schedule to encourage optimal growth in the warmer months. Experts recommend pruning each vine down to one leader that is tied to your kiwi trellis. After the first year, prune your female vines once in December or January, leaving the new vines from the previous year's growth. Prune male vines once they have finished blooming in the spring.
Fertilise regularly to encourage blossoming and fruition. In early March, spread a citrus tree fertiliser or a 10-10-10 mix (nitrogen+phosphate+potash) around the vine with plenty of water. Fertilise again at the onset of summer.
Mulch around the base of the vines with aged manure and straw, avoiding direct contact with the vine to prevent crown rot. This protective measure, when combined with a regular fertilising and pruning schedule, should facilitate the flowering of your kiwi plant by its third year.
- Both male and female kiwi plants will bloom. To produce fruit, up to 10 female vines need one male vine for fertilisation.
- Prevent direct contact of fertiliser with the roots of your kiwi, as they are very susceptible to fertiliser burn.