Kiwi fruits — A Hardy Vine For Zones 6-9 With Abundant Fruits

There are more than 60 species of Kiwi fruit!

Kiwi, also nicknamed Chinese Gooseberry,  is a tasty delicacy that really isn't that hard to grow in zone 9.

It is a woody,  perennial vine.

Almost all fuzzy kiwifruit sold in grocery stores is the Actinidia deliciosa:  a deliciously tart-sweet, juicy, fruit known for its fuzzy, brown exterior.

We now also have low chill varieties of fuzzy kiwi, classified as Actinidia chinensis, and equally delicious, suited for propagation in the home orchard in zone 9.

Here's what we have available for 2016:

Hardy Kiwi comparison

Comparison of smaller Hardy Kiwi to the common Kiwi fruit
photo courtesy of Wikipedia: Hiperpinguino


Actinidia chinensis

Fuzzy Kiwi are suited to zones 7-9.

It takes both a male and a female plant to get fruit, though only the female vines will set fruit. One male can pollinate up to 8 female vines.

Actinidia chinensis 'Vincent' produces an excellent tasting, medium sized fuzzy kiwi, on vines that can reach up to 20' in length.

'Vincent' (female) is best paired with the 'Tomuri' (male) for pollination. Both are low chill varieties that require only 200 chill hours to bloom.

Full sun or partial sun is best, along with consistent water and regular feeding with soil amendments.  They also like a more acidic soil than average:  5.8 pH to 6.2 pH.

Vines are deciduous, so they will lose their leaves entirely for winter. Beautiful green foliage in the spring and summer provide some shade for the developing fruit.

Beautiful white flowers in the spring become edible fruit by Fall: Fuzzy Kiwi ripens in November in Florida.

kiwi flowers

Kiwi flowers photo courtesy of Agri-starts

Kiwifruit vines require vigorous pruning, similar to grapes. They bear on one year old and older canes, but production is less as each cane ages. Canes should be pruned off and replaced after their third year.   Maximum harvest is attained on 8-10 yr old vines.

Hardy KIWIfruit -- fuzz-less kiwi

Actinidia arguta

suitable to zones 6-9

'Hardy Kiwifruit' is a fast growing, perennial vine native to Japan, Korea, Northern China and Russian Siberia. It is kin to the more common fuzzy Kiwi (Actinidia deliciosa) and is similar in both taste and appearance, though smaller.

'Issai' is an early fruiting type of kiwi: it will produce fruit on one year old vines. It is a very small fuzzless, dark green kiwi that is exceptionally sweet with about 20% sugar content. Fruit is more the size of berries or large grapes.

'Issai' is self pollinating, though far more fruit will set if a male pollinator is present;

'Issai' is a hardy, disease resistant variety, that does very well in heat and humidity. Loves full sun, but tolerates some shade. Prefers rich, loamy soil and well drained conditions. Does not tolerate standing water.

Exceptionally productive vines bear up to 100 lbs of fruit annually under ideal conditions. Must have a sturdy support system pretty much right after planting, as the vines grow rapidly. Mature plants will be approximately 8-12' tall x 8-12' wide.

Kiwi fruit orchard

Kiwi fruit orchard, viewed from underneath the vines;
photo courtesy of Wikimedia: Klingon