How to: Grow Kiwi from seed

Actinidia deliciosa is commonly known as the kiwi vine. These vines can grow well over 20 feet and develop thick woody stalks making it a sturdy perennial. Depending on the variety of fuzzy kiwi, it may be hardy down to zone 7. For those living in colder climates, Actinidia arguta, or hardy kiwi is available. While hardy kiwi’s are smaller and less impressive, they can survive temperatures in the negative fahrenheits!

Seeing as how I don’t have access to live kiwi plants, I opted to grow them from seed. It is possible to propagate this plant by cuttings, if you are lucky enough to find some. I used a store bought kiwi just as an experiment, and sure enough most of the seeds have sprouted. Time for germination can be over one month so be patient. You should keep the seeds in a warm (70F) area, either planted in soil or in a moist plastic bag. I was able to achieve germination of my kiwi seeds from planting them in soil, in a bag, and even in a cup of water. So when will your kiwi’s produce fruit? My guess is a few years. It’s a relatively slow growing vine but definitely an interesting addition to any home garden or greenhouse.

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Pollination of kiwi flowers is difficult and requires both a female and male plant. The female plant will bear fruit, while it is essential for the male plant to provide pollen. If you want to grow your own kiwi’s then you absolutely must have at least one male and one female. However if you want to maximize your kiwi output it would be wise to only have one or two male plants in addition to ten or more females. The extra pollen isn’t really necessary and as you can’t get fruit from the male plants there is no use in growing more than a few.

If you choose to grow your kiwi seeds in a soil medium then I would recommend using an all-purpose soil mix. Add in some vermiculite and perlite to keep the seeds happy, constantly moist yet not waterlogged.

This is one of my kiwi’s about two weeks after germination. The fuzzy hairs are visible on the leaves in this picture; not only are the kiwi’s fuzzy, the whole plant is!

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