looking at putting these into my zone 5 michigan landscape but am leary of
my chances given how rare thse plants are. have any of you successfully
grown these and if so, how has the experience been? how would u compare the
quality of the fruit with the store bought relatives?
After seeing a yard with massive hardy kiwi vines (and luscious fruit!), I
decided to plant some in my yard as an arbor replacing some (ick!) English
Ivy that was a huge arbor outside my back door. This is the third (or
fourth) year for the kiwi. Last year, there were a few fruits which were
delicious. However, between the male plant not blooming this year (and was
covered last year!) and the squirrel (yes, *that* squirrel!) getting the
fruit early on, there are none for us. All the pollinating done on the
female was done from a self-pollinating kiwi which was downwind from the
female. Bummer! Maybe just as well as a generous harvest not realized
would have given me even more reason to detest the squirrel from hell.
Those who I know of that grow kiwi in our area enjoy good harvests. We
had an unusually cold winter for our area with the plants surviving and
doing quite well, as if it were a normal winter.
They do, however, like grapes, take a few years to get a good start and
start generously bearing fruit so they are not plants for the impatient.<g>
That's my experience and observation in the Portland, Oregon, area.
Oh, and comparing with store-bought . . . like all things from your
garden, there is no comparing. A fresh kiwi off the vine is *not* your
"brickled" wrote :
| looking at putting these into my zone 5 michigan landscape but am leary of
| my chances given how rare thse plants are. have any of you successfully
| grown these and if so, how has the experience been? how would u compare
| quality of the fruit with the store bought relatives?
I have had hardy kiwi at this location ( also zone 5, western maine) growing
12 years. Had one cluster of flowers, no fruit. Frequently will leaf out
before last frost, then take a hard hit. Supposedly I have one each "male"
and "female", obtained from Pinetree Garden Seeds via Meader breeding. Root
hardy for sure, cane loss in colder winters proves its just marginal for me.
I was excited by the prospect years ago, but I'm beyond bored with them now.
Over on the coast of Maine in Bar Harbor, there is a thriving colony at
College of the Atlantic--a well protected location.
Once well rooted they're care-free & unkillable, but if good fruit crops
are wanted, they're high maintenance for watering & pruning, cuz if
neglected they're just big vines with less & less fruit each year.
Flavor range can be dramatic, from bitter & nasty, to sweet-tart &
excellent, & I don't know how you'd be sure which you've got until after
you've expended the time getting them going.
A. chinensis is the species from which store-bought kiwis are obtained,
the variant A. chinensis deliciosa is the one generally used commercially,
but it has many cultivars with their own traits. It is not very cold-hardy
& is best for zone 7-9, They may grow in colder zones like yours, but
without fruiting. They take several years to really get going, but then
they are GIGANTIC.
A. arguta is a hardier Kiwi. It will be six years old before it starts
fruiting. It'll grow as a die-back perennial that doesn't fruit below zone
5, but as a fruiting deciduous woody vine in zone 5-8. Like A chinensis,
it's a huge vine, & females have to be trained over arbors you can reach
for purning & harvesting, though the male can be left nearby to go wildly
enormous. Fruits are very small & can be eaten skin & all like grapes; you
never see them in supermarkets because they don't keep long enough to
sell, but taste fine fresh from the garden. Avoid the tepidly
self-pollinating hybrid A. arguta 'Issai' if you really want harvestable
amounts of edible fruits; this cultivar seems to be the most commonly
offered to gardeners but isn't all that tasty or productive nor even all
that hardy, it's merely decorative. The variety 'Ananasnaya' aka "Anna" is
said to taste like a pineapple, not to be confused with 'Ananasnaja' which
is more tart, compared to 'Dunbarton Oaks' among the sweetest. Many of the
flavored cultivars don't have interesting names, but have number
designations; most of the numbered varieties are reliable for fruit,
except the numbered self-pollinators & of course the males.
A. kolomikta is the one that can be grown down to zone 3, though fruiting
buds will probably freeze off at the lower tolerances, & it's really for
zones 5-7 if maximized fruit is sought, & not very heat-hardy so thought
of as tender in zones 8-9 but will do okay with protection from harshest
summer sun. Fruits are grape sized, leaves are huge. It has by far the
prettiest foliage (the male is vividly variegated white pink & green).
They mature more rapidly than the other species & may fruit after two
years. I've seen the male in local gardens obviously chosen for the gaudy
leaves, but haven't yet seen a female in full fruit. I've never tasted the
fruit either, but some varieties like "Sentayabraskaya" are described as
very sweet; 'Matovya' as less sweet but bigger fruits, 'Arnold Arboretum'
huge numbers of especially small tart kiwis, 'Krupnoplodaya' has slightly
larger & sweeter fruits, 'Sentyabraskaya' aka 'September' very productive
good tart fruit.... many other varieties you should research before
deciding -- different traits for different varieties.
There are many other species rarely offered & I've seen no serious reports
on their relative taste value & fruit production.
You need first to decide which species is most desirable for your needs
(almost certainly either A. arguta or A. kolomikta), then undertake some
research to get exactly the cultivar or cultivars with traits you're
after. You probably have a horticultural extension at Michigan State
University where you could find someone who'd know local sources. You
likely can't rely on ornamental nurseries that won't have a number of
named varieties to choose from, as regular nurseries tend to stock only
one thing mass-produced for that year. You will have to track down
specialty fruit or vine sources. The best sources are rarely findable
with a google search but you could get the phone number fropm:
to find out if they fill the bill; plus your local librarian should be
able to point you to a regional resource list of growers. If you can find
a source in your own area where they are grown rather than shipped in,
you'll be certain to have varieties that produce well in your zone. There
is an A. arguta cultivar called "Michigan" & good guess it was developed
by one of your local growers for local conditions.
-paghat the ratgirl
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
ann arbor here. plants are vigorous and grow to 40-50 feet. You have
been warned. They are good looking vines with lush, shiny foliage.
They only get a thick layer of woodchips under them, and some wood
ash. They are sensitive to late frosts so plant them high in your
landscape and give them manure only past last date of frost (that will
give you huge vines, but it will also shave a year or two to first
fruiting, which is famously late for this plant). I am sure you know
you need one male and as many females as you can stand.
how would u compare the
well, if you get a really late frost you will not get much. You will
get nothing the first six years anyway. And after that, you will get
what the birds don't eat. the few I have eaten are much better than
storebought (about the same difference in quality between an average
peach and a superior nectarine, including the lack of fuzz, sweeter
with a nice aroma) after a little indoor ripening. I am told that
eventually they will produce heavily (tens of pounds per vine), and
given the size of the vines, I don't doubt it, but so far only two
have started producing (I have had four, plus a male, for 8 years).
unlike their relatives, the fruits don't last.through the winter.
but it is a nice plant (casual visitors always ask about it), it will
give you a huge arbor if you need a shady spot (make it big and
strong), and if you are in for the long haul, it will give you plenty
I have two varieties, the one where the male plant is pink/green/white and the
that is from siberia and they are PRODUCTIVE. the only beef I got is that they
all ripen at once and I gotta get out there and pick too often. I would put
down and collect the ones that fall, they are ripe. they taste wonderful. no
I am in zone 5 colder than average and they are huge and I had to whack them back
they are on an arbor not even a tornado is going to take the arbor away.
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