In 2006 I got a female Issai kiwi vine, which is self-fertile and produces
the small, hairless kiwis that are about the size and color of green grapes.
These vines are less vigorous than the fuzzy kiwi varieties, but still
supposed to be quite vigorous.
From the nursery, the plant was about 1.5' tall. The first year it grew
another 3' or so up the trellis and we got maybe 60 of these delicious
little kiwis from it.
The second year things started out nicely with lots of new growth, but then
we had a very late frost that nearly killed the plant. It dropped all its
flowers and most of its leaves. For the rest of the season it had about
twelve leaves, all down near the base of the plant.
Now this is the third year. The plant started off with a few inches of new
growth on only a couple of shoots, and put out about four flowers, which
have since shrivelled and fallen off. It has a lot more leaves than last
year -- I would estimate about 50 -- all within about the bottom 1' of the
plant. The vines above that point from the first year all seem dead.
I am hoping this is going to recover and get back in stride next year, but I
am not so sure. It is supposed to like full sun to part shade, lots of
water, and well-drained soil. It is located on the south side of a solid
wood fence in a spot where it gets full sun until around mid-day, then shade
for the remaining hottest part of the day, so this would seem to match the
"full sun to part shade" requirement. The soil in that spot drains very
well -- so that in the summer I seem to have to water it every day. I've
given up trying to water it less and just give it about a half inch of water
every day. So well-drained -- check, lots of water -- check. Yet whenever we
have a hot, sunny day, its outermost layers of leaves tend to get scorched
and gradually die, even though it is not even getting any sun during the
hottest part of the day (afternoon). Even the first year, it seemed to get
really slammed by the sun in the middle of summer and roasted a lot of
leaves, then had a recovery with some more new growth in the fall whem it
As for climate, I am in Oregon's Willamette Valley, FDA climate zone 8a,
about 150' elevation. We have very dry, sunny summers and cloudy, drizzly
winters. We tend to get a few hot days around 95-103 most years, but we do
not get very many of these. (Record high here is 107.) The leaves seem to
get scorched even if it's only 85 degrees out.
After this season I'm going to have three years invested in this vine and
only about a cup and a half of produce from it. Is there hope for this or
should I just rip it out and try something else in that spot next year?
Anyone have any experience with Issai vines? Am I doing anything wrong?
Thanks in advance for the help.
Utopia in Decay