In many ways, growing kiwi fruit is much like growing grapes. They are vigorous growers and need to be properly pruned, trained, and trellised. But, when they’re treated right, you’ll have more fruit than you can handle.
Kiwi Plant gender Identification
To determine kiwi plant gender, one must only wait for the plant to bloom. Ascertaining the sex of male and female kiwi vines lies in the differences between the flowers. Understanding the difference between male and female kiwi vines will determine whether the plant will set fruit. Female kiwi plant identification will appear as flowers with long sticky stigmas radiating out from the center of the bloom. Additionally, the female flowers do not produce pollen. When determining the sex of kiwi blooms, the female will also have bright white, well defined ovaries at the base of the flower, which, of course, the males lack. The ovaries, by the way, are the parts that develop into fruit.
Male kiwi flowers have a brilliantly colored yellow center due to its pollen bearing anthers. Males are really only useful for one thing and that is making lots and lots of pollen, hence, they are heavy producers of pollen that is attractive to pollinators which carry it off to nearby female kiwi vines. Because the male kiwi vines do not bear fruit, they put all of their energy into vine growth and are, thus, often more vigorous and larger than their female counterparts.
Transplant the young plants. Transplanting kiwifruit plants is largely the same as other types of plants. The major difference is that you must space your plants so that each is at the base of its own support structure. Simply dig a hole for each plant that is a little bigger than their current pots. Carefully lift each plant out of its pot, including the roots and the dirt they cling to, and place the roots into the holes you just dug. Finish by filling in the edges of the hole with loose dirt.
- Try to disturb the roots as little as possible to avoid shock
- If you plant to grow fruit, keep as many plants as you have room for. Once they flower, which can take up to five years, you can identify the male and female plants and cull the extras.
Pruning is a must. For many people growing kiwi fruit, pruning is the most challenging task. The vines must be pruned with a sharp pair of high-quality pruners when they’re dormant in the winter, and again two or three times throughout the summer. In winter, prune out any branches that produced fruit the previous season, as well as any dead or crossed branches. The one-year-old branches produce the most fruit, so don’t prune them out, instead trim them back to the eighth node up from the base of the plant (the nodes look like little nubs along the branch). These nodes will push out new fruiting spurs in the spring. Summer pruning involves removing any long, arching vines that extend beyond the developing fruits. Any non-flowering vines that extend off the trellis can be removed in the summer as well.
Harvest your fruit once it’s ripe. After a few years (or even that same year for hardy and super-hardy kiwi), your plants should start producing fruit. Yields may start out small but typically increase every year as the plant matures.
- Kiwifruit usually ripens in September and October. If frosts typically happen by then in your area, you will need to harvest the fruit before it’s ripe and let it finish ripening under refrigeration.
- Snap kiwifruit off at the stalk when their skin begins to change color (to brown for common kiwifruit). Another way to check for harvest-readiness is to look for black seeds in a sample fruit.