Actinidia arguta (hardy kiwi) is a perennial vine native to Japan, Korea, Northern China, and Russian Siberia. It produces a small fruit resembling the kiwifruit. The fruit are referred to as Hardy kiwifruit, kiwi berry, arctic kiwi, baby kiwi, dessert kiwi, grape kiwi, northern kiwi, or cocktail kiwi and are edible, berry or grape-sized fruit similar to kiwifruit in taste and appearance, but are green, brownish, or purple with smooth skin, sometimes with a red blush. Often sweeter than the kiwifruit, hardy kiwifruit can be eaten whole and need not be peeled. Thin-walled, its exterior is smooth and leathery. The fast-growing, climbing vine is very hardy (hence the name hardy kiwi), and is capable of surviving slow temperature drops to -34°C (-30°F), although young shoots can be vulnerable to frost in the spring. The vines need a frost-free growing season of about 150 days, but are not damaged by late freezes, provided that temperature changes are sufficiently gradual to allow plants to acclimate. Indeed, a period of winter chill is necessary for successful cultivation. However, rapid freezes will kill off buds and split vines. In domestic cultivation, a trellis may be used to encourage horizontal growth for easy maintenance and harvesting; however, vines grow extremely quickly and require a strong trellis for support. Each vine can grow up to 20 feet in a single season, given ideal growing conditions. For commercial planting, placement is important: plants can tolerate partial shade but yields will be optimized with full sunlight. Hardy kiwi vines consume large volumes of water; therefore, they are usually grown in well-drained acidic soils to prevent root rot. For vines to bear fruit, both male and female plants must be present to enable pollination. A male pollinator can enable six female producers to fruit.
USDA Zone - 8
Season to sow - Spring
Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to hear about our latest offers, growing tips and products!