The Kiwi is a vigorous climber and if allowed can reach a height of 10m (30′). The plants should be trained up a strong trellis, pergola or wire supports on a south facing wall. Some Kiwi varieties are either male or female. In this case it will be necessary to grow male and female varieties to obtain fruit. Other varieties are self fertile and only one plant needs to be grown to obtain fruit.
Kiwi Plant Support
The plants can be grown against a wall to which wires have been attached or free standing wires attached to stout posts. Wires should be spaced 30cm (12″) apart with the lowest wire 45cm (18″), and the highest 180cm (6′) above soil level.
Kiwi plants will grow in any moisture retentive, well drained soil. It is important the soil remains moist, especially in periods of rapid growth. The position should be sheltered and in full sun to aid ripening of the fruit. The plants are fully hardy but the flower may need protection in colder areas. When male and female varieties are being grown they should be planted 1½m (5′) apart. Incorporate well rotted garden compost into the soil and a general fertiliser such as Growmore at a rate of 70g per sq. metre (2oz per sq. yard). Against a wall, allow 20–25cm (8–10″) between the plant and its base.
Pruning your Kiwi Tree
After planting your Kiwi cut back the plant to just above the bottom wire. Train the lateral shoots horizontally along the wires, stopping them when they have filled the allotted space. Stop the kiwi plant when it has reached the required height. Fruit is produced on laterals growing from the main framework.
These are stopped at seven leaf joints beyond the fruit. Laterals formed on these shoots should be pruned out. Kiwis fruit on mature wood that is one year old or more. Fruiting declines after three years or so. Pruning is a matter of wood replacement once the framework has been achieved, with older laterals being removed in summer as otherwise the plant will become over-shaded by itself thus hindering ripening.
Harvesting your Kiwi
Pick the fruits in autumn before the first frosts. Store in a cool, frost free place for a month before use to allow the fruit to fully ripen.