The Q&A Archives: Kiwi vines won't fruit

Question: At my new house, I've inherited a pair of seven-year-old hardy kiwi vines. They flower but don't fruit. I think they may be the same-sex vines. How can I tell? Jerry Mericle Sandia Park, NM

Answer: You can easily determine which sex kiwi vine you have by looking at the open flowers, says Ann Williams, general manager of Northwoods Nursery, specialists in hardy vines in Canby, Oregon. The female flower has a large bulb (ovary) in the center of thefour to six inches of bark mulch in fall. Kiwi flowers aren't very attractive to bees, so a little encouragement may be needed to stimulate pollination, Williams adds. Try slicing a ripe pear and placing it next to the vines when they begin flowering, she says. The bees will be attracted to the pear and, in turn, to the kiwi flowers. You could also hand-pollinate your plants by picking a male flower and rubbing it lightly on several female flowers.

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