The Q&A Archives: hardy kiwi vine-self fertile female

Question: I have a well established (3 years in my garden) Actinidia arguta `Issai` kiwi vine. The vine has lots of foliage and loads of flowers in spring that progress to small juvenile fruits. Unforunately most of the small fruits drop off through the course of the summer leaving me with a very small percentage of fruits that actually progress to the eating stage.Is my vine missing something in its requirements, or am I doing something wrong? Vine is planted in a raised bed garden. I fertilize it with the same general purpose fertilizer that I use for the rest of the veggies. Any suggestions would be helpful.Thanks-Ron Olsen

Answer: Even a self-fertile Kiwi can slough off their fruit soon after it appears the fruit
is starting to develop. This kind of stuff can happen if the flower is not completely pollinated. The self-fertile forms of kiwi have both male and female flowers but it still takes a bee or wind to transfer the pollen from the male flower to the female. I think what you are seeing is the result of incomplete fertilization in which the flower had a male flower nearby to pollinate but not enough pollen to pollinate the flower, thus a fruit can start to develop on the vine but it will quickly be sloughed off. We can see this same kind of thing with some fruit and nut trees when a pollinizer is not nearby. The plant may outgrow this (or you won't notice because there will be so many fruits that you'll lose track of the number it drops), or you may want to place or plant a male form near your vine and see if you can improve on the number of fruit that will set.

Hope this explains things for you!

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