Growing Kiwi - Knowledgebase Question

Milton, FL
Avatar for EZELLN1
Question by EZELLN1
March 21, 1998
I have several different varieties of kiwi that I have had for more than five years. Some of the plants have died. The ones that remain keep trying to take over everything. I have never seen any blooms. Is there anyway to tell if my plants are male plants, or do I just need to order another male and female?

Answer from NGA
March 21, 1998
It is quite possible that your plants are all of one sex. You need at least one of both, depending on how many plants you have. It sounds like, to be sure, you'll have to order a new set of male and female. I'm not sure why the ones you have aren't flowering. Heavy fertilizing with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer (such as lawn fertilizer) can create lots of foliage at the expense of flowering. Following are some tips on growing kiwi.

Plant your Kiwi vine in well-drained soil, where a strong trellis or support can be built. A wind break is important
as it will protect delicate new growth in the spring. Kiwi can be trained to climb over a patio, walkway, trellis or gazebo. They provide shade and add an ornamental touch to your home orchard and grounds.

Set plants in full sun or partial shade, 6 to 8 feet apart. Apply organic mulch (compost, peat moss, etc) to plant hole, and 1 cup of bone meal. Do not fertilize until a few
weeks later. Although Kiwi cannot stand wet feet, it is important to keep the soil moist during the growing season.
A water drip system is best . Feed the Kiwi vines a balanced fertilizer (e.g. 6-6-6 100% organic) in small quantities 3-4 times from April to August. For the first year. spread about 2 ozs. of fertilizer over a 2 sq. yd. area around each plant each time you fertilize. Increase the amount of fertilizer by 2 ozs. each year. Do not let fertilizer touch any part of the vine as it can damage it.

Pruning is essential to maintain order, spacing and light access. It may be necessary to prune several times during the growing. Start in April and May by removing unfruitful shoots. Erect water shoots can be cut back to short stubs from which replacing fruit arms may arise. During June and July growth can be extremely rapid and pruning is essential. Males should be pruned to the same basic structure as females. Major pruning of males is undertaken immediately after flowering, when flowering arms are cut back to new growth near the leader. Cut them back to 20 to 24 inches In July if necessary and again if necessary and again to 30 inches in August and September. The male plant is a rampant grower.

Train each vine to a single trunk about six feet high where it is headed so that two arms or cordons develop from the trunk along the center af a support. Keep the vine from wrapping itself around the supports and wire by keeping it tied off.

Insects can greatly enhance the ability of Kiwi to bear fruit. Encourage bees andbutterflies in your growing area. Females flowers don't attract insects, but insects love male pollen and will enter female flowers in search. Fruit size is as dependent on good seed pollination as it is on soil conditions and fertilization.

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