Kiwi fruit is a kind of famous vine that belongs to the group of edible berries and is commonly grown in temperate climates. Each tree trunk can produce fruit up to tens of kilograms, but it takes about three to seven years for these plants to mature. Since growing kiwis takes a very long time, make sure you have a large stock of seeds and cultivate kiwis in the optimal method.
Part 1 of 3: Making Sprouts from Kiwi Seeds
Step 1. Choose the type of kiwi
Growing kiwi from seed is a fun project and will give you a beautiful houseplant. Kiwis don't always grow like their parents, meaning the plant you produce may not produce the exact same fruit as the parent. If you want to get fruit that tastes just like the parent, just buy a grafted plant from the nursery. The three most common types of kiwi are:
- Regular kiwi – This is a type of kiwi (Actinidia deliciosa) that you can usually find fruit in stores. The fruit is brown with fine hairs, thick skin, and green flesh. For optimal growth, this plant takes about one month in cold weather with temperatures ranging from -1º to 7º C. Ordinary kiwi can grow in places with temperatures of -15º to -1º C.
- golden kiwi – Another popular type of kiwi is the golden kiwi (Actinidia chinensis) which tastes much sweeter, but is softer than the regular kiwi. The golden kiwi is still a close relative of the common kiwi, but it is less hairy and more yellow in color. Kiwi golden can grow well in the lowest winter zone with temperatures ranging from -12º to -1º C).
- Kiwi berries – This name usually refers to two different species of kiwi, namely the hardy kiwi (Actinidia arguta) and the super-hardy kiwi (Actinidia Kolomikta). This kiwifruit is much smaller than the regular kiwi and golden kiwi, and has a thinner and smoother skin. As the name suggests, this type of kiwi is the most cold-resistant variety and can be grown in areas that experience severe winters. This variety can sometimes produce fruit after one growing season, in contrast to other varieties which take years to mature.
Step 2. Collect the kiwi seeds
If you decide to grow a regular kiwi, collecting the seeds is very easy. You just go to the nearest fruit shop and buy a kiwi. According to some gardeners, seeds from organic fruit have a greater chance of germinating and growing into strong mature plants. For a more exotic type of kiwi, you can order cheap seeds from sellers on the internet.
- To pick the seeds from a fresh kiwifruit, simply cut two kiwis and scrape the seeds with your fingers or a spoon. Place the seeds in a small bowl or glass and rinse to remove the pulp. To clean it, flush and stir the water in a bowl and strain the seeds. Do it several times until clean.
- You need to know, some kiwi farmers prefer to buy young plants produced through propagation from nurseries rather than making sprouts from seeds. The reason is partly because the cultivars that are bred have much more consistent traits from generation to generation. In addition, you also need male and female plants to produce kiwi fruit. The only way to tell the difference between male and female plants is through the flowers, and flowers usually only appear about three years or so. So, it is indeed difficult to prepare an accurate number of seeds for pollination and optimal fruit production.
Step 3. Make sprouts from seeds
Place the seeds with a damp paper towel in a sealable plastic bag. Close the bag and place it in a warm place. Check every day until the seeds begin to appear to germinate.
If the paper towels look dry before the seeds germinate, add more water to get them wet again. Seeds need a moist environment in order to germinate
Step 4. Plant the seeds that have germinated
Prepare and water several pots of ready-to-plant soil mixture. One pot can be planted with three to four seeds. Tear off some of the paper towels containing three to four germinated seeds. Plant the seeds along with the paper towels into one of the pots. Repeat this step until all the seeds have been planted.
Step 5. Place the plant in a place that gets a lot of sunlight
Windows are usually a good choice, unless you have a better place like a basement equipped with growth lights.
- Young plants are very sensitive to winter temperatures. So, in subtropical climates, farmers keep kiwi plants indoors for about the first two years.
- Move the kiwi to a new, wider pot as the plant gets bigger. At this stage, start increasing the nutrition using generic fertilizers for young plants.
Part 2 of 3: Planting Seeds
Step 1. Find a good spot in your garden to plant a kiwi tree
Make sure the conditions match.
- You will need a large enough area for the kiwi tree to grow.
- Most kiwi trees do well in both full sun and shade.
- Kiwis usually need slightly acidic soil with a pH between 6.0 to 6.5. If your soil is too alkaline, just acidify it to make conditions suitable for growing kiwi trees.
- The soil should be moist but have good drainage.
Step 2. Build a sturdy trunk for the kiwi tree
Remember, kiwi is a vine that can grow to a length of more than 9 meters, with a decent weight. Like other vines, kiwi grows best along vertical structures that provide support and more access to sunlight.
- Kiwi trees can creep on most types of trellises, gazebos, and fences of any kind.
- Commercial kiwi growers use wire trellises 2 meters high with T-shaped blades spaced 4.5 to 6 meters apart.
Step 3. Remove the young plants
How to move kiwi plants is generally the same as how to move other plants. The big difference is that you have to space the plants so that each plant has its own support structure. Dig a hole for each tree that is slightly larger than the size of the pot where the kiwi was previously grown. Carefully lift each tree out of the pot, along with all the roots and soil, and place the roots into the dug hole. Fill the entire hole with soil.
- Do not let the condition of the roots disturbed so that the plant is not too shocked when moved.
- If you plan to grow kiwi, plant as many trees as possible. After flowering-which can take up to five years-you can identify the male and female plants and then remove some of the male trees.
Part 3 of 3: Caring for Kiwi Trees
Step 1. Protect the kiwi tree from animals
Even if other conditions are perfect, plants can be damaged by a variety of pests. Immature kiwi trees are generally very vulnerable.
- Kiwi leaves are favored by animals such as deer. Protect young kiwi plants by creating a fence or chicken wire around them to keep animals out.
- Cats respond to kiwi leaves the same way they respond to catnip. If you've ever grown catnip, you know that cats can easily damage crops. If you have a lot of cats in your area, protect the garden so they don't get in. For example, by building a fence, putting chicken wire around plants or spraying liquids that cats don't like.
- Unlike other commercial fruit crops, kiwis don't have a lot of insect pests so you usually don't need to use pesticides on a regular basis.
Step 2. Tie plant shoots to supports
The bigger the tree, the more shoots that grow. These shoots must be directed and wrapped around the support so that they propagate there. In this way, the plant will have a strong stem.
Step 3. Prune the plant periodically
Kiwi trees should be pruned once a year. Cut stems that grow like hard bark and wild shoots that cannot be attached to the trellis. Wild shoots are branches that grow sideways. The kiwi tree cannot support the weight of the wild shoot itself unless the shoot is supported by a trellis. Once the stems have propagated to the top of the trellis, the kiwi can grow horizontally along the supports.
- For kiwi plants grown in the subtropics, the optimal time to prune the plant is at the end of winter when the plant is about to go into a period of dormancy.
- Male plants can be pruned more quickly, ie immediately after flowering.
Step 4. Remove male plants
Kiwi trees usually flower within four or five years of planting. After flowering, you can identify male plants by their bright yellow flowers with pollen-covered stamens in the center of the flower. The female plant has a sticky stalk (pistil) in the middle and a white ovary at the base of the flower. Since only female trees produce fruit, you only need one male plant to pollinate 8 to 9 female plants. So, the sum of the two does not need to be the same. Remove any remaining male plants and space the remaining female plants equally.
Step 5. Harvest the kiwi fruit once it is ripe
After a few years (or a year on hardy and super-hardy kiwis), the plant will begin to produce fruit. The first harvest may still be small, but it will increase every year as the plants mature.
- Kiwi fruit usually ripens in September and October. If kiwi is grown in a subtropical area that experiences frost, the fruit must be harvested before freezing and then allowed to ripen in the refrigerator.
- Cut the kiwi fruit from the stalk when the skin begins to change color (to brown for a regular kiwi). Another way to check if the fruit is ready for harvest is to split the kiwi fruit and see if the seeds have darkened.