How to Grow Hardy Kiwi in Containers
Growing hardy kiwi (Actinidia arguta) in containers can be a great way to enjoy this fruit even if you have limited garden space. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to grow hardy kiwi in containers:
1. Choose a Suitable Container:
Select a large container with a minimum diameter of 18-24 inches (45-60 cm). A deep container is essential for accommodating the extensive root system of kiwi plants. Ensure the container has drainage holes to prevent waterlogged soil.
2. Select the Right Variety:
Choose a hardy kiwi variety suitable for container cultivation. Some dwarf or compact cultivars, such as ‘Issai’ or ‘Ken’s Red,’ are better suited for confined spaces.
3. Potting Mix:
Use a well-draining potting mix that is rich in organic matter. You can mix equal parts of potting soil, perlite or vermiculite, and compost to create a suitable growing medium.
Plant your hardy kiwi in the container during the spring or early fall. Kiwi plants require both male and female plants for pollination and fruit production. Ensure you have at least one of each or a self-pollinating variety.
Place the kiwi plants in the container at the same depth they were in their nursery pots. Water thoroughly after planting.
5. Support and Training:
Install a trellis or support system in the container to help the vines grow upward. Kiwi plants are vigorous climbers and can reach considerable heights.
Train the vines to grow vertically by tying them to the trellis or support structure. Prune any lateral shoots or branches to encourage upward growth.
Place the container in a location that receives full sun for at least 6-8 hours a day. Kiwi plants require plenty of sunlight to produce fruit.
Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Kiwis prefer well-drained soil, so ensure that the container has good drainage. Water deeply when the top inch of soil feels dry.
Feed your container-grown kiwi with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer during the growing season (spring through summer). Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for application rates.
Prune the kiwi vines in late winter or early spring to remove dead or overgrown branches. Pruning helps maintain the plant’s shape and promotes better fruit production.
If you’re growing a self-pollinating variety, you won’t need multiple plants for pollination. However, if you have separate male and female plants, ensure they are placed close together or use a small brush to transfer pollen between flowers.
11. Winter Protection:
During the winter, protect your container-grown kiwi from frost by moving it to a sheltered location or providing insulation with frost blankets or straw.
Kiwi fruits are typically ready for harvest in the late summer or early fall when they reach their full size and have a slightly soft texture. Harvest them by cutting the fruit from the vine with pruning shears.
Growing hardy kiwi in containers can be a rewarding experience, allowing you to enjoy this delicious fruit in a small space. With proper care, you can look forward to a bountiful harvest of sweet and tangy kiwis.