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Kiwi



Kiwi Tree

The Hardy Kiwi or Arctic Kiwi are very cold tolerant and can withstand temperatures as low as -25 degrees Fahrenheit. Hardy Arctic Kiwi plants need around 150 frost-free days for their fruits to mature and ripen. However, the kiwi plants can be successfully grown in containers and can be brought indoors by growers in colder areas. If expecting a sudden drop in temperature in Fall or Spring, it is best to protect your plants by covering them or bringing indoors.

The plants prefer to gradually acclimate to Winter and these early or late freezing storms can sometimes cause damage to the plant. Hardy Arctic Kiwi plants are climbing vines that need a trellis or fence to support it's abundant growth and fruits.


Hardy Arctic Kiwi's creamy colored, fragrant flowers appear over a several week period from May to June, depending on the growing region. Hardy Arctic Kiwi have male and female flowers on separate plants, thus both are needed to produce fruit.


Self-fruiting female flowers do exist, however they are not nearly as productive as having both male and female plants to cross-pollinate one another. Hardy Arctic Kiwi fruits are generally green skinned with emerald green flesh that has tiny black seeds, much like regular kiwi fruit. However, some cultivars have various amounts of red in either the skin, flesh, or both. The fruits are oblong and usually 1-2 inches long. Hardy Arctic Kiwi fruits are smaller, but much sweeter than regular kiwi due to higher sugar levels that range from 14% up to 29% (regular kiwi have +/- 14%.)


They also typically have little or no fuzz, so the fruits can be eaten right from the vine without peeling. Hardy Arctic Kiwi plants usually bear fruit at three to four years old. They grow best in rich, well-drained, somewhat acidic (pH 5-6.5) soils. Neutral soils are okay but if the soil becomes too basic, the leaves may show nitrogen deficiency and look yellowish. They do not tolerate salty soils.


Grow hardy kiwi plants in full sun or partial shade in hottest areas, like the Gulf Coast. The plants should be pruned in Winter for form and to promote fruit production. The fruit is borne on shoots from one year old or older wood. Cut out shoots that have fruited for three years and remove shoots that have twined around main branches.


Hardy Arctic Kiwi fruits are ripe in late Summer to Fall when they begin to fall off the vine. To pick the fruit, snap or cut them off the vine so that the fruit stalks remain on the vine. Willis Orchard Company offers several exceptional Hardy Arctic Kiwi varieties for growers from North Florida to Michigan.


Grows in zones from 9b-4.

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