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Planting kiwi berries - instructions and tips on location, soil and care

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Kiwi what? Yes, you read correctly. There are not only the large, hairy kiwis, but also kiwi berries. We can plant them even better.

© Jana Behr - Fotolia.com

When talking about kiwis, we think of the large, hairy fruits from the supermarket or their relatives with a smooth skin and yellowish flesh. These cultivars are only of limited suitability for cultivation in our latitudes because mild winters are a prerequisite for the plants to survive the cold season at all. Therefore it is always advisable to plant kiwifruit in a bucket. The small kiwi berries are far more robust. They defy even severe frosts and the cultivation is rewarded with a rich harvest of the small vitamin bombs. Now learn what to consider when planting kiwi berries.

What types can be planted?

The world of kiwis is more colorful than you might think. There are over 100 types of kiwi. Kiwis are actually only the fruits that are commercially available. All other varieties are called kiwi berries. The different types differ in the color of their shell and also in their shape. There are round to oblong variants with green, yellowish or reddish skin and the corresponding pulp. Some varieties are particularly suitable for growing in your own garden, as they have a compact growth habit and the first fruits can be harvested as early as the second year after planting. The following varieties appear particularly suitable:

  • Jassei
  • Isay
  • Cinderella
  • Julia

Issai is one of the most popular representatives of kiwi berries in the orchard. The smooth-skinned fruits have an aromatic kiwi flavor and are also suitable for the small orchard. Other popular varieties are:

Kiwi berries Typeparticularities
NostinoThe male plant is well suited as a fertilizer for the female kiwi berries. Self-fertile species also gain in yield and fruit size through cross-fertilization by Nostino. The flowers appear in May.
lemurThe female plant is particularly valued for its aromatic fruits. The first fruits can be harvested in the second year after planting.
Ken's RedA specialty of this red-skinned variety is the red pulp. If the plant receives sufficient sun and nutrients, the fruits even get an almost violet color.
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1 Rarity Kiwi Berry Mini Kiwi Actinidia arguta Issai… 12 reviews9,99 €To the shop

Always plant kiwi berries in a double pack

This is not uncommon for kiwi berries and even a must for most species if the plants are to bear fruit. The varieties recommended for growing in the home garden are considered to be self-pollinating to a limited extent, but this is no guarantee of a rich harvest. If male plants are also planted as pollinators, this will in any case have a positive effect on the yield. With just one male kiwi berry, between six and eight female mini-kiwis can be fertilized.

Male or female?

How can you differentiate between male and female plants? This can be done using the flowers. The flowers of the female plants are surrounded by a wreath of radially arranged styluses. Male flowers do not have this wreath.

So you can plant kiwi berries yourself

Find the right location:

The mini kiwis originally came from the northern and eastern regions of Asia. There the small kiwi berries mostly occur in forests, where they wind up like trees, like vines. So that you have a rich harvest at home, the crowns of the plants should get enough sun. A very hot location, however, is less suitable. The root area should preferably be in partial shade.

According to the natural conditions, the plants feel particularly at the edges of trees. East and west locations are ideal. However, north and south locations are also tolerated.

The ideal location in brief:

  • sunny in the crown area
  • semi-shaded in the root area
  • sheltered
  • near the tree

Tip:
On hot days, a mulch layer can protect the root area from excessive sunlight. Otherwise, the roots could die, which is shown by the brown and curled leaves

Select the right substrate:

The kiwi berries prefer to thrive in a loose and well-drained soil. The floor should not overheat, as this damages the sensitive roots. Similar to the native raspberry, these run flat under the surface.

As a typical forest plant, the mini kiwi loves a nutrient-rich substrate. A sandy soil makes it easy for plants to root well. Limestone soils are less well tolerated. However, the kiwi berries are less sensitive to limestone soils than the large kiwi fruits. Heavy soils should be enriched with compost or peat. This gives the plants an effective long-term fertilizer. The soil can also be slightly acidic. A pH between 5 and 6.5 is ideal. If the pH is higher, there may be a lack of magnesium or iron.

The ideal substrate in brief:

  • relaxed
  • permeable
  • nutritious
  • pH between 5 and 6.5
  • limepoor

Planting kiwi berries - step by step instructions

The best time to plant the kiwi berries is in May, after the ice saints. Then the plant has enough time to root well and gather strength for the winter. In theory, the mini kiwifruit can be planted until August. Proceed as follows when planting:

  1. Select location.
  2. Loosen the soil at least to a depth of 40 centimeters.
  3. Water the root ball.
  4. Dig out the planting hole.
  5. Put the plant in it.
  6. Enrich and fill up soil with compost, peat or horn shavings.
  7. Close the planting hole.
  8. Water the plant liberally.
  9. Spread mulch layer of leaves, pine needles or grass clippings around the plant.

Tip:
If you plant several kiwi berries, you need to keep a sufficient distance. The minimum distance is one meter. Experts even recommend two meters and more, as the roots of the kiwi berries take up a lot of space. In addition, male kiwi berries grow faster than female plants. A planting distance of 2.5 meters is therefore ideal so that the female plants are not displaced and overgrown.

Caring for young plants properly

You should water the young plants regularly, especially on hot days. If you have added sufficient organic material during planting, the young plants do not need any additional fertilization in the first two years.

After two to three years, the young plants will bear fruit for the first time. You can see the ripeness of the fruit from the intense coloring of the skin.

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