Planting and Caring for Kiwi
Considering how hearty the kiwi plant is, planting and caring for kiwi plants is relatively easy. Generally speaking, kiwi plants can be grown in a wide range of climates. In large part this is due to the shear numbers of different types of kiwi plants that there are in the world. If you are planning on planting any kiwi, then you need to make sure that you do two things. First, choose the right kind of kiwi for your hardiness zone, and second follow these simple guidelines.
- Location. Properly planting and caring for kiwi is going to depend, in large part, on the location of where you will be planting it. In a very small sense, this means where you plant the vines themselves. In the larger sense though, this means that you absolutely need to know your hardiness zone, and choose the proper type of kiwi plant for your particular zone. For most, if not all, of the United States there is one type of hardy kiwi that you should choose, and that is the Arctic Beauty. The reason for this is that it will survive in temperatures of as low as 40 below zero. Whatever type of kiwi that you choose though, be sure that you provide a place where it will be protected from the wind, and receive at least four hours of sunlight.
- Soil requirements. Generally speaking, kiwi plants require soil that drains easily. This means that the soil will need to be slightly sandy, at a minimum. Keep in mind though, that as you are preparing the soil for your kiwis that they should be no closer together than 15 feet to each other. This will allow enough room for proper growth.
- Nutritional requirements. Kiwis typically require a pH balance that is between 5.5 and 7.0. One of the best ways to ensure that you get the proper amount of nutrition for your kiwis is to mix fertilizer with the soil when you first prepare it for planting. This should be first done in the early spring, and should not be done during the late fall. Also, your kiwi plant will require plenty of water during the summer months, so either prepare a regular deep watering cycle, or install a drip water system.
- Propagation and gender. If at all possible, you should always select your new plants from the cuttings of existing ones. These cuttings will lay down the roots for your new plants. This is usually the most reliable form of propagation for your kiwi plants. Another unique aspect of the kiwi plant is that it is one of the few plants that actually have distinct genders. Typically, the male vines of the kiwi plant have large numbers of stamens and no female stigma. In contrast the female vines may have some stamens, they do not produce any pollen, and have long sticky stigmas.