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By (Simon Eade)

Kiwi fruit are a constant and welcome fixture on our supermarket fresh-produce shelves. However as exotic as they both look and taste they are actually hardy enough to be grown outdoor in all but the coldest of northern European countries.

Image credit – JJ Harrison

There are about 30 species with in the Actinidia genus and while they are not all edible the ones that are of most economic importance are Actinidia deliciosa and Actinidia chinensis and less so Actinidia coriacea, Actinidia arguta), Actinidia kolomikta, Actinidia melanandra Actinidia polygama, and Actinidia purpurea.

As far as availability goes Actinidia chinensis is most likely to be the best of the hardy edible species that you are likely to find.

Native to the northern Yangtse river valley, it was introduced to Western horticulture by E.H. Wilson, who sent seeds collected in Hupeh (a province located in the easternmost part of Central China) to Veitch nurseries in 1900.

You can either purchase Kiwi fruit seeds from a reputable retailer or collect and prepare your own.

How to collect kiwi fruit seeds

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To begin with, remove the seeds from your chosen piece of kiwi fruit (organic if possible) and place them on a couple of sheets of paper towel to dry. Allow the seeds to dry undisturbed for a couple of days.

Kiwi seeds requires a cold period to initiate germination so using a clear seal-able polythene bag, fill with vermiculite or perlite.

Add the dried kiwi seeds to the bag, seal it and then place it in the bottom of a refrigerator for a minimum of four months.

Once this cold period is over the seeds will be ready for potting up.

How to grow kiwi fruit from seed

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Fill a 6-inch pot with a good quality compost such as John Innes ‘Seed and Potting’. Plant them in the potting soil 1/8 of an inch deep and 1 inch apart.

Water the compost by carefully lowering the pot into a bowl of water, and allow the water to be drawn up through the compost. Once the surface of the compost has changed colour the compost is wet enough. Allow any excess water to drain away and then cover the pot with a piece of glass or clear plastic. Place the pot in a warm bright area such as a windowsill to germinate.

Once the kiwi seedlings begin to emerge you can remove the glass or plastic cover. Continue watering using a spray bottle to keep the soil moist at the surface. The seedlings can now be placed in an area that receives direct sunlight for at least six hours per day, but still under protection such as a frost free greenhouse or a warm room in the house.

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If there is no risk of frost then the young plants can be hardened off over a week or so to acclimatise them for planting outside. Plant kiwi seedlings outdoors from the spring onwards in a well-drained soil that preferably has an acidic pH between 5.5 to 7.0. You can always use a pH test to check your soil, and if necessary you can adjust your the soil with lime raise the pH or moss-peat to lower it.

JJ Harrison file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

A.j.morris file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Source: blogspot/IynqY