Vines and Other Climbing Plants


Kiwi (Actinidia) or Chinese Gooseberry.


Once known as the “Chinese Gooseberry,” the fruit of the Actinidia gained much more popularity after a name change to Kiwi. The Actinidia is not a tree, or even a bush, but is a rampant climber growing to over 30 feet or more in length. A slightly tender deciduous plant, the Kiwi can easily get frost damage, but so long as the main stems survive, growth is so prolific each year that damage will never be noticed when the plant starts into the new seasons growth.

Kiwi plants can take a few years to mature, but a mature plant can produce a very worthwhile harvest of up to 20 lbs of fruit that will ripen in October and must be picked before the first frosts. The furry, brown skinned, plum sized fruits will give a little when they are ready to be picked and can be stored for a couple months before needing to be eaten.

There are several varieties of Actinidia sold at garden centres, some of which are strictly ornamental and not fruiting. (See Actinidia) Of the fruiting varieties some are self-fertile and some are not. That is to say that some species need both a male and a female plant to cause pollination and fruit production. The self fertile variety called "Deliciosa Jenny" has very large heart shaped leaves and needs no other plant to grow fruit.

Plants, although not often seen on sale, are not that expensive to buy, but if you have one plant growing well, it is a good idea to try and root some of the trimmings when you cut the excessive growth back each year. From experience cuttings are not that difficult to root if you get them right. The main thing to remember when taking cuttings, is to reduce the leaf area on the cuttings by removing some leaves, and then snipping the leaves left on the cuttings in half, to reduce moisture loss. Do remember though, that some varieties are grown under license, which means that you are not supposed to take cuttings unless a fee is paid to the license holder. (In other words they are copyright protected)

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