How to grow & care for kiwifruit
Kiwifruit grow on large, vigorous vines that need a lot of space to grow. To produce kiwifruit you’ll need to plant both male and female plants - 1 male plant for every 5 female plants or if you’d prefer just 1 male and 1 female, that’s also fine too.
Temperate climates with warm summers and cool winters are the ideal climate for growing kiwifruits. If however your winters are fairly mild, then look for a variety that is “low chill” and doesn’t require cold winters to encourage the plant to set fruit.
Kiwifruit vines prefer to be planted in a full sun spot, with a free draining soil - they hate wet feet! Each vine will need around 5 metres of growing space and to be planted at the base of a sturdy pergola or fence for it to grow up.
Within 2-3 years of planting your kiwifruit vine will begin producing a crop of tasty fruit.
Top 5 steps to growing kiwifruit
- Choose a full sun spot with a free draining soil for your kiwifruit vine
- Kiwifruit vines are vigorous growers, each plant will need a sturdy support structure, pergola or fence to climb up/along.
- Improve the soil before planting with Scotts Osmocote Compost Premium Soil Improver and Scotts Osmocote Plus Organics Citrus & Fruit Plant Food & Soil Improver.
- Kiwifruit are dioecious - meaning that the male and female flowers grow on separate plants. So you’ll need 1 male plant for every 5 female plants.
- Kiwifruit vines need regular watering, especially when flowering and fruiting.
- A kiwifruit plant
- Scotts Osmocote Compost Premium Soil Improver
- Scotts Osmocote Plus Organics Citrus & Fruit Plant Food & Soil Improver
- If your soil is alkaline, you can acidify it (which kiwifruits prefer) by using: Scotts Osmocote Plus Organics Roses, Gardenias & Azaleas Plant Food & Soil Improver
- Garden shovel
- Defender Pyrethrum Insect Spray
Kiwifruit vines are deciduous - they lose their leaves in winter and go dormant - this is the ideal time to plant them. Choose a full sun spot, with a free draining soil for your kiwifruit vine. Remember you’ll need 1 male and 1 female plant to produce fruit (you can have up to 5 females for every 1 male plant). Kiwifruit vines also need a sturdy and strong pergola or fence support structure - make sure this is in place before planting, so you can plant at the base of it and train the vine as it grows.
Dig the hole twice as wide as the original pot or root ball and the same depth. Loosen the original soil at the bottom of the planting hole and mix Scotts Osmocote Compost Premium Soil Improver and Scotts Osmocote Plus Organics Citrus & Fruit Plant Food & Soil Improver through the backfill soil and the soil at the base of the hole.
Planting in the garden
Remove the kiwifruit from the nursery pot and position it in the prepared hole, at the same depth it was in the pot.
Mulch around the root zone of your kiwifruit with an open organic mulch to retain moisture and suppress weeds. Kiwifruits need a lot of water particularly when setting flowers and fruit, so install an irrigation system or make sure it’s within easy access of your hose.
Fertilising & General Care
Feed your kiwifruit vine once a year in spring with Scotts Osmocote Plus Organics Citrus & Fruit Plant Food & Soil Improver at the recommended rate. If your soil is alkaline feed with Scotts Osmocote Plus Organics Roses, Gardenias & Azaleas Plant Food & Soil Improver instead as this will acidify the soil - which kiwifruits love.
Once your vine has set fruit, thin out the smallest round kiwifruits - leaving the elongated larger fruit to continue growing. This will give you a better quality harvest of kiwifruit.
Kiwifruit vines produce fruit on 1 year old growth, so prune in winter to maintain a single trunk and remove excessive long spindly growth but don’t be too drastic or you’ll reduce your harvest the following season.
Pests, Diseases & other Problems
Insect pests that can infest kiwifruit vines include scale and grasshoppers. To control outbreaks of scale, apply Defender Pyrethrum Insect Spray as per the labels instructions.
You may need to protect the crop from hungry birds and possums. Once the baby kiwifruit have formed, use a wildlife safe, 4mm hole or smaller white netting over the vines to keep your crop safe.
Watch for Queensland Fruit Fly infestations with monitor traps and by regularly cutting into your fruit to check for maggots. If you find fruit fly, use bait and wildlife safe insect exclusion netting to protect your kiwifruit crop from further attack. Always pick up any fruit that falls to the ground and dispose of it.