How to Grow Actinidia Chinensis, Growing Kiwis from Seed
How to Grow Kiwis from Seed
Actinidia chinensis is the botanical name for the kiwi fruit vine and is one of my favorite hot plants.
Growing kiwis from seed is simple. Buy a kiwi fruit from your local fruitshop. Take it home and cut it open. Extract as best you can the tiny little seeds contained within. Eat the rest.
Dry the seeds for a day or two, then put in a compost filled pot and just cover and no more with a light dusting of compost. Dampen the soil and place inside a sealed plastic bag. Place out of direct sunlight and within weeks (or in some cases days) you should see signs of successful germination.
I usually wait until the second set of leaves from the actinidia have formed, then remove from plastic bag. Place on a sunny windowsill and when the third or fourth set of leaves have formed, gently remove and replant into individual pots.
If you are growing lots of other plants, remember to label them actinidia chinensis.
Kiwi seedlings can actually be moved when they are much smaller; usually they are overcrowded in the pot unless you only planted one or two seeds. As with all tiny plants, handle only by leaf, NEVER by the stem, and take care not to damage their little baby roots.
The plant in the picture here was around six months old at the time the pic was taken.
Keep your actinidia chinensis in a light position, but out of direct sunlight at least until they start to 'take off', as one of mine is doing now - pic coming soon. You can see in the picture how the lower leaves are burned from direct sunlight.
If you live in a frost free area, they can then be planted out in the garden, but take care where you plant them as they are vociferous climbers and will take off up the nearest tree!
I have mine planted next to a high chain link fence but they haven't 'taken off' yet as they are still recovering after a specially hot summer here in Southern Spain, and they hated the fluorine laden tap water which was all I could offer them to drink in the absence of rain. Thankfully cooler wetter weather has arrived and they should recover nicely.
For your little actinidia plant to produce kiwi fruit, you need two plants, one male and one female, although if you wish to grow a few, one male can probably fertilise up to 8 females. It is impossible to tell the difference until they bear flowers.
When I have flowers, I will add piccies showing the difference (hopefully). With my luck I will just have 20 males and no females - or the other way round!
Once you have established your sexes, it is just a matter of waiting to see the quality of the fruit. There is no guarantee the baby plant will produce anything as good as the parent; the converse is also true. The fruit you grow may be superior.
If such an event happens, it would probably be best from there on in to propagate new kiwi fruit vines from cuttings (clones) from the mother plant, else grow more seed and graft a branch of the desired plant onto any really vigorous rootstock.
For those who live in frost areas, it is probably better to grow them in a greenhouse or conservatory, a a severe frost will strike them dead, but beware they are big plants with big leaves, and they will probably steal all the light.
And there you have it. easy peasy. Grow your own kiwis.
You can also use the above method to grow shop bought seeds of actinidia chinensis. Kiwi fruit plants are deciduous, so come the autumn when they drop all their leaves, don't automatically think they have died and throw them out. They will re-grow in the spring.
If, however, you do not wish to wait forever for your kiwi plant to produce fruit, why not buy a plant meantime to keep you going?
The hardy kiwi is reputed to survive night frosts and snow and so is ideal for growing in the temperate regions of the world.
You could have fun experimenting with the seed of your very own fruit from this plant, else you can take cuttings and reproduce the same plant for other parts of your garden, or as gifts for friends and relatives.
You will need a male and a female kiwi plant to produce fruit. You could grow your own kiwis from seed and buy an actinidia chinensis plant from the shop, and mix the two.
For more information read : Growing Kiwi
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