A delicious miniature kiwifruit that you can grow at home!
The kiwiberry (Actinidia arguta) is a type of tiny kiwifruit that grows well in cold climates and produces a tough, sweet berry. Like the kiwifruit, it originally came from China, but is now cultivated across the USA and New Zealand, as well as in many other countries around the world.
They're very sweet, and don't need to be peeled - like miniature kiwifruit without worrying about the fuzzy skin, mess or being ambushed by the sharpness of an unripe fruit! The berries are about the size of a gooseberry, around an inch and a half long, so make handy snacks.
The vine itself is great for vertical landscaping, and for growing fruit in colder regions.
Hardy Kiwis by Hunda, on Flickr
Do you like kiwiberries?
You can grow them yourself from seeds or cuttings fairly easily. The vine is hardy, prefers full sun, well drained and acidic soil and plenty of water. Be aware that it can grow quite high (up to 20 feet in a season!). They require 5 months (150 days) without frost while growing in spring as the new shoots are sensitive, but cope just fine with late freezes and gradual temperature drops to -34C (-30F). The fruit in autumn, but this varies with local conditions.
They don't fruit so well in warmer regions, and require both a male and a female vine for pollination (one male can pollinate up to six females). Seed germination takes a month, and flowering usually starts around May, in the Northern hemisphere.
Cats and Kiwiberries
Beware! Kiwiberry plants smell similar to catnip and your local kitty may go on a rampage tearing at your vines!
If you want to read a bit from an expert about growing kiwiberries, click through to this book and use the 'search inside this book' option (a small link under the photo on the left) to look up 'kiwi'. There's a short chapter of about three pages which talks about the vine, and where to grow it - as well as the 'super' hardy kiwifruit, Actinidia kolomikta (also known as the grape kiwi or Artic Beauty)
The kiwiberry is becoming a pest in forested areas, such as western Massachusetts, where it grows up trees and causes the entire tree to collapse under the weight of snow in winter.