Who doesn’t love eating Kiwi? It’s sweet, tangy, and refreshing. It’s even packed with Vitamin C, antioxidants, and Vitamin E, which makes it a much healthier alternative to junk food if ever you are craving for a good snack. It is often grown in areas such as China, New Zealand, Italy, Iran, and Chile, but if your backyard’s environment is suitable enough to promote the growth of this plant, why not grow your own and save yourself a trip to the store and a few bucks, right?
What You Need:
- a container
- warm water
- transparent resealable plastic bags
- paper towels
- potting soil
- pots for seedlings
- wood, metal wires
- a wide area for transplanting your seedlings
- chicken wire
- pruning shears
Steps to Grow Kiwi Fruit From Seed
First of all, you must know what variety of kiwi you wish to grow. The kiwi varieties that are commonly grown include the common kiwi, which is the type sold in grocery stores, the golden kiwi, which is a bit more delicate and yellowish, and the kiwi berry, which is smaller and has thinner skin.
Some varieties take longer to mature than others, so do your research and make sure to pick out whichever suits your needs.
2. Let The Seeds Open Up
Fill up a container with lukewarm water and soak the seeds. Leave it in a warm area, while constantly checking on and changing the water to prevent bacterial growth, and get the seeds once they have started to open.
Set the seeds carefully on a paper towel, and put the towel in a transparent resealable plastic bag. Close the bag and leave it a warm area, ideally in a spot that receives a good dose of sunlight. Make sure to keep the paper towel moist with water. Check your sprouting set-up daily until sprouting is observed.
Once the seeds have sprouted, transfer them to a pot with moistened potting soil.
It is essential that each seedling is given sufficient space to grow, so do not put more than three or four seeds in each pot. Ensure that all the seeds are covered with a thin layer of soil.
5. Grow Your Seedlings
Leave your pots in an area that receives sunlight. Young plants may be sensitive to low temperatures, and if needed, you may choose to keep your plant indoors and leave them in a place where they can still be exposed to sunlight several hours per day such as on the windowsill.
Eventually, the seedlings will outgrow their containers and when this happens, it’s time to transfer them to a bigger pot or a much larger open space.
Wherever you decide to transfer your seedlings, make sure that the environment is suitable for the growth of kiwifruits. It must be an area that is spacious, has moist soil, receives a lot of sunlight, and relatively acidic (around 6.0 to 6.5).
7. Build A Trellis
Kiwi grows in vines, so it is important to build a trellis for your plants to creep on using some wood and metal wire. If you have a fence or a gazebo, you can save time and use that instead.
8. Transplant and Seedlings
Carefully take each seedling from the pot, making sure that the roots are not damaged, and transfer it in a hole close to the base of the post that will serve as the plant’s support structure. Secure the base of the seedling by filling the hole with soil. Transplant as many seedlings as you can since not all kiwi plants bear fruit. Ideally, the plants must be about 10 feet apart from one another.
Don’t forget to check on your plants often and ensure that the soil is moist. Water your plants with about an inch of water every week. During hot seasons, ramp it up to up to 2 inches. Be careful not to “drown” your plants with too much water.
A year after transplanting your seedlings, treat your plants with 10-10-10 fertilizer, ideally those with phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen. Do this annually. Nitrogen is the nutrient that is commonly deficient in kiwi plants, so you may also try utilizing citrus or avocado tree fertilizers since these plants have the same nutrient requirements.
However, be cautious and make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying fertilizer since kiwi plants are susceptible to nitrogen burn.
11. Protect Your Plant
Pests and animals may ruin your plants and they tend to be more vulnerable when they have matured so make sure to keep these threats at bay. Kiwi plants are commonly a target of cats and Japanese beetles. To keep your plants safe, surround your set-up with a fence or some chicken wire. You may also spray some repellents or pesticides if ever the need arises.
12. Support Your Growing Plant
Your plants will start having excess shoots at some point, and you have to guide them to grow in the right direction along the trellis. It is important to do this properly since this will produce a strong “trunk” for your growing plant.
Prune your plants once a year. Prune female plants in late winter, since this is the time during which they are dormant. Male plants should be pruned right after flowering. When pruning, trim lateral shoots and excess canes that cannot be supported by the trellis.
It takes around four to five years after planting before kiwi plants flower. This is the only time when you can identify which plants are male and which are female. Male plants have flowers with yellow, pollen-covered anthers at the center. Female plants, on the other hand, have sticky stalks called stigma and white ovaries at the flower’s base. Since only female plants bear fruit, remove excess male plants, and distribute the remaining ones evenly among the females.
After a long time of taking care of your plants, it’s time to harvest them! To determine if the fruits are ripe enough to be harvested, pick one fruit from the vine and check if the seeds have blackened. Another way is to see if their skin has changed color (usually to brown).
Now you don’t have to leave the house whenever you’re craving for some kiwi! Yes, growing kiwi plants may definitely seem like a lot and it may take quite a long, long time before your plants actually bear fruit and become useful, but if you just take good care of them, it sure must be worth it in the end.