Yes…It is true. You can grow Kiwis in a northern climate! And it is truly amazing how much fruit one vine can produce! These kiwis are a relative of the ones we buy in grocery stores. There are two different species of Kiwi that are hardy to our climate; Actinidia arguta, and Actinidia kolomikta. Actinidia arguta can handle zone 4 winters. Actinidia kolomikta can go even colder, being hardy to zone 3!
Hardy Kiwi (Actinidia arguta)
There are some main differences between the two species. Actinidia arguta (hardy kiwi) has incredibly fast growing vines that need a very sturdy trellis, or grown on a strong fence. They can grow 20 feet in a season so they can sometimes be a bit more intimidating to people who don’t want to prune often and want lower maintenance. They can also be grown in full sun to part shade. Their fruit is delicious and grape sized- many people prefer it over the regular kiwis we buy from the supermarket. These vines can handle most soil types, but ensure they are well draining.
Arctic Kiwi (Actinidia kolomitka)
Actinidia kolomitka are far less vigorous and management intensive than Actinidia arguta. They produce amazing tasting fruits and are perfect for a backyard gardener as they require very little work to get a lot of gain. Their leaves are sensitive to sun scald so should be planted in part shade to full shade. They tolerate most soil types, but ensure they are planted in well draining areas.
With most hardy kiwi and arctic kiwi you need both male and female plants for cross pollination. One male plant will allow 6 females to be pollinated. We do carry one variety of hardy kiwi called Issai and it is self fertile meaning you only need one plant to produce fruit. However the yield benefits from having multiple plants for cross pollination. For our arctic kiwi selection, we have one female called Red Beauty, and our male is called Arctic Beauty. They are both very ornamental and productive.
|Latin name||Actinidia arguta and actinidia kolomikta|
|Hardiness Zone||Arctic Kiwi is zone 3, and Hardy Kiwi is zone 4|
|Sun Requirements||part sun to full sun|
|Average year to bear fruit||4 to 5|
|Harvest Time||Late summer early fall|
|Soil||adaptable; will grow in just about anything besides water logged soils|
|Pollination||Others require one male to every 8 female plants. ‘Issai’ is self fertile. However yields improve with more plants.|