Kiwai (Actinidia Arguta), Mini-Kiwi Or Siberian Kiwifruit

Kiwai (Actinidia arguta), mini-kiwi or Siberian kiwifruit, fruit tree from the garden

Kiwai is a cousin of the kiwi fruit: its edible fruits begin to be sought for their nutritional virtues (rich in vitamin C and polyphenols). It is finally quite easy to cultivate.

The fruit, which is a berry, grows in clusters on the climbing plant which is very resistant to the cold (-25° C) which makes it an additional asset compared to the kiwi. Another difference is the small size of the oblong fruits measuring about 2.5 cm long, with smooth yellow-green skin. All this also explains that it is called rustic kiwi or mini kiwi.

The plant can measure up to 8 m in length. It has dark green, oval leaves 10-12 cm long, with silky teeth. It is in June that the flowering takes place with scented flowers of 2 cm in diameter, grouped by three. The plant being dioecious, it is necessary to plant male feet and female feet.

  • Family: Actinidiaceae
  • Type: perennial
  • Origin: Japan, China, Korea
  • Color: white flowers
  • Sowing: yes
  • Cutting: yes
  • Planting: spring or autumn
  • Harvest: September-October
  • Height: up to 8 m

Ideal soil and exposure to plant a kiwai in the garden

The kiwai must be planted in soil rich in humus, light and well drained, but not limestone. The semi-shade will suit him.

Date of sowing, cutting and planting kiwai

It is in the spring or the fall that you will sow the kiwaï under cold frame. Semi-woody cuttings can be made in August as well as cultivar grafts.

The planting is done in the fall, although in the colder regions, it will be better to do it in the spring.

Board of maintenance and culture of kiwaï

Since the plant is dioecious, at least one male foot should be planted for four or five female feet spaced 3 to 4 m apart.

Regular watering in summer may be necessary. A size with two eyes is done in winter on the branches which gave fruits, and a size of 2/3 takes place on the other branches.

Harvesting, conservation and use of kiwi

The plant takes 2 or 3 years before giving fruit. The kiwai is harvested in September-October and is eaten fresh without removing the skin.

It can be harvested a little before maturity because it continues to mature after being picked up. However, it is kept one or two weeks maximum.

It is sought today for its richness in vitamin C (much higher than that of kiwi), trace elements (potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron...) and polyphenols.

Diseases, pests and parasites of kiwai

We do not know him especially enemies.

Location and favorable association of kiwi

The association of male plants which will fertilize the female plants is essential. As it is a liana, the plant must be trellised on a support: fence, pergola, arbor...

Actinidia arguta 'Issai' is a less vigorous autofertile variety, Actinidia arguta 'Weiki' is a male variety conducive to good pollination, Actinidia arguta 'Geneva' gives early red fruits, Actinidia arguta 'Ken's red' has dark red fruits.

(Photo: Warden - CC BY-SA 3.0)

Video: Propagating Hardy Kiwi ~ Spectacular Results!.

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