Skip to main content

These are the best climate zones to grow delicious kiwis

Do you love your kiwi fruit and want to grow your own in your backyard? Many people are familiar with kiwis growing in places like Australia and needing subtropical conditions to thrive, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying to grow your own. There are many varieties of kiwis that can grow in almost every state. Keep reading to learn more about kiwi growing zones, which plants are right for your area, and how to care for them.

Kiwis growing on a vine

What to know about kiwis

There are 50 different varieties of kiwi plants to choose from. Many of them have uniquely colored flesh. Although several varieties are self-pollinating, many are not, so you need both female and male plants to produce fruit. The hardier varieties are smaller than the fuzzy brown kiwis we know, but you don’t have to peel the skin.

Related Videos

Instead, you can eat the fruit right off the plant. Once you plant and establish your new kiwi plants, they’ll start their best production around eight years old. Unfortunately, this means you have to wait that long to see the fruits of your labors — literally.

The blooms of a kiwi plant are just as lovely as the fruit itself. They are small white flowers with a fragrance similar to the lily of the valley. So while you’re patiently waiting for those yummy snacks, you can enjoy beautiful flowers in the early spring.

Which kiwi variety is best for you?

All kiwi varieties fall into four categories: arctic, hardy, fuzzy, and hairless. Some types need to grow in subtropical climates and will die in temperatures below 10 degrees Fahrenheit. However, others are hardy enough to succeed in Russia and survive and even thrive in temperatures as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal kiwi fruit plant for you is the one that matches your size and taste preference and can also survive in your specific USDA climate zone.

For those with shorter growing seasons and cold winters, varieties such as Ananasnaya, Dumbarton Oaks, Geneva, and Issai are excellent options. These are hardy varieties explicitly made for colder climates. While they aren’t brown and fuzzy nor as big as the kiwis we find in the store, they pack a big punch of flavor for their size, and they don’t need to be peeled before eating.

If you’re in a warmer and wetter climate, you can grow the fuzzy kiwis that we all know and love. Examples of these are the Hayward variety, which is the most commonly found kiwi in grocery stores. Meander, Saanichton 12, and Blake are also great kiwi plants for warmer zones like California.

Frigid zones like those in Vermont or Maine aren’t left out. There are arctic kiwi plants that can grow in extremely cold conditions. Arctic Beauty, Krupnopladnaya, and Pautske are Russian varieties that can withstand the harsh conditions of the northern states.

Caring for kiwi plants

How to care for kiwi fruit plants

To figure out where on your property is best to plant a kiwi vine, look for a place with full sun. Then, space each vine about 10 to 12 feet apart to give them plenty of room to grow and expand. Be sure you have easy access to water as well. Until they are well established and have grown healthy vines and roots, kiwi fruits need plenty of water to keep them healthy.

Kiwi vines grow quickly and will need the support of a sturdy trellis or pergola to hold them up. Some varieties have been known to grow 40 feet tall! While the young plants are growing, you’ll need to train them to grow up the trellis, similar to climbing roses or grapes. It’s as easy as using string to tie the vines to your chosen support system and pruning off vines that don’t obey or grow too wild to bring them back in.

Be sure you have heavy-duty and high-quality pruning shears when growing kiwi plants. Pruning is one of the most important jobs of a kiwi grower, and it happens at least three times a year. Because they’re such prolific growers, kiwi fruits need to be pruned first when they are dormant in the winter. At this time, prune any vines that produced fruit that year or any dead or crossed vines.

Variegated kiwi vine

The 1-year-old vines will be the ones to produce fruit for the next year, so don’t prune those off; just trim the ends until the eighth node, to keep the plant focused on producing fruit. Twice during the summer, you’ll have to prune your kiwi plant again. Look for long arching vines that extend past where the fruits are growing. These are wasting energy and will lower the number of fruits you can harvest.

As with most gardening, kiwi fruit vines prefer heavy mulch. A 3-inch layer of mulch or chopped leaves will do the trick, but be sure to keep it back from the vines about 3 inches. You don’t want to mulch right up against the vine, or else you might risk rot or other diseases.

If the fruits aren’t ripe and ready, but the weather suggests there’s a frost coming, go ahead and harvest the fruit and allow it to ripen on your kitchen counter. While this isn’t ideal, it’s better than losing an entire harvest to an early frost.

Kiwi plants are delicious and relatively easy to care for, and they’re pretty too. Learn about the kiwi plant zones so you can grow yummy food while also having a beautiful landscape. It’s a win-win!

Editors' Recommendations

These are the 10 best gardening shows to stream right now
No matter your streaming service, there's a gardening show just for you
Binge Netflix garden shows

Whether you're an expert gardener or you're new to gardening, you might find yourself in need of some inspiration to get your green thumb into shape come next gardening season. As it turns out, sometimes the best way to get your gardening mojo back is to watch TV shows that showcase extraordinary gardening. Maybe they'll give you ideas for new color combinations or plant combos you never thought of before, or maybe they'll inspire your next ambitious landscaping project.

There are plenty of gardening shows out there on all your favorite streaming platforms, such as Netflix, Apple TV, and Amazon Prime. You may not even be aware these shows exist and could be missing out on some amazing ideas for your garden!

Read more
The best vegetables to plant in November
Tips on which vegetables to grow when the temperatures drop
Pumpkin on a vine

Some vegetables are more suited to be grown in cooler months than others. It all depends on their growing conditions and the kind of environment they prefer. When you’re planting vegetables during winter, the chances are you’re planting them in an insular setting — be it in a greenhouse or in your home. These are a few ideal vegetables to plant in November, but there are many others beyond them if these aren’t up your alley.

Growing rhubarb in containers during the winter is possible, so long as you have a large enough pot to accommodate the plant. With rhubarb, depth is more important than width (depending on how many you want per pot) because of its large root system. You want to make sure you select pots or containers that are sturdy, have good drainage, and are at least twenty inches deep. To the same effect, the soil should be designed for good draining to avoid drowning or rotting the plant. A healthy rhubarb could live and produce for up to ten years if you play your hand right.

Read more
4 November garden plants you should consider growing
The best crops and landscape plants for late fall
Close-up of daffodils in sunlight

November is the end of autumn and the beginning of winter, so it isn’t typically a time when people think about working in their gardens. However, November can still be a productive gardening month! We’ve prepared a list of four flowers and vegetables you can plant in your garden this November — we’ll even give you tips and tricks for growing them, what climates they grow best in, and when you can expect to see results. If you aren’t planning on planting a cover crop this winter, try out one of these four November garden plants.

Daffodils are spring-blooming flowers, but they’re often planted in the fall. Daffodil bulbs should be planted two or three weeks before the ground freezes, so keep an eye on your local weather for the best results. In mild climates, daffodils can be planted as late as the end of November, while cooler climates may need to plant them in September or October.

Read more