Mad About Berries

How to Grow Kiwi Fruit In Pots and Containers

Growing kiwi fruit in pots and containers offers a practical solution for gardeners with limited space or unsuitable soil conditions.

Kiwi plants, with their beautiful foliage and delicious fruits, can thrive in containers if given proper care.

Published: March 8, 2024.
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Choosing the Right Variety

Start by selecting a kiwi variety suited for container growth. Dwarf or mini kiwi varieties, such as 'Issai', are ideal because they naturally have a more compact growth habit.

These varieties also tend to be self-fertile, eliminating the need for multiple plants to ensure pollination and fruit production.

However, be sure to have enough (different) plants to ensure pollination, especially if there are no other kiwi plants close by.

Container Requirements

  • Size: Choose a large container, at least 18-24 inches (46-61 cm) in diameter and depth, to accommodate the kiwi's extensive root system.
  • Material: Opt for a sturdy material that can support the weight of the soil and plant. Wooden barrels or thick plastic pots are good choices.
  • Drainage: Ensure the container has adequate drainage holes to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot.

Generally, the larger the container, the better. But, larger containers with fully grown plants can be rather heavy, especially if they have to be moved when there is a danger of frost. Thus, if the containers have to be moved, place them on carts (or similar) and move with ease.

Soil Type

Kiwi plants prefer well-draining, fertile soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH (5.5 to 7).

A mix of potting soil, compost, and perlite or vermiculite will provide the necessary nutrients and aeration for healthy growth.

Planting

Plant kiwi in the spring after the risk of frost has passed. Center the plant in the pot and fill around it with your soil mixture, leaving an inch or so of space below the rim for watering.

Note: one plant per pot - kiwi plants, even dwarf varieties, require decent space for their roots.

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Watering

Kiwi plants in containers require consistent moisture but should not be waterlogged. Water when the top inch of soil feels dry, ensuring deep irrigation that reaches the roots. In hot, dry conditions, daily watering may be necessary.

If possible, use a water dripping system, even if that means a plastic bottle placed upside down with a commercial or improvized dripping system.

Fertilization

Feed your kiwi plant with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring as new growth appears.

Additionally, applying a high-potassium liquid fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season can support fruit development.

Many growers achieve excellent results by combining worm castings with other fertilizers - worm castings slowly release nutrients and feed the plants with a constant stream of nutrients over a longer period of time. Additionally, worm castings, compost, and similar organic fertilizers improve the soil.

Support and Training

Kiwi plants are vigorous climbers and will need support as they grow. Install a trellis or support structure in the pot at planting time.

Train the main vine up the support, pruning as necessary to encourage branching.

Note: If you live in an area where the danger of frost comes early, be sure that the pot is placed on the cart and that it can be freely moved around.

Pruning Kiwi Plants

Regular pruning is crucial for container-grown kiwi to manage size and promote fruiting.

In winter, prune back last year’s fruiting canes to 3-4 buds from the main stem.

During the growing season, trim excess growth to ensure sunlight penetration and air circulation.

Kiwi Fruit Harvest

Kiwi fruits typically ripen in late summer to fall. Harvest when fruits are slightly soft to the touch and have a fragrant smell.

Fruits may need to ripen off the vine for a few days before eating.

Pests and Diseases

Common pests include aphids, vine weevils, and spider mites. Diseases to watch out for are root rot, botrytis, and powdery mildew.

Regular inspection and prompt removal of affected parts can help manage these issues. Use appropriate organic or chemical treatments as needed.

For short, don't overwater your kiwis, when watering, don't get leaves wet, and be sure that excess leaves are removed so that sun and fresh air can reach all parts of kiwi plant.

Pros and Cons of Growing in Pots

Pros:

  • Mobility: Containers can be moved to optimize sun exposure or protect from harsh weather, allowing the gardeners to grow kiwis in areas where it wouldn't be possible due to cold weather.
  • Soil control: Easier to manage soil quality and pH levels, helping gardeners in areas with mostly heavy clay soil, or rocky terrain.
  • Disease management: Reduced risk of soil-borne diseases.

Cons:

  • Watering: Requires more frequent watering than ground-planted kiwis.
  • Size restriction: Limits the growth and fruit production of the plant.
  • Maintenance: Requires more intensive care, including regular pruning and fertilization.

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Additional Tips For Growing Kiwi Fruits in Pots and Containers

  • Mulching the topsoil can help retain moisture and suppress weeds.
  • Consider having a male plant nearby or choosing a self-fertile variety to ensure fruit production.
  • Monitor soil pH and nutrient levels annually, adjusting as necessary to maintain optimal growing conditions.

With proper care and attention, your kiwi plants grown in pots and containers can provide both beautiful foliage and delicious fruits for many years.

Growing such plants in pots requires some extra effort, but it's worth it.



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