Mad About Berries

Kiwi Fruit Companion Plants: The Complete Guide

Kiwi vines, with their lush green foliage and delectable fruits, are a coveted addition to many gardens. However, like all plants, kiwis can benefit significantly from the right neighboring flora.

Companion planting, an age-old gardening technique, involves pairing plants that offer mutual benefits, enhancing growth, deterring pests, and promoting overall garden health.

Published: October 3, 2023.

kiwi fruits growing 1

Top 10 Kiwi Plant Companion Plants

Kiwis can successfully be grown with many companion plants, but here is a list of the top 10 kiwi fruit companion plants:

  • Grapes
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Comfrey
  • Nasturtium
  • Horseradish
  • Borage
  • Blueberries
  • Marigolds
  • Lemon balm

Of course, this list could be longer. When considering companion planting in general, take into account local growing conditions, soil conditions, sun, water, etc. requirements, common pests and diseases, harvesting seasons, etc.

Grapes

grapes

Grapes and kiwis are both vining plants that thrive in similar conditions, which makes them compatible when grown in proximity.

  • Similar Growing Requirements: Both grapes and kiwi plants prefer well-draining soil and have similar sunlight requirements. By planting them together, you can optimize the garden conditions to benefit both.
  • Structural Support: Since both plants are vines, they can share trellises or other structural supports. This efficient use of space and infrastructure can be especially beneficial in smaller gardens.
  • Pest Deterrence: While not exclusive to grapes, many plants, when grown in mixed cultures, can help deter or confuse pests. This makes it harder for pests to hone in on a particular plant.
  • Pollination: The presence of diverse plants can attract a variety of pollinators to the garden, which can benefit both the grapevines and the kiwi plants.
  • Timing: Grapes and kiwi vines have different fruiting times, allowing the gardener to harvest at different intervals. This can extend the harvesting season and make efficient use of the available space.

However, it's essential to manage both plants to ensure that one doesn't overtake or overshadow the other. Regular pruning and training of the vines can help in maintaining a balanced growth between the two.

It's also worth noting that individual experiences may vary, and what works well in one garden might not work as effectively in another. Always monitor the health and growth of your plants and adjust as necessary.

Beans

green beans

Beans can be beneficial companion plants for many crops, including kiwis, primarily because of their ability to fix nitrogen in the soil. Here's why beans are good companions for kiwis:

  • Nitrogen Fixation: Beans, like other legumes, have a symbiotic relationship with rhizobia bacteria in their roots, which allows them to fix atmospheric nitrogen into a form that plants can use. This process enriches the soil, providing a natural source of nitrogen to neighboring plants like kiwis.
  • Improved Soil Structure: The root system of beans can help in breaking up the soil, improving its structure. Good soil structure can be beneficial for kiwi plants, which require well-draining soils.
  • Pest Deterrence: Beans can deter certain pests that might otherwise target kiwi vines. On the other hand, the presence of kiwi vines may also deter some pests that are attracted to beans.
  • Ground Cover: Some varieties of beans, especially bush beans, can act as a ground cover, suppressing weeds that might compete with kiwi plants for nutrients.
  • Diverse Ecosystem: Intercropping or companion planting can lead to a more diverse garden ecosystem, which can in turn attract beneficial insects and improve overall plant health.

However, when planting beans near kiwis, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Ensure that beans don't overcompete with kiwi plants for sunlight, especially if you're growing taller bean varieties.
  • Monitor for pests and diseases that might be attracted to beans and could potentially transfer to kiwi vines.

As with any companion planting scenario, it's important to observe how the plants interact in your specific garden environment and adjust planting strategies as needed.

Peas

peas

Peas, like beans, are leguminous plants that can be beneficial as companion plants for various reasons, including:

  • Nitrogen Fixation: Similar to beans, peas have the ability to form a symbiotic relationship with rhizobia bacteria in their roots. This allows peas to fix atmospheric nitrogen and convert it into a usable form for plants, enriching the soil. Kiwi plants, which are heavy feeders, can benefit from this additional nitrogen source.
  • Improved Soil Structure: Pea roots can help improve soil structure by breaking it up and allowing better water infiltration. This can be particularly beneficial for kiwi plants, which need well-draining soil.
  • Ground Cover: Peas can provide ground cover, reducing the growth of weeds that might compete with kiwi plants for nutrients and water.
  • Pest Deterrence: The presence of peas might deter certain pests that could target kiwi plants and vice versa. Additionally, a diverse planting can create an environment less favorable for pests that prefer monocultures.
  • Beneficial Insects: Growing peas can attract beneficial insects, like predatory wasps and ladybugs, that can help control pests in the garden.
  • Spatial Efficiency: Since kiwi vines grow vertically and peas are typically not very tall, they can be planted relatively close without competing too much for sunlight.

However, as with beans or any other companion plant, there are considerations:

  • It's essential to ensure that the peas do not overly shade the kiwi plant's base or compete excessively for resources.
  • Regular observation of potential pest or disease issues that could affect either plant is crucial.

Each garden is unique, and the effectiveness of companion planting can vary based on numerous factors. It's always advisable to observe how plants interact in your specific garden environment and adjust planting strategies based on those observations.

Comfrey

comfrey

Comfrey is a well-regarded companion plant in permaculture and organic gardening due to its many beneficial properties, including the following:

  • Deep Taproot: Comfrey has a deep taproot that can reach nutrients and minerals unavailable to shallower-rooted plants. This allows comfrey to "mine" the subsoil for these nutrients and bring them to the surface. When comfrey leaves die back or are chopped and dropped, these nutrients become available to plants with more superficial roots, like kiwi.
  • Nutrient-Rich Mulch: Comfrey leaves decompose rapidly and release nutrients, especially potassium, which is beneficial for fruiting plants like kiwis. Gardeners often chop and drop comfrey leaves to use as a mulch around other plants.
  • Natural Fertilizer: The high nutrient content of comfrey leaves makes them excellent for composting and making nutrient-rich liquid fertilizers.
  • Pest Deterrence: Some gardeners believe that comfrey, due to its strong scent, can deter certain pests. While there isn't conclusive scientific evidence for this, the belief persists in some gardening circles.
  • Beneficial Insect Attraction: Comfrey flowers can attract beneficial pollinators and predatory insects, which can aid in the pollination of kiwi flowers and help reduce pest populations.
  • Soil Improver: The decaying leaves of comfrey can improve soil structure over time, making it more fertile and well-draining.
  • Disease Prevention: Comfrey has traditionally been believed to have anti-fungal properties, which can potentially help prevent fungal diseases in proximity to plants.

Despite these benefits, it's crucial to manage comfrey appropriately. Comfrey can be quite invasive due to its deep roots and rapid growth. Regularly cutting it back and using it as mulch or compost can help manage its spread.

It's also essential to ensure that comfrey doesn't shade out or compete with the kiwi plant too aggressively.

Nasturtium

nasturtium

Nasturtiums are popular companion plants for various reasons, and they can offer several benefits when planted near kiwi vines, including:

  • Pest Deterrence: One of the most touted benefits of nasturtiums is their ability to deter a variety of pests. Their strong scent can mask the aroma of other plants, making it harder for pests to locate their primary targets. This can be especially useful for protecting kiwis from certain pests.
  • Trap Cropping: Nasturtiums can act as a trap crop for aphids, which are attracted to them. By diverting aphids and other pests to the nasturtiums, other plants, like kiwi vines, are less likely to be attacked.
  • Beneficial Insect Attraction: Nasturtium flowers can attract a variety of beneficial insects, including predatory ones that can help keep pest populations in check.
  • Edible and Ornamental: Nasturtiums are not only beneficial for pest management, but they are also ornamental and edible. Their vibrant flowers can add beauty to the garden, and both the leaves and flowers can be consumed, offering a peppery taste.
  • Soil Health: Nasturtiums are relatively light feeders, meaning they won't heavily compete with kiwi vines for nutrients. Plus, their broad leaves can provide a sort of living mulch, helping to keep the soil moist and preventing excessive weed growth.
  • Climbing Variety: If you choose the climbing variety of nasturtium, it can grow alongside kiwi vines, perhaps on the lower parts of a trellis. This can offer an additional layer of protection from pests and create a visually appealing combination of leaves and flowers.

Again, as with any companion plant, it's essential to monitor the relationship between the nasturtiums and kiwi vines. Ensure that the nasturtiums do not compete excessively for space or resources or inadvertently attract pests in numbers that could become problematic.

Proper management and occasional adjustments based on observations will help maintain a harmonious relationship between the plants.

Horseradish

horseradish

Horseradish, with its deep roots and robust growth, can offer specific benefits when used as a companion plant in the garden, including the following:

  • Pest Deterrence: Horseradish has been traditionally used as a deterrent for various pests due to its strong scent and potent compounds. This can potentially protect nearby plants, like kiwi vines, from specific pests.
  • Deep Root System: The deep root system of horseradish can help break up compacted soils, which improves soil aeration and drainage. This is beneficial for kiwi vines, which require well-draining soils.
  • Disease Prevention: Some gardeners believe that horseradish can help deter or even combat certain fungal diseases in the soil, providing a healthier environment for neighboring plants.
  • Dynamic Accumulator: Similar to comfrey, horseradish is believed to be a dynamic accumulator. Its deep roots can draw up nutrients from the subsoil and make them available on the surface when its leaves decay.
  • Natural Barrier: Due to its robust growth, horseradish can be planted as a barrier around certain areas of the garden, which can help protect more sensitive plants from pests or even weed encroachment.

However, there are some considerations when planting horseradish near kiwis or any other plants:

  • Aggressive Growth: Horseradish can be invasive and spread rapidly if not managed. It's essential to keep its growth in check to ensure it doesn't overshadow or outcompete the kiwi vines.
  • Harvesting Impact: Digging up horseradish for its roots can disturb the surrounding soil, which might impact neighboring plants like kiwis.
  • Resource Competition: Even though horseradish is a hardy plant, it still requires nutrients and water. Ensure it doesn't compete excessively with kiwi plants for these resources.

As with any companion planting strategy, careful observation and periodic adjustments are crucial to ensure a beneficial relationship between the plants.

Borage

borage

Borage (Borago officinalis) is a valuable companion plant for various reasons, and when planted with kiwi, it can offer several benefits:

  • Attracts Beneficial Insects: Borage is well-known for its ability to attract beneficial insects, especially bees and predatory insects. The presence of these insects can help with pollination and control of pest populations.
  • Pest Deterrence: Borage can deter certain pests, like tomato hornworms and cabbage worms, from the garden. Although these pests aren't typically problematic for kiwi vines, the overall pest-deterrent atmosphere created by borage can be beneficial.
  • Soil Health: Borage is deep-rooted, which can help in improving soil structure. As its roots break down after the plant dies back, they create channels that enhance water infiltration and root growth for nearby plants.
  • Nutrient Addition: Borage leaves are high in calcium, potassium, and other minerals. When they decompose, these nutrients are returned to the soil and become available to neighboring plants.
  • Edible and Medicinal: Apart from its companion planting benefits, borage leaves and flowers are edible. They can be used in salads or as garnishes. Traditionally, borage has also been used for its medicinal properties.
  • Disease Prevention: There's some anecdotal evidence to suggest that borage might have antifungal properties, which can potentially help prevent soil-borne fungal diseases.
  • Improves Flavor and Growth: Some gardeners believe that borage can enhance the flavor of fruits when planted nearby. While the scientific evidence for this is limited, the overall beneficial environment created by borage can promote better growth for nearby plants, including kiwi.

Blueberries

blueberries

Blueberries and kiwis can be compatible when grown in proximity due to several complementary characteristics:

  • Similar Soil pH Requirements: Both blueberries and kiwis prefer slightly acidic soil. Blueberries, in particular, thrive in soils with a pH level of 4.5 to 5.5. Kiwi plants also appreciate slightly acidic conditions with pH between 5.0 and 6.5, making them compatible from a soil requirement perspective, at least in the pH 5.0 to 5.5 range.
  • Beneficial Microclimate: Both plants enjoy similar environmental conditions - well-draining soil and full sun to partial shade. By grouping plants with similar needs, you can create a beneficial microclimate where adjustments to light, watering, or soil amendments benefit the entire group.
  • Spread of Pollinators: Having both blueberries and kiwis in close proximity can ensure a more extended presence of pollinators in the area. Both plants rely on bees for effective pollination. The more diverse your garden, the more attractive it is for pollinators, ensuring a better fruit set for both plants.
  • Ground Coverage: While kiwi vines grow vertically, especially when trained on a trellis or arbor, blueberry bushes can offer ground coverage, reducing weed growth and helping to maintain soil moisture.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Both kiwi vines and blueberry bushes can add visual interest to a garden. The combination of kiwi's climbing habit with the bushy growth of blueberries can be both functional and visually appealing.
  • Staggered Harvesting Times: Depending on the variety, blueberries and kiwis often have staggered ripening times. This can be beneficial for gardeners looking to have a continuous harvest throughout the season.

However, some considerations should be kept in mind:

  • Watering Needs: While both plants like well-draining soil, blueberries have shallow root systems that can dry out quickly. It's essential to ensure that both plants receive adequate water, especially during dry periods.
  • Spacing: Ensure that both plants have enough space to grow without excessively competing for resources. Blueberry bushes can spread, and kiwi vines can become large, so adequate spacing is crucial.
  • Pest and Disease Monitoring: Introducing various plants in proximity can sometimes mean shared pests or diseases. Regular monitoring can ensure early detection and management.

Marigolds

marigold

Marigolds, especially the French and Mexican varieties (Tagetes patula and Tagetes erecta, respectively), are renowned companion plants in many gardening circles due to their numerous beneficial properties.

  • Nematode Control: Marigolds, particularly certain varieties like the French marigold, have been found to suppress detrimental nematodes in the soil. Nematodes are microscopic worms, some of which can damage plant roots. The marigold's roots release a substance that can deter these nematodes, making the soil healthier for nearby plants, including kiwis.
  • Pest Deterrence: Marigolds have a strong scent that can mask the aroma of nearby plants, making it harder for pests to locate their primary targets. This scent can deter various pests, potentially protecting kiwi vines from certain harmful insects.
  • Attract Beneficial Insects: While marigolds can deter certain pests, they can also attract beneficial insects. Their bright flowers can lure pollinators and predatory insects, such as ladybugs, which prey on aphids and other pests.
  • Bright Aesthetic Appeal: Marigolds add vibrant color and beauty to gardens, enhancing the aesthetic appeal when combined with the green foliage of kiwi plants.
  • Easy to Grow: Marigolds are relatively low maintenance and easy to grow, making them a convenient companion for various plants, including kiwi.
  • Disease Prevention: Some gardeners believe that marigolds can help deter or prevent certain fungal diseases in the soil due to their antifungal properties, although this benefit is more anecdotal.

Lemon Balm

lemon balm

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a herbaceous perennial plant with a pleasant lemony scent. As a companion plant, lemon balm can offer several potential benefits for kiwi vines and other garden plants:

  • Pest Deterrence: The strong lemon scent of lemon balm can help deter various pests. This aromatic mask can make it harder for pests to locate their primary targets, offering some protection to neighboring plants like kiwi vines.
  • Attracts Beneficial Insects: Lemon balm's small flowers can attract bees, which are essential for pollination, as well as other beneficial insects that help control pest populations.
  • Improves Local Microclimate: Lemon balm can create a microclimate by providing ground cover that helps retain soil moisture, reduce soil erosion, and suppress weed growth.
  • Medicinal and Culinary Uses: Apart from its companion planting benefits, lemon balm has traditional medicinal uses, particularly for its calming effects. It can also be used in teas, salads, and various dishes for its mild lemon flavor.
  • Disease Deterrence: There's some anecdotal evidence to suggest that the aromatic properties of lemon balm might help deter certain fungal diseases.
  • Enhances Biodiversity: Introducing various plants like lemon balm can increase the biodiversity of a garden, which can, in turn, make the garden more resilient to pests and diseases.

kiwi fruits growing 2

Remember, the suitability of companion plants can vary based on the specific conditions and requirements of your garden, so it's always a good idea to research further and see which plants work best for your unique situation.



Go to Top