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Hardy Kiwi Vine

Hardy Kiwi Vine – by Jean Atkinson, Richbar Nursery Golf and Gardens

Clematis is known as the ‘Queen of the Vines’ but what about the other vines out there? I’d like to introduce you to a vine that has something else to offer.

This one is ornamental in a totally different way. Actinidia kolmikta is a hardy (zone 3) variegated kiwi vine. Yes, you can grow kiwi in the Cariboo. This is one of the hardiest species and will tolerate temperatures of - 30C. It is susceptible to early spring frosts so protect with some mulching.

I like this variety for its foliage. The male has striking tri-coloured pink, white and green variegated leaves. Both male and female come in the same pot so you have both, which is necessary for fruit production.

I have grown the ‘Issai’ hardy kiwi and it did produce gooseberry sized fruit. A. kolmikta has grape sized sweet fruit with soft, tender skin – no fuzz. This vine can be trained like a grape if you are really interested in fruit production.

This vine requires staking so give it a good structure to ramble on. It can reach a height of 3m with a spread of 2m. It is versatile in that it grows in either sun or shade in well-drained soil. Fruit production would be better in the sun.

You could plant it next to clematis and let them intertwine. Then you would have fabulous flowers, funky foliage, delicious fruit and probably the only one on the block with a kiwi.

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