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Kiwi (Actinidia) Solo
The Kiwi Solo is a reliable and self-fertile Kiwi fruit tree so therefore does not need another Kiwi fruit tree planted near by to produce fruit. The catalogue states that it is free flowering so we assume it will not charge you for the flowers?
The fruit is almost round and slightly smaller that other varieties of Kiwi and the fruit is mature in January.
The Kiwi Solo is considered vigorous and best results would be achieved by growing against a south facing wall. You can still grow in a sheltered position, over a pergola or trellis.
Expect the Kiwi blooms in June and they should be a creamy white colour. Fruits make an appearance around the 3-4 year point but as we sell ours at 2+ years old you should only have to wait a season or two.
Expect a final height of around 6 metres with a 4 metre spread but obviously this depends on how you support and train your Kiwi. One way would be to make a frame work of horizontal supports with wires, bamboo, wood etc. Let the plant grow up one of the supports and then train it to grow to the sides. Fruit will appear on one year old wood.
GRAB A KIWI BARGAIN
For great value and if available, buy the 12 litre tripod option as this comes with 3 Kiwi Solo plants in one pot, each growing up a single cane making up a tripod. They are the same age and tree as the other options, simply 2 more plants sharing a pot.
Quick Fruit Tree Links
Take a look at our TOP SELLING FRUIT TREES, Wet ground issues then choose a PEAR TREE first, followed by APPLE TREES. For more information on pollination please look at POLLINATION EXPLAINED or choosing the CORRECT POLLINATION PARTNER
Fruit Tree Life Expectancy
Most fruit trees will give you AT LEAST 40 years of fruit. Pears can go to 70. Records of 200 year old trees exist but this is the exception, not the rule.
General Kiwi Plant Information
Although Kiwis are quite forgiving (good candidates for working on the Samaritans Help Line?) in terms of temperature preference, best results will be gained by planting them in full sun with shelter e.g. a garden with fences to keep the high winds off. Although they will tolerate less than perfect soils, a deep sandy loam is preferable but try to keep them out of clay.
Newly transplanted Kiwi plants should be watered every day until you are sure they have taken hold. Evidence of this could be new shoots or visible growth.
A kiwi plant will need 240 frost free days to perform well so if you are in less than perfect conditions, under glass or polythene will be your safest bet. A general rule of thumb is that if peaches, almonds and citrus are growing in your area then kiwi will be fine also.
On the flip side, if the winter is not cold enough, the kiwi may fail to loose all its leaves and will then fail to flower.
The easiest and arguably the best place to plant a kiwi fruit is along a trellis or some other form of support. An overhead trellis is perfect as the fruits will drop making them easier to harvest.
For the purists out there, an acidic soil of 5 to 6.5 will yield best results along with lots of organic matter and not too high in salt. If the soil is lacking, the leaves will show nitrogen deficiency. This will be evident by pale green or yellow leaves on the older leaves and poor growth. The older leaves show first as the plant will move nitrogen from the older leaves to protect the newer ones. Adding too much carbon to the soil e.g. sawdust can cause this problem as the soil organisms use the nitrogen to break down the carbon. A quick fix is to mulch with grass clippings or use a fertilizer high in nitrogen. A longer fix is to build organic matter up in the soil or use green manure techniques such as planting red or white clover.
If the leaves turn brown and fall off, especially in the summer, this could be a sign of insufficient watering.
Kiwi vines are quite nitrogen hungry especially early in the season. If you are going to feed them, do this around March time.
Mulching is recommended but don't let it come into contact with the vine. Do this in mid-spring and make it at least 3 inches deep. This will suppress weeds, retain soil moisture and help keep the root system cool.
If you catch your cat rubbing your kiwi or digging at the root, it is because there is a scent coming from the tree that is similar to catnip.
Unknown Kiwi sex
If you have a single kiwi fruit vine that is not producing fruits then you have a male or female vine and require the opposite sex planted nearby. To establish which sex you have, look at the blossom. Female flowers will have a pure white star shaped stigma. This is the central part of the flower and looks like thick hairs. The male flower will have a central section that also looks like thick hairs but they will be yellow or orange in colour.
Some chefs use kiwi fruit to tenderise meat as there is an enzyme in the fruits that makes meat softer.
Most kiwi fruits are high in Vitamins A,C and E along with potassium and the seeds are high in ALA (part of omega 3 fatty acid)
You can eat the skin of Kiwi fruits but it is an acquired taste. If you do not know where your kiwi came from e.g. the supermarket, then it is possible it has been sprayed and these chemicals will still be in the skin. The same problem occurs if you live close to a busy road, particulates from the engine exhaust could be in the skin regardless of the amount of washing. In these instances, best to peel. The benefit to eating the skin is that it contains flavonoids, insoluble fibre and anti-oxidants.
When you harvest the fruits, they might be quite hard. Finish ripening by putting into a bag of apples.
The fruits will last several months inside a plastic bag and chilled and will be ripe when the seeds are black.
They were introduced to the West at the beginning of the 20th century when a missionary called Isabel Fraiser took them to New Zealand after visiting China. The seeds were planted in 1906 and the first kiwi fruits harvested in 1910. It took another 42 years to bring them to England when 13 tonnes of them were exported to us...nothing like a sense of urgency then.
Kiwi are a bit like teenagers. Leave them unsupervised and they take the easiest route. If you leave your Kiwi plant un-pruned, it will put its efforts into leaf and stem production rather than fruit.
If you are training it to climb a trellis, let it grow until it reaches the height you want it to be and then train the main stem to grow to the sides. Train side shoots to grow out horizontally as well and when they all get to the end of the frame, cut the tips. These will then be the permanent growing structure for your fruits. All new shoots that then come from this structure, prune back to 4-5 leaves. This then forces the vine to put its resources into blossoms and fruits.
As blossoms only grow on one year old wood or at the base of new shoots, your growing structure will soon become congested. The time to cut out the congested sections of your growing structure will be in the winter. It will look harsh but if you choose a section of the vine to do each season your losses will be minimal. You then train in a shoot to replace it.
In the summer, all the shoots that have fruit on them, remove the shoot past the fruit except 4-5 leaves. Once the fruit has been harvested, shorten the shoot to around 5-8 cm. This again forces the vine to put resources into the fruit and also lets in valuable heat and light.