How to Grow Kiwis from Seed
Actinidia chinensis is the botanical name for the kiwi fruit vine and is one of my favorite hot plants.
Growing kiwis from seed is simple. Buy a kiwi fruit from your local fruitshop. Take it home and cut it open. Extract as best you can the tiny little seeds contained within. Eat the rest.
Dry the seeds for a day or two, then put in a compost filled pot and just cover and no more with a light dusting of compost. Dampen the soil and place inside a sealed plastic bag. Place out of direct sunlight and within weeks (or in some cases days) you should see signs of successful germination.
I usually wait until the second set of leaves from the actinidia have formed, then remove from plastic bag. Place on a sunny windowsill and when the third or fourth set of leaves have formed, gently remove and replant into individual pots.
If you are growing lots of other plants, remember to label them actinidia chinensis.
Kiwi seedlings can actually be moved when they are much smaller; usually they are overcrowded in the pot unless you only planted one or two seeds. As with all tiny plants, handle only by leaf, NEVER by the stem, and take care not to damage their little baby roots.
The plant in the picture here was around six months old at the time the pic was taken.
Keep your actinidia chinensis in a light position, but out of direct sunlight at least until they start to 'take off', as one of mine is doing now - pic coming soon. You can see in the picture how the lower leaves are burned from direct sunlight.
If you live in a frost free area, they can then be planted out in the garden, but take care where you plant them as they are vociferous climbers and will take off up the nearest tree!
I have mine planted next to a high chain link fence but they haven't 'taken off' yet as they are still recovering after a specially hot summer here in Southern Spain, and they hated the fluorine laden tap water which was all I could offer them to drink in the absence of rain. Thankfully cooler wetter weather has arrived and they should recover nicely.
For your little actinidia plant to produce kiwi fruit, you need two plants, one male and one female, although if you wish to grow a few, one male can probably fertilise up to 8 females. It is impossible to tell the difference until they bear flowers.
When I have flowers, I will add piccies showing the difference (hopefully). With my luck I will just have 20 males and no females - or the other way round!
Once you have established your sexes, it is just a matter of waiting to see the quality of the fruit. There is no guarantee the baby plant will produce anything as good as the parent; the converse is also true. The fruit you grow may be superior.
If such an event happens, it would probably be best from there on in to propagate new kiwi fruit vines from cuttings (clones) from the mother plant, else grow more seed and graft a branch of the desired plant onto any really vigorous rootstock.
For those who live in frost areas, it is probably better to grow them in a greenhouse or conservatory, a a severe frost will strike them dead, but beware they are big plants with big leaves, and they will probably steal all the light.
And there you have it. easy peasy. Grow your own kiwis.
You can also use the above method to grow shop bought seeds of actinidia chinensis. Kiwi fruit plants are deciduous, so come the autumn when they drop all their leaves, don't automatically think they have died and throw them out. They will re-grow in the spring.
If, however, you do not wish to wait forever for your kiwi plant to produce fruit, why not buy a plant meantime to keep you going?
The hardy kiwi is reputed to survive night frosts and snow and so is ideal for growing in the temperate regions of the world.
You could have fun experimenting with the seed of your very own fruit from this plant, else you can take cuttings and reproduce the same plant for other parts of your garden, or as gifts for friends and relatives.
You will need a male and a female kiwi plant to produce fruit. You could grow your own kiwis from seed and buy an actinidia chinensis plant from the shop, and mix the two.
For more information read : Growing Kiwi
My kiwi vine with fruit
IzzyM (author) from UK on June 22, 2011:
When you can remove the fruit from the vine easily without tugging or tearing, it is ready :)
christina on June 22, 2011:
i got mine growing in the green house not a glass one how do i know when the fruit is ready
IzzyM (author) from UK on September 28, 2010:
They'll make lovely plants so you won't regret it. Just get that central heating on!
Nicholas on September 28, 2010:
All right, you did it. I'm finally going to try to grow kiwi indoors. My Michigan winter in the States won't permit any outdoor fun, but I'm feeling good about the indoors now. Thanks.
IzzyM (author) from UK on June 28, 2010:
You're wlcome :)
The kids are only small for such a fleeting time, enjoy them while they are young - before you know it they will be moving out!
Angel Ward from Galveston, TX on June 28, 2010:
I love your hubs, you seem to really know your gardening...it has been a while sense I got into it being a mother of 2 young ones, so I need the tips!!!
IzzyM (author) from UK on April 24, 2010:
Hi Peggy, they were always warm climate plants before, but new varieties can be grown in colder regions now. Growing from seed will probably give you the warm climate variety but then they can be grown in a conservatory or greenhouse :)
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 24, 2010:
Interesting hub. Never thought about growing our own kiwi plants. Thought that most of them came from Australia. Also did not know that they were climbers...so vine like.
IzzyM (author) from UK on March 09, 2010:
Under lights is fine if you don't get a lot of natural sunlight - in fact most plant thrive under lights! ie they do better than those grown in sunlight. One fruit will have both male and female. It's a lot of work but if you like plants it's nothing at all, and finally if you want to be guaranteed fruit, buy a grown male and female adult plant, because growing from seed takes several seasons to see results.
Lynda Gary on March 09, 2010:
Kiwi. Who woulda thunk it?
I spent the past 5 months growing some plants indoors, and just as they began to bud, well, it's a long story...
BUT, having been successful for the first time in my life with growing something, I now want to try something else. And I LOVE kiwi. So, I have a project now. Thank you. :)
A few questions: Can the kiwi be grown indoors year round? If so, would it help or hinder to use grow lights? And, I presume that the seeds from an organic kiwi purchased locally will all be either male or female if they come from the same piece of fruit? If I de-seed, say, 6 kiwis, what are my chances of getting male and female so that my females will produce fruit? I'd hate to go to all of the work of growing them and then they not yeild kiwi.
Btw, I'm in Missouri right now but hope to be moving to a warmer climate in the near future.
Thanks for this (and your other) hubs!!
IzzyM (author) from UK on December 24, 2009:
yes there is, I can't remember the name of it right now, but it grows outdoors in the UK. Good luck with growing it:)
fishtiger58 from Momence, Illinois on December 24, 2009:
Very nice article. My husband wants to grow kiwi but I think there is a variety that we can grow here where I live. In the Chicago area, so we get very cold winters.
IzzyM (author) from UK on November 27, 2009:
Did you grow it from seed? I know they grow a hardy variety in the UK now. Maybe it was cuttings from your plant?
On the fluoride issue, you do know that the fluoride is boiled off when you boil the kettle, and that if you draw the water and leave it in your fridge for 24 hours, the flouride evaporates, but the poor plants have no choice but to drink it unless you draw the water the day before:(
Steve Andrews from Lisbon, Portugal on November 27, 2009:
I grew kiwi fruit back in my garden when I lived in Cardiff and got fruit and got a story about it in the South Wales Echo! I really enjoyed your hub! BTW the fluoride in the water has been killing Dragon Trees here and I have a hub about it. If if kills the trees imagine what it does to us! It really annoys me!
IzzyM (author) from UK on November 12, 2009:
Yes they will grow directly in potting soil, but be careful not to plant too many (the seeds are tiny) because when they germinate it's an awful lot of work to pot them on individually. Thanks for your comments.
Dorit on November 11, 2009:
I second that comment: Great article! Just wonder if planting the seeds directly in potting soil will produce results?
Dorit on November 11, 2009:
I second that: great article!
Do you think it will be good to plant them directly in potting soil?
IzzyM (author) from UK on October 24, 2009:
Nah...they'll be OK:)
Thye just don't like frost so the foliage above ground will be objecting, but I bet the roots didn't get frosted, so the plants will be fine.
I think the reason why kiwi shouldn't be planted in areas of frost is because the frost will kill developing flowers, so there will be no fruit that year, but they wouldn't be flowering at this time of year anyway, so no harm done.
You had frost in central France in October? Is this normal for this time of year? I'm in Southern Spain and while the valleys round here get frost - but not yet as we are only starting to cool from summer - we don't as a rule.
Oh and thanks for your commments:)
Wood Dragon from France on October 24, 2009:
Great article full of lots of practical tips. Fear I may have killed off my newly planted male and female plants as we had a sudden unexpected frost here in central France about a week ago and the leaves look awful. Still I live in hope that the plants were damaged but not killed off completely.