KIWI--GROWINGKiwi, or Chinese Gooseberry as it is sometimes called, vary. The types normally found in grocery stores and markets is not hardy to Illinois. However, the small seeds are easily sprouted after a day or two on the counter drying and will grow as a houseplant. Leaves are fuzzy and heart shaped. If transplanted outside, the vines will grow quickly ten to twelve (10-12) feet yearly, but die back to the ground during mild winters. Severe winters will kill the plant. Fruit is produced on two year old wood, which is a reason why fruiting seldom occurs in Illinois; that, and the fact that plants need 235 growing days per year.
The hardy kiwi (Actinidia arguta) will grow in most gardens, though expect a drastic different version from the stores type. Hardy kiwi are the size of large grapes and are usually flopped in the mouth like almonds. On the other hand, hardy kiwis are fuzzless.
Plants thrive in the full sun but will tolerate partial shade. Plants easily adapt to most soils except heavy clays and compacted soils.
Kiwis are dioecious, meaning plants are either male or female. Therefore, several plants need to be sown from seed to guarantee both sexes, or plants need to be propagated and purchased from know male and female plants.
Hardy kiwi generally bloom in May and June. A hardy plant will produce between five to ten (5 to 10) gallons of fruit each year. Fruit should be picked as it softens, though like store purchased fruit, will ripen on the counter indoors.