By Cindi Sullivan
(LOUISVILLE, April 21st, 2004) -- If you're looking for a great vining plant that produces a wonderful fruit, WAVE 3's Garden Talk expert Cindi Sullivan has some advice.
Kiwis are vigorous twining vines, with alternate leaves native to the Orient. The vines can grow as much as 15-25 feet in a year, so they definitely need a strong support like an arbor or trellis.
Tropical kiwis produce these hairy little fruits that you will see at your local grocery, but there are hardy kiwis that will do quite well in our areas that produce fruits that are smaller, and smoother and just as delicious and high in nutrient content.
The key to producing kiwi fruit is to have two plants. Kiwis are dioecious -- that means that male flowers are produced on one plant, female flowers on another, so you'll need one of each to get fruit production.
Kiwis need fertile soil and a south or west exposure. At planting time, cut back the main stems to four strong buds. And repeat this pruning practice every spring after buds open.
If you are looking for a nice vining plant for your garden, you might as well get one that will produce for you. Kiwis keep for weeks in the fridge, and can be used to make preserves.