Kiwi fruits are vigorous plants that need plenty of space. They should be planted 3-4.5m (10-15ft) apart. Plants start to produce fruit three to four years after planting.
Self-fertile cultivars are ideal where there is space for only one plant. Otherwise for successful pollination both female and male (non-fruiting) plants should be planted. One male plant can pollinate up to eight females and should be sited 60cm (2ft) away from one of the females.
Site and soil
Kiwi fruits require a sheltered sunny position, preferably a south- or west-facing wall, although they can be grown in the open in milder areas. Young shoots are extremely vulnerable to frost damage in the spring and may require protection.
They grow best in a fertile, well-drained slightly acid soil which is rich in organic matter.
Mulch around the base of the plant with well-rotted manure in late winter, avoid contact with the stem as this may cause rotting. Apply a general-purpose fertiliser such as Growmore at a rate of 70g per sq m (1oz per sq yd) when growth starts in the spring.
Water well to keep moist during the growing season. This may need to be done as often as two or three times a week in hot dry weather.
Kiwi fruit should be picked before the first frosts and placed with other ripe fruit in the fruit bowl to encourage ripening. They should be ripe in a few weeks. Harvested fruit will keep for up to three months in a pierced plastic bag in the refrigerator.