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How to Germinate and Grow Kiwi Seeds

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Kiwifruit (Actinidia spp.) are fast-growing, climbing vines that produce fruit rich in vitamin C. Kiwifruit vines require a trellis or wall to climb on, and unless you have a self-fruiting variety, you need a pollinator nearby.

Native to Asia, kiwifruit hardiness is zone dependent, but the more common varieties grown in the U.S. are Actinidia arguta (USDA hardiness zones 3 – 8) and Actinidia kolomikta (zones 4 to 8), according to the University of Wisconsin Master Gardeners. The arguta variety is also called “hardy kiwi” as it grows throughout much of the United States.

Though they’re typically propagated from cuttings, growing kiwis from seed can be a rewarding venture. Because you can’t tell the plant’s gender from the seeds, make sure to grow multiple plants. For pollination, at least one male kiwi plant for every six to 10 females, according to Oregon State University Extension. The primary way to tell female and male plants apart is through their flowers, according to Walter Reeves. Male flowers have a yellow center due to their pollen, while female flowers are more white.

Extract the seeds from the fruit

Cut the kiwifruit open with a knife and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Place them in a strainer and gently add pressure to separate the pulp from the seeds. Lightly run water over the seeds to clean them, and dry them on a paper towel for two days.

Refrigerate the seeds for four months

Fill half of a resealable plastic bag with moist perlite. Lightly push the seeds into the perlite, seal the bag and place it in the refrigerator at 40 degrees Fahrenheit for about four months. As needed, mist the perlite with a water-filled spray bottle to keep it moist.

Plant the seeds

Fill a seed-raising tray up to 3/4 inch from the top with moist, sterile potting mix. Tamp the soil to even the surface. Remove the kiwi seeds from the refrigerator, and sprinkle them over the soil surface. Spread a 1/8-inch layer of potting mix over the seeds, and lightly tamp it so that it’s firm in the tray.

Keep the seeds moist

Spray the soil surface with water. Aim to keep the soil moist – not soggy – during the germination period. Cover the tray with plastic wrap or a glass pane to maintain the required humidity level. Place the tray in a warm area, and expect the seeds to germinate in four to five weeks.

Thin and transplant the seedlings

Remove the plastic once the kiwifruit seeds germinate, and position the tray in a sunny window. Thin the seedlings to the strongest ones. When they’re large enough to handle, transplant them outside after the last frost date in your area.

Prepare the planting location

Cultivate the soil in a sunny area of the garden. Remove any weeds with your hands or a garden hoe. Work a 2-inch layer of compost into the soil to add nutrients and improve drainage. Amend the soil to reach a pH between 5.5 and 7.0 for ideal growing conditions.

Transplant the seedlings

Transplant the kiwifruit seedlings outside near a trellis, fence, wall or patio so that they have something to climb on. Space the plants at least 10 feet apart.

Maintain moist soil

Water the kiwi plants with at least 1 inch of water per week and up to 2 inches during hot weather. Don’t allow the soil to completely dry out during the growing season. Mulch the soil around the plants with a 4-inch layer of seed-free straw to promote soil moisture retention and to suppress weeds. Keep a 1-inch distance between the mulch and the crown of the plants.

Fertilize the plants

Feed the kiwifruit a 10-10-10 fertilizer one year after transplanting the seedlings outside and every year thereafter.

How to Germinate and Grow Kiwi Seeds. Kiwifruit (Actinidia) are fast-growing, climbing vines that produce fruit rich in vitamin C. Kiwifruit vines require a trellis or wall to climb on, and unless you have a self-fruiting variety, you need a pollinator nearby. Native to Asia, kiwifruit hardiness is zone dependent — …

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Kiwi Fruit Tree Seeds

Kiwi
(Actinidia chinensis)

The Kiwi Fruit tree produced delicious Kiwi fruits. The foiliage is attractive with creamy-white fragrant flowers produced in April-May on short branches. Seed grown plants take 4-7 years to flower and fruit.

Soil Type: well-drained, moderately moist, acid soil, full sun or partial shade.

Zones: 8 to 9

Germination Range: 50-70%

Stratification Requirement: 30 days cold moist stratification

Indoor Planting: If your seeds require stratification or scarification – do the recommended pretreatment before planting indoors. Planting Instructions: Fill a container with seed starting mix to about ½ inch from the top. Place your seeds 1 inch to 1 ½ inches below the soil surface. Gently water your seeds to keep moist, not soaking wet. Heat & humidity is critical for germination. Germination may occur in 1 week or as long as 3 months (depending on the species). Place the seed container on a heat mat under growing light(s). Keep your growing lights on 14 hours per day. Keep your heat mat on 24 hours per day. Once your seeds germinate, move each seed into its own container under the growing lights and on the heat mat. Keep your seedlings indoors for 2-3 months before transplanting outdoors in the spring (May to June).

Outdoor Planting: If your seeds do not require stratification: the best time to plant tree and shrub seeds outdoors is after the last frost in your area (spring). In the Northern states – the best time to plant seeds outdoors is from May to June. If your seeds require pretreatment: you should plant your seeds outdoors before the ground freezes in your area (late September to early November). Your seeds will naturally stratify during the cold winter. Germination usually occurs in May or during the spring season.

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