Favourable planting conditions are essential, particularly as kiwi plants become established, because they can be quite fussy. The vines need plenty of sunlight and shelter to survive, so choose a south-facing site shielded from low winter and early spring sun by buildings or trees. Kiwis also require a fertile, well-drained, acidic soil rich in organic matter; we do not recommend planting in poor or chalky soils. If you’re soil doesn’t drain well, plant each vine atop a raised mound of earth to avoid the top part of the root system sitting wet. Kiwis require plenty of space – allow a minimum of 3 and up to 4.5 meters if possible. They are suitable for container growing, which is normally the preferred option if ground conditions are not quite perfect, as container grown specimens can then be planted out once 4-5 years old when less fussy about the soil conditions. Container grown plants will also demonstrate very rapid growth if carefully watered and regularly fertilised; just ensure they are not over-fertilised before the winter cold as late new growth will be more vulnerable to the frost. Planting is best undertaken between late autumn and early spring.
Kiwi plants need training or trellising as they grow as a woody vine which is not sturdy enough to support the plants once mature. When considering the location of your kiwi plants, either plant near an existing support such as a pergola or arch or add your support system before planting. They are best trained to a support that is both sturdy and allows vines adequate room to ramble; gazebos or split rail fences are also perfect.