Kiwi Berries known as ‘cold hardy kiwi’ fruit, are the miniature cousins of the familiar fuzzy brown kiwi. They can be referred to as kiwi berries, kiwi grapes, or baby kiwis. The kiwi berry (Actinidia arguta) is thought to be a forerunner of its larger cousin the kiwifruit. Kiwiberries have an appealing sweet flavour with a fine and delicate tangy finish. Their taste has been described to be similar to that of kiwi fruit with overtones of strawberry, passion fruit, pineapple, feijoa or melon.
The growth in popularity of the kiwi berry is large due to it being recognised as a super food. Known as the queen of super-fruits, kiwi berries have an amazing nutrient profile. If you look at vitamin C, a 100g serving of kiwi berries has 20 times that of the same amount of apples, twice that of strawberries and three times that of raspberries. In addition kiwi berries vitamin E content is nearly twice that of avocado and 20 times that of strawberries. Couple this with their vitamin B8, or inositol, which is the highest in the world. I should point out recent studies indicate the lack of B8 may contributed to diabetes.
If you have ever wondered how to grow kiwi berries in Perth, Western Australia then look no further. A relatively berry to grow there are a few tricks to successfully growing kiwi berries in Perth, but get these right and you will be laughing.
When to plant kiwi berry in Perth:
You can grow kiwiberries in the Perth region, provided you consider the chilling requirement, they get sufficient water and are pruned properly. Plant kiwi berry in the spring after the treat of frost has past.
Types of kiwi berry:
- Actinidia arguta issai – A very hardy, self pollinating, well behaved vine that will usually bear fruit in its second year. Suitable for a large tub or garden bed, but needs a frame to climb on.
How to grow kiwi berry in Perth, WA:
- Kiwi berry plants need support structure. On the scale of a home garden, a T-bar trellis system is a good choice.
- Plant Kiwi berry vines in partial shade to full sun in well-drained, fertile soil with a pH level of 5.0-7.5.
- Spacing should be 25cm apart.
- Avoid frost pockets; kiwi berry plants need protection from late frost.
- Dig a hole that will accommodate the root system and plant at the same depth as grown in the pot or nursery row.
- Fill in hole and water thoroughly.
- At planting time and again at the end of the growing season, fertilise well.
- No pruning is necessary at planting time.
- For varieties that are not self-pollinating, remember to plant at least one male for every six female plants.
Pruning kiwi berry vines:
It can take any where from 3 to 5 years to have your main kiwi vine structure established. At the end of the first growing season, if main trunk has not grown to the top of the post of your trellis system, cut it back to 5 to 8 buds from the ground. This is only done at the end of the first growing season. Both summer and dormant (winter) pruning are necessary ongoing however.
When to harvest kiwi berries:
Important to note that it can take 3-4 years for plants to bear their first fruit with the appropriate pruning each year. In Western Australia usually around March – May. They ripen unevenly on the vine and should be harvested by clipping off whole clusters when the first few fruit are soft. An average well-managed vine produces 10-20kg of fruit.
Storing kiwi berries at home:
Kiwi berries are best eaten fresh and can be refrigerated for a week or two. To extend storage life, separate the firm berries from the soft ones and remove all debris and damaged fruit.
They can be very hard to find in nurseries to important to call around to a few before making the drive.
Check out our other how to grow in Perth guides: