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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Other Common Names Include: Hardy kiwi, Chinese gooseberry, Arguta

Latin Name:  Actinidia agruta

Plant Family: Actinidiaceae

Close Relatives: Fuzzy kiwi (kiwi fruit)

Uses and Markets: Culinary (typically used as a fresh fruit, less commonly processed into jams and pureed products), Ornamental (some varieties with variegated leaves are used as ornamental plants in gardens.  A. Kolomikta ‘Kolomikta Kiwi’ is commonly grown for its ornamental qualities).

Vegetative growth of recently established northern kiwi vine Northern kiwi  vine growth on trellis in establishment yearNorthern kiwi fruit (Photo credit: Eye-blink,
Production Life Cycle in Ontario


Hardiness Zone


Special Notes

Most commercially available northern kiwi varieties are dieocious plants, having separate male and female plants, however, the variety ‘Issai’ is known to be self-fertile.  For dieocious varieties, a suggested ratio of 1 male to 3-5 female plants is required to ensure good pollination for fruit set.  Bud break occurs in the spring around the same time as apples and other tree fruits with full bloom occurring around mid-June.  Pollination occurs by wind and insects. Fruit production begins 2 - 4 years after planting and maximum yields should be reached by year 5 or 6.

Propagation method

Most commonly from softwood and hardwood cuttings, less commonly from transplants from seeds.

Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates


Field Seeding Date:


Field Transplanting Dates


In-row spacing

2- 4.5 m

Between row spacing

3.5-5.5 m

Optimal Soil temperature at planting



No current Ontario fertility recommendations exist. Research and recommendations from outside Ontario do not necessarily apply to Ontario growing conditions. Experience in Ontario field trials has shown that northern kiwi responds well to an application of nitrogen fertilizer in the range of 75-115g N/plant under the drip line during spring bud break. Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

Well drained soils.  Prefers fine, sandy loam soils.

Soil pH

5.5 – 6.5

Special requirements for growth habit

A trellis system is required to support kiwi vines. Grape vine wire trellis and T-bar trellis systems have been employed for northern kiwi production.  Wind breaks may provide protection to plants from limb breakage and wind rub on fruit.

Optimal Temperature Range

Temperate climate.

Temperature sensitivity

Young plants are cold sensitive.  Young tissues developing in the spring are frost sensitive.

Irrigation requirements

Irrigation required under normal Ontario conditions.

Days to harvest

40 – 60 days after bloom, approximately mid-September to mid-October in southern Ontario.

Specialized equipment:


Harvest Scheduling

Single harvest.  When soft fruit are detected, harvest all fruit in a single harvest.  If fruit is too soft, the stem can tear out of fruit.  Harvesting firm fruit will allow the stem to be removed from the plant and stay attached to the fruit for good appearance.

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Hand harvest

Quality parameters/grades

No established grades. Quality is determined by the market.

Additional Harvest Notes


Post harvest
Special handling/curing


Storage Conditions

Relative humidity (RH): 90-95%

Temperature: 0°C

Air Exchange: N/A

Duration: 1-2 months

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

Insects and Invertebrates: Cutworms, mites (greenhouse), scale, leaf rollers

Diseases: Botrytis rot

Other: Rodents, rabbits, deer

Other Potential Pests: The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario. However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility).

Insects and Invertebrates: Two-spotted spider mites, thrips, Japanese beetles

Diseases: Crown and root rots (Phytophthora), Sclerotinia white mould, Verticillium wilt, root knot nematode

*Indicates pests commonly mentioned as causing significant damage or economic loss to this crop in other regions.


To date the following pests have been the most significant in Ontario:.Botrytis rot.  During Ontario research trials hardy kiwi was largely free of pest and diseases.  Crown and root rots may be a problem in poorly drained soils. Rodent guards may be required to protect young plants.  This crop is in Crop Group 13-07: Berry and Small Fruit Group and subgroups 13-07D:  Small Fruit Vine Clmbing Subgroup, 13-07E: Small Fruit Vine Climbing, Except Grape Subgroup and 13-07F: Small Fruit Vine Climbing Except Fuzzy Kiwifruit Subgroup.  For more information on Crop Groups, refer to the Pest section.  Always refer to product labels, and follow all directions specified on the label, before applying any pest control product.  For more information, consult an OMAFRA specialist.

Additional Notes


Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile
  1. Miles, N., Klassen, P., Jackson, D., Schaap and K. Slingerland.  1996.  Growing Hardy Kiwi Information Day and Tour.  OMAFRA, unpublished.
  2. Westerveld, S., Elford, E., Filotas, M. and J. Todd. 2010-present. OMAFRA herb demonstration garden. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, unpublished.
  1. Government of Canada. (n.d.).  Alternative Agriculture.  Ontario Agricultural Value-Added Innovation Network, Brantford
  2. Kempler, C., Kabaluk, T., and P. Toivonen.  1994.  Actinidia arguta Introduction of a New Vinefruit. Agriculture and Agrifood Canada. Bul. No 109.
  3. Penn State Extension.  Fruit Production for the Home Gardener – Hardy Kiwi.  Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences.
  4. Strik, B. and H. Cahn.  1995. Growing Kiwifruit.  Oregon State University Extensions Service.  Bul. EC 1464.