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Old 10-05-2009, 05:06 PM   #1
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Default Kiwi Berry, Actinidia arguta

Does anyone here have any experience with this plant? I just tasted one for the first time, and would love to grow it in my garden. First I want to make sure that I wouldn't be turning loose anything dangerous, though. Has this plant demonstrated any tendency to become invasive in the Northeast? Thanks. . .
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Old 10-05-2009, 06:46 PM   #2
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My folks grow this at their house in Maine. It is, shall we say, vigorous? Yes, that would be the right word. Healthy is also a word that springs to mind. It did take a couple of years to get well established, but now that it has it is going gangbusters. They have it on a very long split rail fence with plenty of room to sprawl. It looks wonderful, by the way, and I think it looks good simply as an ornamental.

Oh. They are zone 5/4, with some wicked winter winds. Brrr.
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Old 10-05-2009, 07:02 PM   #3
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Depressing but many introduced plants have the ability to become invasive. Really cool of you to ask... can you clone yourself??? A. arguta has naturalized in MA, PLANTS Profile for Actinidia arguta (tara vine) | USDA PLANTS Taste Actinidia polygama 'Issai' and see if you like it better. You'd need a few females and one male for cross pollination. I grew it... it did great... They went to plant heaven prematurely when we were gone and my my dad thought they were weeds.
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Old 10-05-2009, 07:33 PM   #4
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Oops. Looks like it is very happy growing in the northeast! Hmm. Maybe by the time I can get back to Maine my folks will have grown tired of it.
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Old 10-07-2009, 12:43 PM   #5
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Thanks guys! Hmm. . . I'm afraid I'm no good at cloning myself; open pollination is more my style.

Equil, are you suggesting Issai because you think it may be less potentially invasive, or as a taste alternative?

I don't want to introduce anything problematic into my area; but I am conflicted on the notion of growing food plants that are known to escape cultivation, seeing as so many of the food plants we rely on are exactly that. I may wait and make up my mind on kiwi berry at a later time. As delicious as it was, I just remembered that I had wanted ground nut. Since that is native, it gets a higher priority in my yard.

Though my hubby got to try the kiwi berries, too, and he's also smitten.

Thanks Hedge for the warning about the vigorousness of this vine! Sounds like if I did grow this, an arbor might be necessary.
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Old 10-07-2009, 11:11 PM   #6
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A combination of both. I like the taste of the 'Issai' and it's a smidgen less likely to become a problem.
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Old 10-08-2009, 08:20 AM   #7
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You can propagate kiwi cuttings in spring-summer or you can layer the vines. You could lay down a stem in the ground near the parent plant. You scrape off a small amount of bark to make a "wound" you are just exposing the layer under the bark.
Bury this part in a shallow trench and cover with a brick or rock leaving the branch still attached to the parent plant. You could try this over winter in your area, but I would leave it until well into the growing season in the spring. When you see new growth you can sever the new plant and put it where you want it.

You can use hormone powder on the wound to facilitate root formation.

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Harvey propagates kiwis from his established plants by layering the vines. The newly rooted vines generally are kept indoors for the first couple of winters as they have a better chance of surviving a freeze after they have some woodiness in their stems. Kiwis are vigorous and rampant growers. They set a lot of fruit which needs to be thinned in order to ripen large kiwi fruits. If the fruit is picked before the first frost and stored in a cool room, it will keep until February. The fruit is brought to room temperature to ripen. After the plant becomes dormant it can survive temperatures as low as ten degrees
Kiwis really are a Southern adapted plant but Ive seen plants called "Hardy Kiwis" in catalogues such as Henry Field's.
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Old 10-08-2009, 08:47 AM   #8
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Thanks Equil. If I do decide to plant one of these, I'll go with that one.

Thanks for the propagation info Hazel!
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