How to Grow Hardy Kiwi in Containers
Growing a kiwi tree from a kiwi seed can be a fun and rewarding project. However, it’s important to note that the kiwi fruits sold in stores may not always produce viable seeds, and even if they do, they may not produce the same type of kiwi as the parent plant. Nonetheless, if you have a kiwi fruit with viable seeds, here’s how to grow a young kiwi tree in a pot.
Extracting the seeds: Cut open a ripe kiwi fruit and scoop out the seeds. Rinse the seeds under cool water and let them dry on a paper towel for a few days.
Germinating the seeds: Kiwi seeds need to be stratified (exposed to cold temperatures) to germinate. You can stratify the seeds by placing them in a damp paper towel or sphagnum moss and putting them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks. Check the seeds regularly and make sure the paper towel or moss remains damp.
Planting the seeds: Once the seeds have stratified, plant them in a small pot filled with a mixture of potting soil and perlite. Bury the seed about 1/4 inch deep in the soil and water it gently. Cover the pot with plastic wrap to create a mini-greenhouse and place it in a warm, bright location. Keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged.
Transplanting the seedlings: After a few weeks, the seedlings should start to sprout. Once they have several sets of leaves, they can be transplanted into a larger pot. Use a pot that is at least 18-24 inches in diameter and 24 inches deep, filled with a mixture of potting soil, compost, and perlite.
Caring for the kiwi tree: Kiwi trees need plenty of sunlight to grow and produce fruit. Place the pot in a sunny location or use grow lights if necessary. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Fertilize the tree with a balanced fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season.
Providing support: Kiwi trees are vines and need support to grow vertically. Place a trellis or stake in the pot and gently tie the kiwi vine to it as it grows.
Pruning: Prune the kiwi tree in late winter or early spring to remove any dead, damaged, or diseased branches. Also, remove any lateral branches that are growing from the base of the plant.
Harvesting: Kiwi trees typically produce fruit in their second or third year of growth. Harvest the fruit when it’s fully ripe and slightly soft to the touch.
How to know that kiwi fruit has viable seeds?
There are a few things to look for when trying to determine if a kiwi fruit has viable seeds:
Choose a ripe kiwi fruit: Kiwi fruit with viable seeds will typically be fully ripe, with a slightly soft texture when pressed gently.
Check the seeds: Cut open the kiwi fruit and carefully remove the seeds. Look for seeds that are plump and full, rather than shriveled or underdeveloped.
Test germination: To determine if the seeds are viable, you can perform a germination test. Simply dampen a paper towel or piece of sphagnum moss, place the seeds on top, and wrap them in plastic wrap or put them in a plastic bag. Keep the seeds in a warm, bright location and check them regularly for signs of germination. If the seeds sprout within a few weeks, they are likely viable and can be planted.
It’s important to note that even if a kiwi fruit has viable seeds, the resulting plant may not produce the same type of kiwi fruit as the parent plant. Kiwi trees are typically propagated through grafting, which ensures that the resulting tree will produce the same type of fruit as the parent plant. Nonetheless, growing a kiwi tree from seed can still be a fun and rewarding project.