The facility currently has 19 viable hardy kiwi vines planted in two rows.

Background Information.

Hardy kiwi (Actinidia arguta) once known as the "Chinese gooseberry", are native to Japan, Korea, Northern China and Russian Siberia. This species of kiwifruit are extremely cold-hardy, making them a viable crop in the Northern United States. This fruit is approximately the size of a hen's egg and has a smooth green/brown edible skin, unlike the fuzzy kiwifruit that are purchased more readily at a supermarket (Actinidia deliciosa). Hardy kiwi vines are extremely vigorous and require substantial supporting trellis. They can be grown in the United State fairly readily with the Ananasnaya (Anna) variety performing the best in most areas. Most varieties of vines require both male and female plants for successful fruit production.

General Information

  • Hardy kiwi are best grown on a strong pergola T-bar trellis system.
  • Vines can withstand temperatures as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit, however, flowers are frost sensitive and fruit will not grow if they are damaged by the cold.
  • Hardy kiwi have a similar growing season as grapes in the Northern United States.
  • Nearly every variety of hardy kiwi are dioecious, meaning male and female reproductive organs occur in separate plants.
  • Pollination is mostly achieved through wind and insect activity.
  • Hardy kiwi are generally harvested in the late summer or early fall with sugar levels around 18-25%.
  • The tast of these fruit varies with variety. Reports of fuzzy kiwi, strawberry, pineapple and banana flavors tasted among berries harvested from different varieties

Hardy Kiwi at LERGREC

At the Lake Erie Regional Grape Research and Extension Center, we currently have 19 viable hardy kiwi vines planted in two rows. Our vines were established in the fall of 2014. They were purchased from Kiwi Berry Organics, a certified hardy kiwi grower located in Danville, PA. We primarily grow the Ananasnaya variety (females) which account for 16 of our total vines. The other three vines are male pollinators (two 74-32 and one Fave variety). Our kiwi vines are grown on a sturdy pergola (T-bar) trellis system in an area that receives full sunlight all day. The kiwi vines are regularly pruned as the shoots, especially the male one, grow extremely vigorously and can become quite overgrown in a short period of time.