Fuzzy kiwi in colder climates

Last winter I posted photos of unprotective fig trees about 8 ft high at a diner. I was back and they are all healthy with fruit. Low temp was about 5f Last winter. This time I spotted a fuzzy kiwi vine at the same location.

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Little update here. Last year I planted Jenny, Saanichton, and a fuzzy male. For whatever reason I really struggled getting the Saanichton and male to establish last year. Probably too much top growth compared to the roots.

Winter here in 6b Pennsylvania was weird. We had an early hard freeze around the holidays which messed some stuff up because it was so sudden. Temps down into the single digits. The rest of the winter was pretty mild with essentially no snow or hard freezes.

Jenny came thru without a problem and is growing like a weed. The others emerged from dormancy really late with just a few buds, but hopefully they will do much better this year!

Hardy and Arctic kiwi is also doing wonderfully, but that’s to be expected. I need to get the wiring up on my trellises soon.

I’m in zone 10 and I tried growing fuzzy kiwi many times, I finally gave up. I never saw a single flower ever.

Has anyone grown any of the hybrids between arguta and deliciosa? Most have proven hardy somewhere in the middle of the parents. At least one, ‘Kiri’, was produced in Australia or New Zealand and most are being created in Asia. They seem promising for many areas.

Do you have any info on these hybrids? I haven’t heard of that before.

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The named cultivar ‘Kiri’, was from New Zealand or Australia bred by a researcher (Beatson)? who changed over to hops breeding. The hybrid was studied rather thoroughly and published in 1993. More are in the hands of asian university researchers, articles on the web.

Planted Jenny yesterday. Figure it can’t hurt to try. I’m 6B/7A. It may be a bit windy where it is at, but otherwise the spot should be a solid zone 7.

Did you hear of any good hybrids? I heard of a few which were not too exciting as far as taste goes.

I am growing out a few now myself, some are Anna x chinensis and others are Kens Red x chinensis. I should get fruit in a couple years from the females.

Speaking of females, I have had really bad luck in the kiwis I grew from seed, 100% males so far. Another new male just showed its stripes for the first time this spring. It is a chinensis x deliciosa hybrid.

Note all of my chinensis kiwis did fine last winter in spite of the cold snaps we got. I should have lots of fruit assuming I can keep the animals from stealing them.

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The named arguta x deliciosa hybrid, ‘Kiri’, is as large as fuzzys, smooth skinned, good tasting and a vigorous grower. Hardiness in-between it’s parents but shelf life of the fruit was not impressive; bad for chain stores, irrelevant to home orchardists. Wasn’t commercially introduced because of that, I gathered.
Your Chinese x arguta hybrids sound fascinating, where were they produced?

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Can you treat the males with naphthalene acetamide to induce fruiting? maybe as a dip?

Kiwibob along with @kiwinut here are leading the effort. See for example

for a write-up of the project. I crossed my arguta’s with pollen from a tetraploid chinensis male. I also have one cross in the other direction, one of my male argutas managed to pollinate one of my chinensis kiwis (nearly all such seeds are sterile but a few grew).

I don’t think any dip would give you fruit of any size? Maybe Hal will know more about that as he is the real expert.

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That hormone was known for producing seed and fruit on male plants and normally sterile hybrids. Probably still available from somewhere, hopefully?

I have grown seedlings from several different sources and crosses. Males definitely tend to bloom faster, but not always. The ratio usually ends up about 50-50, with a few exceptions.

I’m not familiar with anything you could dip or spray on males to get fruit, and I don’t really see why you would want to. The fruit will likely be tiny, and I’m not sure I want to eat it. For breeding it could be useful if a rare hybrid’s pollen is sterile, but 3/4ths of seedlings would be male, assuming you can even get viable seeds.

Regarding the hardiness of hybrids, I have several 3 year old hybrids that are 3/4ths chinensis/deliciosa, 1/4th arguta/melanandra. We had an extreme freeze event this winter that killed most chinensis to the ground. Out of 17 seedlings from this cross, none had any significant damage. Three bloomed for the first time this spring, all male.

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Yes, the hormone is for use in breeding, not for fruit eating, helps to evaluate males potential for a desirable parent. That particular hormone has been used quite a bit in Japan on hybrid persimmon males to thin out the potentially poor fruit characteristic ones.

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There is apparently a variety called Jade Moon that is large and has smooth skin.
Hard to see from this low res photo though.
This photo is from kiwibob.

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Cool! Let’s hope someone actually propagates this.

For me all the chinensis kiwis are completely hardy so I’m not in any big rush for this, but it sounds like people in the warmer part of z6 may be able to grow this one.

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Sounds like you have some chinesis cultivars. Can you or anyone else here tell us more about them? I haven’t paid an awful lot of attention to them since Im pretty sure none of them are hardy enough to consider. There also seems to be a paucity of meaningful info about them. Do you have a chinensis male? Ive considered sourcing some chinensis pollen for some controlled crosses. Looks like I need to bone up on this thread!

Couldn’t find anyone selling them but this is a quote:
The female kiwi plant “Tango” is patented by the USDA-ARS and can be distributed to nurseries or producers once they obtain a licensing agreement. Both plants (Hombre and Tango) are essential to produce the kiwi fruit. Limited quantities of budwood and/or plants from Tango and Hombre are also available upon request for evaluation.

Yes I have grown several chinensis males and females. Note that they don’t cross with arguta due to the ploidy being different but there are a few males which are exceptions to this. There is a hardy kiwi breeding project going on which crosses such a male with arguta females. I have half a dozen of these seedlings growing now so we will see how they do. These should be much more hardy than these new releases from ARS.

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