Issai & Ken's Red

Is Issai going to be enough to pollinate a Ken’s Red? My Mom has (2) Issai and a (female) Ken’s Red w/o the Ken’s Red (male) pollinator.

They’re all really close to each other, also.

Thanks so much,


I thought I read somewhere that Issai was a female plant?

It has female and male flowers but to what extent the male flowers occupy the vines I don’t know. I don’t know if there are enough male reproductive organs to be useful for pollinization of other cultivars and whether the male organs on Issai are autogamous (male and female reproductive organs within a single flower) or if there are separate male flowers (geitonogamous) and whether it makes any difference to begin with. My assumption is yes they will pollinate other cultivars but I’d like to hear first hand whether pollen exchanged isn’t ‘sterile’ to other cultivars. This is a whole horizon I’ve not crossed. I don’t know if self-pollinating plants (pollen) is compatible to others within the same Genus and species at all times.

Autogamy: “Self-pollination is an example of autogamy that occurs in flowering plants. Self-pollination occurs when the sperm in the pollen from the stamen of a plant goes to the carpels of that same plant and fertilizes the egg cell present. Self-pollination can either be done completely autogamously or geitonogamously. In the former, the egg and sperm cells that united came from the same flower. In the latter, the sperm and egg cells can come from a different flower on the same plant. While the latter method does blur the lines between autogamous self-fertilization and normal sexual reproduction, it is still considered autogamous self-fertilization.” Wikipedia



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My uderstanding is that IssaI is a self fertile hybrid of arguta x ? (Can’t recall). Whether it makes separate male and female flowers or complete flowers, dunno. Likewise I have no idea if it can serve as a pollinator for other arguta females. But I’ll be interested to hear how it all turns out!

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Thanks, Jesse! :grin:


I took a quick look at my Issai vine this morning and didn’t see anything but female flowers. I’ll check again in the next few days when I have more time and more of them are open.

From my experience, I think Ken’s Red will need something else. The male vine I planted with the rest of my hardy kiwi in 2011 turned out to be a female (based on the flowers and occasional fruit). So far, most of my production has come from Issai, though I have also gotten some Geneva and a sporadic 1-2 of the others. Not a single Ken’s red yet though. I have a 2nd male vine nearby, but I don’t know if it has flowered yet.

In my 2nd planting from 3 years later (better spaced and on an actual trellis), the vines have sized up and are now flowering. Here’s a couple pics of the different genders.

The female flowers have a tiny fruit-let in the center:

The male flowers are empty in the center:

I hacked back all my kiwi pretty hard this past winter. They were getting way too big. I did leave some sprawling vines from Issai, which covered a few gooseberry and currant bushes. They are now covered in flowers and I’m thinking about some sort of mini-trellis structure to get them off the ground by a bit. I may just let the gooseberry bushes serve that purpose. :slight_smile:


Thank you, Bob.

I appreciate all this information very much.


I finally decided to do something about it. It wasn’t to save the gooseberry, which I don’t really care much about. It’s more to make sure that the Issai continues to get good access to sunlight, something it might not do when partially buried in bushes. It took me well over an hour to untangle everything and I had to cut the gooseberry a bit. After untangling the vines, I hoisted them onto a wire (more gradually raised the wire, by moving the bucket of rocks it is tied to…). That still wasn’t enough, so I made creative use of a step-ladder.

You can’t even see the original trellis in the background. And Issai is by far the least vigorous kiwi I’ve got… :smile:

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Couldn’t be better to have all that food produced. I guess I’m glad I installed (3) 4x4 posts for my 8’ wide trellis. They say these things could hold up to 500 pounds of fruit. I’m sure that’s the extreme case, but, you’re on your way certainly. :smile:


Sounds like a good idea. Did you cement them in, or just drive them a few feet deep?

I haven’t gotten anywhere near that. I suspect that it is two things:
1.) A lack of pollination (why only Issai has much fruit…)
2.) Self shading from new growth

My biggest harvest was in the first year (2014- the first year they had much fruit). After that, I think they were growing so fast that the fruit didn’t stay sun exposed.

This is why I put them on the makeshift trellis. I’d like to see how much fruit a more mature vine with all those flowers can make. Hopefully more than the 3 quarts in 2014 (previous record). I do need to stay on top of pruning though- no easy task.

The vines in my younger planting actually had a male which flowered this spring, so I may get to sample Rossana, Jumbo, and Chico as well.


One of my local nursery tell me. YES they will pollenate each other Dax. I think they are the same family .

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@Vincent_8B Thank you for remembering to ask. It’s very much appreciated.

@BobVance I learned a lot from your post. My 4x4’s are 18" minimum but 2’ is what I usually do. There’s always slope to my land and there are times I either don’t feel like going another six inches or there are times slope reduces their depth.

I’m going to go on Vincent’s information at my Mom’s (2) Issai, (1) Ken’s Red (female.) We’ll learn this way.

At my home I have a Ken’s Red and the pollinator for it close to each other with (1) Issai quite a ways away (70-80’.)


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Has Ken’s Red fruited for you? Nothing in year #8 for mine, but it could just be a slow bearer.

I planted it last year, Bob. I think I have a waiting period same as you.

I believe Scott’s didn’t produce for about 8-years. Maybe his was not in full sun?