Kiwifruit is so tasty; it’s intoxicating. All my life, I’ve enjoyed the unique flavour and texture of kiwis but never stopped to wonder where they come from and how they grow. It took 24 years, countless fruit salads, and the digestion of innumerous tiny black seeds before I thought about planting some.
After my first kiwi sprouts emerged from the soil, I did some research and realized that Canada, with its uncomfortably cold winters, is not an ideal environment for growing kiwi plants. While fairly hardy, kiwi cannot survive temperatures below -18 degrees celsius. This news didn’t; however, change my mind about continuing to care for my seedlings. I find watching their development fascinating and enjoy seeing them grow into beautiful little vines. Plus, judging by the way our climate has been changing in recent years, it may soon become possible for kiwi to survive a southern Ontario winter.
Whether you’re planting to observe or to consume, here’s how you can get growing your own kiwi vines:
3. Things you’ll need:
1) A kiwi. Try to get an organic kiwi in order to avoid the possibility that non-organic seeds may not reproduce as well. There are a few different types of kiwifruit in existence and this step-by-step method for sprouting should work for all varieties.
2) A small mug or container. This will hold your kiwi seeds for their first week of germination.
3) Paper towels, a plate, and a clear plastic container. These will be used to construct a very simple mini greenhouse for germinating your kiwi seeds.
4) Potting soil. I would guess that any potting soil will do, but I suggest using one with a blend of peat, perlite, vermiculite, and organic fertilizer. Almost all of the seeds I planted in this type of certified organic potting mix have sprouted beautifully, so I think it’s fair to say that it works.
5) Containers/pots. A container (with drainage holes) that is 2-3” deep and an inch or two in diameter will be sufficient for sprouting; however, the seedlings will eventually need to be re-potted into larger containers in order to continue growing. The size of the container is up to you, but I suggest a rather large pot since kiwi vines get quite big and re-potting intertwined vines is not always a simple task.
6) Sun, or a grow light. Kiwi vines need lots of light, especially when sprouting. If you don’t have enough natural sunlight you will likely need to supplement some of it with a grow light.