Hardy kiwis look just like regular kiwis when cut open, but their taste is sweeter and their skin is smooth. They are superior to fuzzy kiwis in everything but size!
Young kiwi vines trained onto a T-bar trellis. This is the best kind of system for growing kiwis for production, but a pergola is a great option as well.
Hardy Kiwis (Actinidia) are fruiting vines closely related to fuzzy kiwis, but tolerate a much colder climate than than their subtropical cousins. Smooth-skinned and the size of a grape, they are also known as kiwi berries. The taste of hardy kiwis is similar to fuzzy kiwis, but with more sweetness and less acidity. Almost everyone who tastes them loves them!
Hardy kiwis tolerate a wide range of soil types but will not tolerate wet soil. They prefer moist, well-drained soil. Only female vines produce fruit, but one male vine is needed to pollinate about every 5-8 female vines. Only the cultivar 'Issai' is self-fertile and will produce fruit on its own without a pollenizer.
Vines are extremely vigorous and can grow 40-50 feet up a tree if allowed to do so. For male vines, this is a good choice since there are no fruit to harvest. Female vines are best grown on a pergola or T-bar trellis at least 6-7 feet tall, so that you can walk underneath the vines to pick the fruit. Space female vines 20 feet apart and male vines 10 feet apart from other vines.
'74-32' Male Hardy Kiwi - Actinidia arguta
A male kiwi cultivar selection from Chico, CA in 1974. Blooms over a long period of time and pollinates almost all female hardy kiwis. Like all male kiwis, it produces no fruit itself.
'Anna' Female Hardy Kiwi - Actinidia arguta 'Anna'
Anna, short for 'Ananasnaya', which means pineapple-like, indicates the flavor of this kiwi cultivar. Probably the best and most reliable female hardy kiwi cultivar available, Anna has a great flavor, size, appearance, and overall characteristics. Individual fruits weigh up to ½ oz. Easy to grow and extremely productive, this is a great kiwi for beginners.
'Ken's Red' Female Hardy Kiwi - Actinidia arguta x melanandra 'Ken's Red'
Named for its creator, the late horticultural Ken Nobbs, Ken's Red is actually a hybrid between two different hardy kiwi species, which gives it a unique red color. Fruits are relatively large in size with a mild and very sweet flavor. Has a tendency to bear heavy crops in alternate years.
'Issai' Female Hardy Kiwi - Actinidia arguta 'Issai'
The only self-fruitful hardy kiwi we are aware of, Issai is capable of producing fruit without a male vine around! The perfect choice for somone with very limited trellis space. Fruits are about 1.5" long. Vines are not as vigorous and only need 10' spacing. Ripens in late August.