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TREES & plants

Hardy kiwi

Immature fruit of hardy kiwi.

Hardy kiwi is an ornamental twining vine that also produces edible fruit.  The fruit are smaller that the kiwis sold in stores.  Fruit production requires a male and a female plant.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.

Botanical name: 
Actinidia arguta
All Common Names: 
hardy kiwi, bower actinidia, tara vine
Family (English): 
Actinidia
Family (Botanic): 
Actinidiaceae
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Vine
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Landscape Uses: 
  • Container, 
  • Massing, 
  • Screen, 
  • Specimen
Size Range: 
  • Large plant (more than 24 inches)
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 3, 
  • Zone 4, 
  • Zone 5 (Chicago), 
  • Zone 6, 
  • Zone 7
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Season of Interest: 
  • Late spring, 
  • Early summer, 
  • Mid summer, 
  • Late summer
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Inconspicuous
Shape or Form: 
  • Vining
Growth Rate: 
  • Fast
More Information: 

Size and Method of Climbing

Hardy kiwi is a vine that grows vigorously and may grow up to 25 or 30 feet long. 

It is a twining vine.  Twining vines climb by twisting their stems or leaf stalks around a support.  This type of vine grows well on trellises, arbors, wires or chain-link fences.

Plant Care

Full sun to partial shade.  Best in rich, well-drained soils, but tolerates a range of soil types.

Prune heavily in winter.  Fruit will be produced on new growth.

Disease, pests, and problems

No serious problems.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Asia.

Leaf description

Leaves are arranged alternately.  The simple green leaves are oval is shape and somewhat rounded at the base.  The margin of the leaf is toothed.  Leaf stalks are often reddish.
Very little fall color (sometimes a mild yellow).

Flower description

Male and female flowers are on separate plants (dioecious).  Flowers are small and fragrant, green-white and not very showy.  Flowering occurs in late spring to very early summer.

Fruit description

The fruit is an edible berry (kiwi), smaller than the kiwi that are found in grocery stores (about 1 inch long).  A male plant is needed for the female plant to set fruit.

Cultivars and their differences

Ananasnaja hardy kiwi (Actinidia arguta 'Ananasnaja'): A female cultivar with good cold hardiness and sweet fruit.

Issai hardy kiwi (Actinidia arguta 'Issai'):  Flowers of this cultivar are perfect (have both male and female flower parts), so no pollinator plant is needed.

Ken's Red hardy kiwi (Actinidia arguta 'Ken's Red'):  Fruit is larger; flesh is red and skin is purple-red.  Sweet fruit.

Actinidia arguta or Hardy kiwi