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Summer Kiwi – now they’re making it big!

How an ornamental shrub became a fruit plant

Many gardeners know Actinidia kolomicta as a climbing plant with beautifully variegated leaves.

These develop first on the male plants, later also on the female plants and they are more visible on the older plants than on the younger ones. This is ideal for greening a wall, bringing colour and life in front of the concrete.

One knew, by the way, that this absolutely winter hardy climbing plant also bears good fruit. The first fruit varieties from Eastern Europe were introduced to the market a few years ago, but they were not very spectacular: too small and the fruits were too inconspicuous. And above all, they were not even visible in the tangle of the green leaves.

A few years ago, when I visited a producer of summer kiwis in Poland (yes, in Poland!), he had plastic underneath all of the bushes in August so that the sudden, unannounced ripeness of the hiding fruits could be caught and then collected in the morning. 


With the new variety from the Czech Republic, Vitakola, this is different! The fruits have become unmistakable: 4 cm long, slender and very aromatic. In many ways, Actinidia kolomicta tastes better than Actinidia arguta, the grapes or mini kiwi. And therefore Actinidia kolomicta has been used to breed the most recent grape kiwi varieties.

 This is brilliant: the fruits are already ripe in August!

 The original summer kiwi has many advantages:

  1. matures in August, in the middle of the gardening season
  2. also for higher elevations and short summers
  3. absolutely hardy
  4. the yield starts after 2 to 3 years
  5. ornamental value due to the variegated leaves
  6. compact growth, also for balconies & terraces with a container volume from 20-30 L

An attractive pollinator variety from Poland - Actinidia kolomikta Adam - is very good for all female summer kiwis.It's whitish green striped leaves are so beautiful in May and in June as they turn a pink to red colour! (The leaf colour appears only in 2nd/3rd year and develops best in full sun).


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