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Lubera stops plant deliveries to the UK
Due to Brexit, we are not able to deliver to the UK. We are working on a solution on how we can continue to bring a wide range of Lubera plants to the UK and directly to our customers' homes in the future. However, such a solution will not be available before 2022 or 2023.

Actinidia kolomikta - summer kiwi

Actinidia kolomikta, the summer kiwi, is among the most popular ornamActinidia kolomikta Summer Kiwi Vitakola Luberaental climbing plant among the fruit trees due to its attractive multicoloured leaves. Nevertheless, this beautiful look is not the only trump card...

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Summer Kiwi Adam

Pollinators for all Actinidia kolomikta mini kiwis

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More information about Actinidia kolomiktaActinidia kolomicta summer kiwi Lubera


This lush climbing plant also give us valuable health benefits...and very tasty little fruit, which grows to 2 to 3 cm in size and is more like a large berry than a kiwi fruit. In terms of taste, they resemble mini or grape kiwis (Actinidia arguta) and also the large-fruited cousins, the classic hairy kiwis (Actinidia deliciosa). However, when they are completely ripe they are sweet as sugar and have a more intense aroma than the supermarket kiwi. And with this uniquely delicious enjoyment, you do not have to wait until late autumn - as with the large-fruited varieties or the grape kiwi - because Actinidia kolomikta plants ripen from early to mid-August as a summer snack of the extra class.  In addition to the fact that these climbing plants provide excellent and sweet-tasting berries, they are a decorative eye-catcher in any garden as a natural green wall or densely growing privacy screen and make a previously boring embankment a real eye-catcher.



The advantages of Actinidia kolomikta


The advantages of Actinidia kolomikta, the summer kiwi, are obvious:

  • Ornamental and useful: provides an aromatic harvest and attractive, multicoloured leaves
  • Early harvesting already in August, in the middle of the berry season - but untypical for kiwi plants
  • Early yield for a kiwi plant, in the second or third year, and relatively compact growth of about 3 m in height and width (on a wall or fence)
  • Absolutely hardy, down to -30°C and more, which is why people often talk about hardy kiwis


The names of Actinidia kolomikta: summer kiwi fits it best


If the botanical name is used most frequently, as in the case of Actinidia kolomikta, then it can be assumed that many attempts at naming and synonyms have been made in the garden and in normal language use, but that no suitable term for the plant has been able to establish itself - and that the plant is rather less well known. Both are the case with the kolomikta kiwi - and so there is a multitude of names that are used as synonyms:


  • Kolomikta ray kiwi or variegated-leaf hardy kiwi for example, but many terms try to express the colourfulness in the name: coloured kiwi, coloured leaf kiwi, coloured ray plants are sometimes used to name this plant because the flowers are characterised by numerous, ray-like pistils and stamens.
  • We think that the German term 'Sommerkiwi' (summer kiwi) is the most appropriate because it summarises the biggest surprise this plant has to offer: the fruit ripens in the summer, in August. This makes them quite different from Actinidia arguta and Actinidia deliciosa, which only ripen between October and November and which sometimes do not ripen fully at high altitudes or in the north. After all, they are all climacteric fruits, so they can still be ripened in a fruit bowl or similar under the influence of ethylene, even if they are harvested too early.


What is the difference to the mini or grape kiwis


Especially in the English-speaking world, Actinidia arguta and kolomikta are usually summarised as being hardy kiwis, whereby the advantage of absolute winter hardiness is pushed into the foreground. This distinguishes both species, whereby the kolomikta plants are even hardier in the cold. These are the most important differences between Actinidia arguta and Actinidia kolomikta:

  • As already mentioned above, the kolomikta plants are even hardier in the winter than the grape kiwi.
  • The summer kiwi, Actinidia kolomikta, shows a strong leaf pattern, especially after a few years, where besides green, especially pink and white shades of colour make for an interesting colour picture. This does not exist in Actinidia arguta.
  • Actinidia kolimikta are like the arguta plants which are also climbers, but they have a bit finer shoot and leaves, and they are better branched, but more compact. They can also be kept well at 2-3 m.
  • Actinidia kolomikta bear fruit in August; Actinidia arguta from the end of September to November.
  • The fruits of kolomikta are considerably smaller than those of modern arguta varieties.
  • In terms of taste, summer kiwis are more aromatic but less juicy than arguta plants. Today, we know that the very best arguta varieties are the result of crossbreeding between kolomikta and arguta kiwis, so that in many grape kiwi varieties, some kolomikta blood flows, which is mainly responsible for the fruit quality.


You need a male and a female


As with its large-fruited cousins, the summer kiwi also has the peculiarity that the female Actinidia kolomikta needs a male pollinator if it is to bear fruit. With the summer kiwi Vitakola® (female) and the Eastern European variety 'Adam' (pollinator for all Actinidia kolomikta), we have already found an optimally compatible pair for you, which can settle down in your garden without any problems and start a family (i.e. bear fruit). You will find these two excellent varieties here in our shop. This harmonious community of purpose among the Actinidia kolomikta is not only botanically very reliable, but even the appearance, as it presents itself in the garden, leaves nothing to be desired. Both grow three metres wide and high, delighting the entire month of May with their fragrant,white flowers and, in sufficiently large containers, they even fit on sunlit city balconies. For larger plantings, you only need to buy one male summer kiwi plant because pollinator Adam is polygamous and able to fertilise six to seven female summer kiwi. With the other kiwi species Deliciosa and Arguta there are also so-called self-fertile varieties such as ‘Issai’, ‘Vitikiwi’, ‘Solissimo’. In fact, these are mainly varieties that produce parthenocarpic fruit without fertilisation. Unfortunately, we do not know any such variety of summer kiwi until today.

Here is another thing about fertilisation: arguta kiwi and summer kiwi can hybridise without any problems, i.e. they can fertilise each other. So, if you already have a male arguta plant in your garden, you don't need a special pollinator for summer kiwi.


Location and climate for summer kiwi


In the Lubera shop, you can buy Actinidia kolomikta almost all year round, but the best time to plant is during the frost-free days at the beginning of spring. This ensures a fast and stable growth of the plants, which, therefore, still have enough time to gather the necessary reserves of strength at the new location for the first overwintering. But thanks to the container plants, the time no longer plays a decisive role. Even if the initially quite dainty summer kiwis are surprisingly frost-resistant down to at least - 30°C, the flowers and early new shoots should be reliably protected from sub-zero temperatures. The kolomikta kiwi is a continental plant: it can withstand almost anything in the deepest winter, but once it starts, there is no turning back. Due to the continental climate, which switches relatively abruptly and without any intermediate phase from winter to reliable spring, Actinidia kolomikta also knows no intermediate-range. As soon as it feels spring, it runs and grows away because its continental and northern experience means that it has only a short time to bring its fruits to maturity. The conclusion is this: do not plant in locations where experience shows that there is a very early start of vegetation together with the possibility of late frosts.

Of course, the summer kiwi needs enough sun (4-6 hours per day), but it can also cope with partial shade. Locations such as a sunny south wall are not recommended because here the budding out occurs much too early and then frost damage can be expected.


Planting distance


While large-fruited kiwis should be planted at least three to four metres apart, the small, but also fast-growing and climbing plant-like Actinidia kolomikta are already satisfied with around two metres. Very important: for their often decades-long life in the garden, summer kiwis clearly prefer nutrient-rich and evenly moist soils with a pH value that ranges between slightly alkaline and slightly acidic at the location. If there is no suitable house wall nearby, a scaffolding at least two to three metres high should be erected before planting. An attractive pergola will also look very aesthetic later on, to which you can attach the shoots according to your personal preference.


Planting Actinidia kolomikta


After arrival, leave your Actinidia kolomikta in a pot of water until the root ball is completely soaked. After removing the plastic pot, the strongly rooted root ball should now carefully be torn open all around. 

The planting of the summer kiwi then proceeds in the following steps:

  • Dig a planting pit twice the size of the root ball and thoroughly loosen up the soil underneath. Place the summer kiwi plant flush with the surface of the soil and fill it with some fine-grained soil.
  • Add a portion of rotten compost and, if the soil is very calcareous, mix in a handful of sawdust; cover the planting hole completely with garden soil and tread carefully.
  • Pour on plenty of water, flooding the root area generously.

Important: Actinidia kolomikta require regular watering, especially in the first year of planting and especially during prolonged drought. Between watering, the soil should be allowed to dry out slightly (but not completely).


How to grow


If you buy a Actinidia kolomikta kiwi, this plant can also be kept in larger containers (at least between 30 and 50 litres capacity). Because of the high leaf mass, you must pay particular attention to a regular water supply. In the following years, a larger plant pot will be necessary and we recommend repotting every 2 to 3 years. Of course, the attractive play of colours of the leaves can be best enjoyed in a potted plant. However, growing the plant in a pot also means that it tends to start a little earlier. So make sure that the pot is protected as much as possible, but also that it is overwintered in the shade without sunlight so that the plant does not start growing too early.


How and when are summer kiwis harvested?


Of course, nobody can resist snacking on the slowly ripening summer kiwis as they pass by. However, sometimes they are not so easy to spot in the green thicket of leaves, so you have to train your eyes a bit...As soon as the fruit gives way slightly under thumb pressure, it moves in the ripening window, so you can taste and enjoy it. As with the Actinida arguta grape kiwi, this ripening window is quite short...and the fruit is already overripe. Actinida kolomikta also have the advantage (or disadvantage) that they simply fall to the ground when fully ripe. You can also take advantage of this plant casualness by placing a plastic or cloth on the ground around the plant during the ripening period and thus collect the ripe fruits for further processing into jellies or jams. And, as I said, you should never forget that summer kiwi - as the name suggests - ripen already in the summer, in August! We've had customers who, after a few years, wrote us annoyed e-mails saying that they could never harvest the fruit - they were looking for the fruit at the 'normal' ripening time in October.


Actinidia kolomikta: When does the leaf colouration develop?


The attractive pink and white leaf colouring of Actinidia kolomikta develops more strongly after 3 to 4 years, but in the male pollinator kiwi Adam it can already be present in the first year. Our female, the very large-fruited kiwi ‘Vitakola’ also shows little leaf colouring later. So there is another objective reason to buy a male kiwi besides fertilisation. That's the general opinion: men are for decoration!


Fertilising and protecting


In general, these plants require only very small amounts of fertiliser before their delicious and sweet-tasting fruits are formed. In the spring, 40 to 60 grams/sqm of our Lubera 'Compound Fertiliser Plus’ or one or two shovels of compost is sufficient for these climbing plants, which means that the amount of fertiliser can be reduced. If too much fertiliser is used, it can easily happen that your Actinidia kolomikta (female plant) bears only a few fruits or in extreme cases no fruits at all. Summer kiwis that are grown in a container should be treated again in June, preferably with liquid fertiliser (3 to 4 times with ‘Frutilizer Instant Bloom’ liquid fertiliser, at intervals of 1-2 weeks. Since kiwi plants are generally not very susceptible to pests and diseases, there is no need for plant protection measures. Only very few allotment gardeners report that summer kiwi plants have been attacked by spider mites and aphids. Spider mites can be a problem, especially when growing the plants in containers on balconies and terraces. It is important to remember that during the growing season it is not the most sheltered and sunny place in which it is best to grow this plant, but the most open and windy... and sometimes even in partial shade.




As said before: every planting needs at least one male plant. This can also be kept relatively small once it has flowered. But usually, the male plants are grown in the same way as the female plants because after a few years they are usually more attractive in colour than the females.

But how exactly should  the plants be cut? As always, there are different ways to Rome and to the cutting paradise, but we would like to present three possible methods of training and pruning. Basically, it should be considered with all actinidia  varieties that they fruit similar to grapes on the side shoots of the main shoots, and that they tend to fruit on the first third of the side shoots. Every pruning method is based on this basic knowledge.


Cut on a formal trellis, short cut

  • For the controlled growth of Actinidia kolomikta, it is advisable to pull a vertical main shoot up to the top wire of the plant framework, whereby looping must be avoided at all costs. 
  • The side branches developing from the main shoot are evenly distributed on the framework and tied up regularly. This results in a framework of main branches.
  • Before their budding out at the end of February, the lateral branches of these main branches are cut back to three to five eyes in March, depending on the space available, and some are cut even shorter, similar to a trellis vine.
  • Pruning is done very early in the spring because later in March and April the kiwi always 'bleeds' heavily.
  • The fruit shoots develop from these stubs, which are then repeatedly cut back to cones after harvesting.
  • The side branches of the plant, which come off the main shoots and have already borne flowers and fruit, are cut back to about three to four eyes the following February. 
  • Important with every cut: it is important to ensure that new shoots can develop again and again on the summer kiwi plant. Never remove a side shoot completely, always leave a stub.

Pragmatic hedge trimming on a wall, hedge or pergola


If formal training is a bit too complex and too elaborate for you, you can also follow the pragmatic hedge trimming method with very good success:


The plant is grown fan-like on a wall or pergola


The resulting side shoots of the main branches are cut back to 20-40 cm every spring or late winter in February, quite simply with hedge clippers. If there is time and desire, some side shoots are also cut back to stubs for a shorter time, especially if they are already relatively old, to prevent them from becoming bare.


Pillar training with Actinidia kolomikta and the appropriate cut

  • Two to three shoots of Actinidia kolomikta are raised on a pole, which is about 3 m high. The resulting side shoots and fruit shoots are always cut back to approx. 20-40 cm in February - again, hedge trimmers can also be used.
  • As with pragmatic hedge trimming (see above), older shoots can occasionally be cut back with the shears to a very short stub on the main shoot (to 1 or 2 eyes).
  • Every 2-3 years, the upper part of the kiwi column, which takes the upper hand, is consistently and at first sight brutally cut back to 200 cm (cut back 1/3), so that an overbuilding of the plant is prevented.

And what about a summer pruning?


We recommend that in the summer, around the longest day of the year, long whip shoots should be cut back into the normal plant profile with hedge trimmers. Although this does not have too great an effect on the crop, it prevents a tousled look.

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