Exploring the World of Exotic Fruits: a Deep Dive Into Kiwi Cultivation

The world of exotic fruits offers a delightful array of flavors and textures, and one such fruit that has gained popularity in recent years is the kiwi. With its vibrant green flesh, tangy sweetness, and unique texture, the kiwi fruit has captured the taste buds of many. In this article, we will take a deep dive into kiwi cultivation, exploring its history, growing conditions, and care tips. Join us as we uncover the secrets of cultivating this exotic fruit right in your own backyard.

The Kiwi Fruit Tree Story in the UK:

The journey of the kiwi fruit tree in the UK has been an interesting one. According to experts from ChrisBowers, a renowned horticultural company, the kiwi fruit first made its appearance in Britain in the early 20th century. However, it wasn’t until the 1960s that commercial cultivation began.

The climate in certain parts of the UK, particularly in the southern regions, was found to be suitable for kiwi cultivation. The fuzzy kiwi variety, Actinidia deliciosa, which is the most commonly known kiwi fruit, started gaining popularity among British gardeners. Since then, the demand for homegrown kiwis has steadily increased, prompting more enthusiasts to try their hand at cultivating this exotic fruit.

The History of Kiwi Fruit in the UK:

The kiwi fruit, also known as the Chinese gooseberry, has its roots in the mountainous regions of China. It was later introduced to New Zealand in the early 20th century, where it was cultivated on a commercial scale. The fruit’s popularity spread globally, and it eventually made its way to the United Kingdom.

In the UK, the kiwi fruit https://www.chrisbowers.co.uk/category/kiwi-fruit/ faced initial challenges due to its specific growing requirements. However, with advancements in horticulture and the exploration of suitable microclimates, British gardeners and farmers have been able to successfully cultivate this exotic fruit. The increasing demand for locally grown produce and the desire for unique flavors have contributed to the rise of kiwi cultivation in the UK.

Choosing the Right Kiwi Variety:

When it comes to growing kiwi fruits, selecting the right variety is crucial. The two main types of kiwi varieties are the fuzzy kiwi (Actinidia deliciosa) and the smooth kiwi (Actinidia arguta). The fuzzy kiwi is the most commonly cultivated variety, known for its distinctive brown, fuzzy skin and sweet, juicy flesh. The smooth kiwi, also known as the kiwi berry, has a smaller size and a smooth, edible skin. Both varieties offer a unique taste experience and can be grown in the UK, but the fuzzy kiwi is more commonly found in British gardens.

Climate and Growing Conditions:

Kiwi trees thrive in mild and temperate climates. In the UK, they are best suited for regions with long, warm summers and relatively mild winters. Kiwi plants require a minimum temperature of -10°C (14°F) in winter to stimulate bud dormancy. They also need a frost-free period during the growing season for proper fruit development.

Planting Kiwi Trees:

Kiwi trees are typically planted in early spring when the soil has warmed up and the risk of frost has passed. Choose a sunny location with well-draining soil. Kiwis prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH level between 5.5 and 6.5. Plant the vines in a trellis system or against a sturdy structure that provides support for their vigorous growth.

Training and Pruning Kiwi Vines:

Kiwi vines are vigorous climbers, and proper training and pruning are essential for their growth and fruit production. Train the main vine along a horizontal wire, allowing the lateral branches to grow vertically. Regular pruning helps maintain the shape, promotes airflow, and ensures the production of quality fruits. Prune during the dormant season, removing dead or damaged wood and thinning out excessive growth.

Fertilizing and Watering:

Kiwi plants benefit from regular feeding to support their growth and fruiting. Early spring and early summer are ideal times to apply a balanced fertilizer. Water the plants deeply during dry periods, especially when the fruits are forming and ripening. Adequate irrigation is crucial for preventing fruit cracking and ensuring sweet and juicy kiwis.

Pest and Disease Management:

Monitor your kiwi plants for common pests such as aphids, spider mites, and scale insects. To reduce the negative effects on beneficial insects, whenever possible, use organic pest control techniques. Kiwis are generally resistant to many diseases, but occasionally they may be susceptible to fungal infections. Provide proper air circulation, avoid overhead watering, and promptly remove any diseased plant material to prevent the spread of diseases.

Harvesting and Storing Kiwi Fruits:

Kiwi fruits are typically harvested in autumn, when they have reached their full size and the skin changes from green to a rich brown color. To check if the fruits are ready for harvest, gently press the flesh. If it yields slightly, it is ripe and ready to be picked. Kiwis can be stored in the refrigerator for up to several weeks, allowing you to enjoy the fruits of your labor throughout the season.

Enjoying the Bounty of Homegrown Kiwis:

Homegrown kiwi fruits offer a unique and flavorful addition to your culinary adventures. Enjoy them fresh, sliced into salads or smoothies, or use them in desserts and jams. The possibilities are endless when it comes to incorporating this exotic fruit into your culinary creations.


Cultivating kiwi fruits in the UK may require some careful consideration of climate and growing conditions, but with the right knowledge and techniques, it is possible to enjoy the bounty of this exotic fruit in your own backyard. By selecting the appropriate variety, providing proper care, and following best practices in training, pruning, and pest management, you can embark on a rewarding journey of growing your own kiwi fruits. So, why not explore the world of exotic fruits and add the delightful kiwi to your garden? Happy cultivating!