Propagation

Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse[11]. It is probably best if the seed is given 3 months stratification[12], either sow it in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in November or as soon as it is received. Fresh seed germinates in 2 - 3 months at 10°c, stored seed can take longer[11]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. When the plants are 30cm or more tall, plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts[K]. Most seedlings are male[13]. The seedlings are subject to damping off, so they must be kept well ventilated[12].

Cuttings of softwood as soon as ready in spring in a frame[K]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Very high percentage[12].

Cuttings of ripe wood, October/November in a frame.

Cultivation

Prefers a sound loamy neutral soil[1][14]. Tolerates acid and moderately alkaline soils[15]. Succeeds in semi-shade but full sun is best for fruit production[14]. Prefers a sheltered position[14].

A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to -30°c or more, but the young spring growth is susceptible to frost damage[16]. Some cultivars are said to tolerate temperatures down to about -50°c when fully dormant[16]. This species is often cultivated for its edible fruit and it is increasingly being seen as having potential in Britain. There are some named varieties[5]. Plants are usually dioecious but the cultivar 'Issai' is self-fertile[14]. A polymorphic species[6]. Fruits are formed on second year wood and also on fruit spurs on older wood[13], any pruning is best carried out in the winter[17]. Plants only flower when grown in warm climates[15]. This species flowers well in gardens in the south and west of Britain[17], the small flowers being sweetly scented[18]. This is a climbing plant, supporting itself by twining around branches etc[14]. Male and female plants must usually be grown if seed is required.

Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[14].

Additional information for Hardy kiwi, Tara Vine