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Plant Profile: Chinese Gooseberry aka kiwi (Actinidia chinensis)

Actinidia chinensisClosely related to camellias, Chinese gooseberry is a fine garden plant with its fragrant flowers and edible fruit. Although also known as kiwi, however, A. chinensis is not the same plant that is grown in New Zealand for its fruit. The flowers of Chinese gooseberry are white to cream, cup-shaped and produced in summer in the leaf axils. Male and female flowers are produced on different plants and one male plant is recommended for three to four female plants if fruit is desired. The ripe fruits that follow on the female plants have smooth brown skin without hairs, green flesh, and very small black seeds. The fruits of the New Zealand species (A. deliciosa) can be distinguished by the presence of stiff hairs on their skins. The leaves are round to heart shaped and five to eight inches long. Young shoots are pink and will ramble, climb if given a sturdy support, or can be trained as an espalier.

Type: Deciduous woody vine

Outstanding Feature: Flowers, fruit

Form: Sprawling but can climb or be trained as an espalier

Growth Rate: Moderate

Bloom: Small, white to cream, bell-shaped, scented flowers in summer; male and female flowers on different plants

Size: 30’ H x 15-16’ W

Light: Full sun to light shade

Soil: Average, moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 7-9

Care: Remove old wood

Pests and Diseases: Fruit lifes

Propagation: Seed (fruit in 5-10 years), semi-ripe cuttings in summer, layering in autumn.

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