Actinidia kolomikta

Actinidia kolomikta

Actinidia kolomikta or Kolomikta Vine is a climbing shrub and certainly the most striking Actinidia for its heart-shaped green leaves with pink and white coloured spots on the tip. The coloration of the leaves appears after 2 to 3 years.

Flowers appear on branches of previous years and are creamy white or pink and lemon scented. They attract butterflies and birds.

It is a very fast grower which starts to produce fruit after 2 or 3 years. The plant is dioecious, so there must be at least one male plant to allow the female plants to produce fruit.

The fruits are edible but small: the size of a grape. They are yellow-green and not covered with hairs as in other kiwis. Best production is obtained when it is planted against a south wall.

The name Actinidia means “little ray” because of the lines in the fruit from the center to walk outside.

Caution should be exercised with cats: the plant is attractive to cats who can damage the plant but it can also induce vomiting in your cat.

Common names:

Arctic Kiwi
Arctic Beauty Kiwi
Hardy Kiwi
Kiwi Vine
Kolomikta Vine
Michurin actinidia
Miyama-Mata-Tabi
Variegated Actinidia

Synonyms:

Prunus kolomikta
Trochostigma kolomikta
Kalomikta mandshurica

Origin:

China, Japan, Korea and eastern Russia

Usage:

The fruit can be eaten raw or processed into juice, wine, jam or filling for pies.
In traditional medicine it is used as a laxative or as anti-worms in the intestinal system.

Actinidia kolomikta fruits

Actinidia kolomikta fruits

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 3, -40 °C

Soil:

Fertile and well drained



Height:

3 to 5 m

Flowering:

June

Exposure:

Sun

Propagation:

Seed
Cutting
Layering

Sowing instructions:

  • very easy but do it only for fun: it takes from 3 to 8 years for the plant to start flowering and producing fruit. If you prefer to harvest fruit rapidly, buy a plant at a nursery. Male plants are usually grafted on a female plant for pollination since Actinidia chinensis is dioecious.
  • Actinidia chinensis seed needs a cold period to germinate in the spring. This can be done artificially by putting the seeds for a couple of weeks in the fridge. But fruit bought in the store has undergone cooling during transport, so it’s not essential to stratify the seeds before sowing.
  • if you harvest seeds from fresh fruit, make sure you get all the pulp from the seeds before sowing: pulp prohibits germination. You can do this buy rubbing the seeds in a very fine sieve or rub them between two sheets of kitchen paper. Rinse in a glass of water: the remaining pulp will float and the seeds sink, you will be able to drain it.
  • sow in a light mix
  • moisten
  • 20-25 °C
  • germination time: 3 weeks to 2 months
  • repot: When seedlings are big enough to handle

Care:

  • the plant is a climber but cannot attach itself to its support, it needs leading and you will have to fasten new branches to the climbing device
  • harvesting will be easier if you provide horizontal support
  • can also be grown over a pergola but harvesting will be a bit complicated
  • the best place is against a south facing wall
  • likes moist soil, be sure to water regularly during summer
  • plant in the garden when all danger of frost has ceased (May)
  • before planting put a good layer of compost in the plant hole
  • then give regular cow manure or fertilizer during the growing season
  • prune in February to give shape
  • prune the branches in July, the branches which bear little or no fruit so that the remaining fruit gets all the nutrition

Image sources

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