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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Actinidia kolomikta

Scientific Name : Actinidia Kolomikta

Common Name : Kiwi; Kolomikta vine

A very attractive foliage climber for a sunny position. Though it produces small sweet and edible fruit when male and female forms are planted together, it is usually grown for its 7.5-15cm (3-6") oblong, tooth edged leaves. The leaf tips start white and age to pink contrasting against the remaining dark green. They require little or no pruning other than to keep them in bounds.

Hardiness Zone: 4-8
Texture: Medium
Height: 15'-40'
Exposure: Sun to light shade

Picture showing young leaves of male plant having green, white, pink, rose, or red variegation when grown in good light; prefers fertile evenly moist soil; creates dense shade

Climbing Method:
Flower/ Fruit: fragrant but not showy

Picture showing white flowers of Actinidia kolomikta

Growth Rate:

Time to plant seeds:
September to May
Habit: Deciduous
PRUNING: It blooms on old wood, therefore, prune immediately after blooming if needed.

Picture showing Actinidia kolomikta being a vigorous twining climber with heart-shaped leaves which, in mature specimens, have pink and cream variegated tips. A dramatic species for covering a large wall, where it looks most spectacular against a background of old brick. It can also be allowed to climb into a large tree, where it looks sensational. Although grown for its foliage, the plant has insignificant flowers in early summer - these are scented, and when grown in a warm sheltered situation the fragrance, though short lived, is very pleasant.

Picture showing a stone carved figure is framed by the kiwi vine, Actinidia kolomikta

COMMENTS: Plants are fast-growing and long-lived, having been known to produce fruit for at least 60 years. Males are said to have the best color, but male and female plant are needed to produce fruits, as the plants are dioecious (bearing male flowers on one plant and female flowers on another). Only the female bears fruit. Morning sun and afternoon shade is the best light (east facing aspect). Although it has small blooms and fruit, actinidia is best known for its unique young foliage. It will require a few seasons to become established, then will show foliage which is purple when young, changing late in the season to a lovely variegation of silver, green, pink and white.

Suggested cultivars:
A. kolomikta 'Arctic Beauty', a non-fruiting variety. The young leaves are purple maturing to pink, green and white. Colors fade in direct sun.
A. kolomikta 'Krupnoplodnaya' is a rapid grower to 40 ft., and has red leaves in summer.
A. kolomikta 'Arnold Arboretum' bears smaller fruit.


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