All the secrets of actinidia: types, varieties and features of cultivation for different regions

Actinidia is a promising berry vine for amateur gardening. Its berries are appreciated for their excellent taste and high content of vitamins, primarily ascorbic acid. This unpretentious original plant decorates the site, especially variegated varieties. Some types of actinidia are very winter-hardy, while others succeed only in the subtropics.

Actinidia - Vitamin Liana

All species of actinidia are woody perennial vines found in nature in the shady, moist forests of East Asia. In the Russian Far East, 4 species of actinidia grow wildly: colomict, polygamum, argument and Giraldi.

History of Actinidia cultivation

In Russia, the cultivation of local Far Eastern species of actinidia began in the second half of the 19th century. The creator of the first domestic varieties was the famous breeder Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin.

Chinese actinidia has long been grown in Chinese gardens, but remained a purely local culture. At the beginning of the XX century, it was brought to New Zealand, where the first large-fruited varieties were created, which received the commercial name “kiwi”.

Kiwi fruits can be seen in any supermarket.

Types and varieties of actinidia

There are several types of actinidia with edible fruits.

The largest-fruited varieties are of Chinese subtropical actinidia (kiwi), and of the more winter-hardy species - argument actinidia and its purple actinidia variety.

For commercial purposes, many manufacturers of planting material use the attractive names "Arctic kiwi", "winter-hardy kiwi", "mini-kiwi" and the like in their advertising catalogs, under which the usual varieties of actinidia argument and colomict are hidden.

Actinidia colomict and argument (video)

The most frost-resistant varieties in actinidia colomict. Actinidia of argument and polygam can easily withstand frosts only in the Far East, where deep snow lies all winter and even temperatures are kept without winter thaws. European winters with sharp temperature differences cause them to prematurely leave their dormant state and then freeze when the cold comes back.

Chinese actinidia (delicious actinidia, kiwi)

Homeland - mountain forests of subtropical China. In nature, it reaches 10–20 meters in length. The leaves are broad-ovoid, very large, depending on the variety, can be with a notch at the end or with a pointed tip. When blooming, the flowers are white or cream, then gradually turn yellow. Stamens are yellow. Fruits are oval in shape, with a thick brown pubescence, remain green inside even when fully ripened. Fruit weight from 30 g in wild plants to 100-150 g in cultivars. Unripe fruits are well stored and very transportable, then in a warm room they are easily ripened to full maturity.

Kiwi - Chinese actinidia (photo gallery)

Leaves of Chinese Actinidia (Kiwi)

Female flowers of Chinese actinidia (kiwi)

Male Chinese Actinidia Flowers (Kiwi)

Actinidia (Kiwi) Allison

Actinidia (Kiwi) Russian Hayward

Actinidia (Kiwi) Monti S

Actinidia (Kiwi) Kivaldi

There are Russian varieties of kiwi zoned for the subtropical zone of the North Caucasus. All of them are self-infertile and require a pollinator. Outside the subtropics, they are not winter-hardy.

Description and characterization of kiwi varieties (table)

TitleFruit sizeFeaturesOrigin of the variety
Hayward Russian90–130 gLate ripening, sweet and sour taste, with a typical kiwi flavor Russia, Sochi, All-Russian Research Institute of Floriculture and Subtropical Crops
Monty s64–85 gMid-season, sweet-sour taste, with strawberry-pineapple aroma
Allison55–65 gEarly ripe, sweet taste, with chamois aroma
Kivaldi75–100 gLate, sweet-sour taste, with a typical kiwi flavor

Actinidia Arguments (acute actinidia), purpurea and Giraldi

These three species are very close and easily interbreed, so some botanists combine them into one species - actinid argument (acute actinidia).

Creepers up to 15-30 meters long. Leaves are rhomboid-oval with a sharp tip. The flowers are white, the stamens are black. Flowering in June, ripening berries in September - October. The berries are oval, sometimes with a small nose. The skin is smooth, without pubescence. In actinidia purpurea and hybrids with its participation, when ripened, the fruits turn purple, in actinidia, the arguments and Giraldi remain green. Productivity from 1 to 20 kg per bush.

Actinidia Argument (Photo Gallery)

Leaves of Actinidia Argument

Male argument actinidia flowers

Female argument actinidia flowers

Actinidia argument Issei

Actinidia argument Geneva

Actinidia Argument Kiev Krupnoplodnaya

Actinidia argument Kokuva

Actinidia Argument Purple Garden

Actinidia Argument September (Emerald)

Description and characterization of varieties of actinidia argument (table)

TitleFruit sizeFeaturesOrigin of the variety
Purple Garden (Purple Garden)about 5.5 gRipens at the end of September. In ripe berries, the flesh and skin are bright purple. Grade for the southern regions Ukraine
Kiev Large-fruited15-18 gThe berries are green, sometimes with a slight purple hue, ripen in late September. Grade for the southern regions
Issei5–8 gThe berries are green. Partially self-pollinated variety. Very late, ripens in October. Weakly resistant Japan
Kokuwa5-10 gThe berries are green. Partially self-pollinated variety. It ripens in late September - October. Weakly resistant
Geneva6–9 gThe berries are green with a slight red blush. Early variety (early September), relatively winter-hardyAmerica
September (Emerald)7-10 gThe berries are green, ripen in early September. The variety is relatively winter-hardyUkraine

Varieties called "September" have both actinidia argument and actinidia colomict. These are completely different plants, do not mix!

Actinidia colomictus

Liana up to 10-15 meters long. Leaves are heart-shaped with an elongated sharp tip, strongly carved at the base of the leaf petiole. Simultaneously with the appearance of buds, part of the leaves is covered with white or white-pink spots that persist throughout the summer. Variety manifests itself more strongly in well-lit sunny places. The flowers are white, the stamens are yellow. Flowering in late May - June, ripening berries in August - September. Ripe berries remain green. Unripe berries are hard and dull, fully ripened - soft and transparent. When ripe, the berries easily crumble. Productivity from 1 to 5–7 kg per bush. The most winter-hardy of all actinidia.

Actinidia colomicta (photo gallery)

Leaves of actinidia colomict male variety Adam

Male actinidia colomict flowers

Female flowers of actinidia colomict

Actinidia colomict Anastasia

Actinidia Colomict Aromatic

Actinidia Colomict Abundant

Actinidia colomictus Gourmet

Actinidia colomict september

Description and characterization of varieties of actinidia colomict (table)

TitleFruit sizeFeaturesOrigin of the variety
September3-4 gMid-late (end of August - mid-September) Russia
Anastasia3 gOld grade I.V. Michurin. Ripens in August
Abundant2.8–3.2 gEarly ripe (mid-August), with pineapple flavor
Gourmet4–5 gMid-season (end of August), with pineapple flavor
Fragrant3-4 gEarly ripe (mid-August), with a nutmeg aroma
AdamPollinating variety with male flowers, does not bear fruitBeautiful pink and white leaves

Polygamous actinidia (multi-homed actinidia)

Liana up to 5 meters long. The leaves are oval-cordate with an elongated sharp tip, a cut at the base of the petiole is weakly expressed. During the budding period, some of the leaves become covered with white spots. The flowers are white, the stamens are yellow. Flowering in June, ripening berries in September. Ripe berries are bright orange, with an original piquant taste of sweet pepper.

Actinidia polygamum (photo gallery)

Leaves of actinidia polygam in a sunny place covered with white spots

Male Actinidia Polygamum Flowers Collected in Brush

Female actinidia polygamum flowers are arranged one at a time

Unripe fruits of actinidia polygam apricot

Almost ripened fruits of actinidia polygamum Yellow spindle

The fully ripened fruits of actinidia polygam

Unripe berries have a burning pepper taste, so they are harvested only in full maturity when they become soft and transparent.

Description and characteristics of varieties of actinidia polygamum (table)

TitleFruit sizeFeaturesOrigin of the variety
Apricot2.9 g on averageYellow-orange berries, taste of sweet pepper, without bitterness, with pepper aroma Russia, Moscow
Red girl4.4-5.6 gThe berries are orange, fresh and sweet taste, with a light pepper aroma
Yellow spindle3.7-6.4 gBerries are orange, taste of sweet pepper with pepper aromaRussia, Vladivostok

Actinidia polygamum in Belarus (video)

Description, distinguishing features and winter hardiness of different types of actinidia (table)

TitleBerry sizeDistinctive featuresWinter hardiness in nature
Chinese actinidia (delicious actinidia, kiwi)30–150 gLeaves are broad-ovate, with a notch or a sharp tip, without color spots. The flowers are first white or cream, then turn yellow. Stamens are yellow. Fruits are oval, with thick brown pubescence-10–15 ° C
Actinidia Arguments, Magenta, Giraldi and their Hybrids5-18 gLeaves are rhomboid-oval with a sharp tip, without color spots. The flowers are white, the stamens are black. Fruits are green or purple, oval, sometimes with a small nose, the skin is smooth, without pubescenceActinidia argument and Giraldi -28–35 ° C, purple actinidia and its hybrids up to -25 ° C
Actinidia colomictus3-5 gThe leaves are heart-shaped, often with white or pink-white spots. The flowers are white, the stamens are yellow. The berries are oval-elongated without a nose, smooth, green in full maturity. When ripening, it crumbles-40–45 ° C
Polygamous actinidia (multi-homed actinidia)2.9-6.4 gThe leaves are heart-shaped, often with white spots. The flowers are white, the stamens are yellow. The berries are elongated with a sharp nose, smooth, bright orange in full maturity. Unripe berries have a sharp pepper taste-28–35 ° C

Features of growing actinidia in different regions

So that actinidia grows well and gives an abundant crop of berries, it is very important to choose the species that is most suitable for the region.

Growing actinidia in the Urals, Siberia and the Far East

In the harsh conditions of the Urals and Siberia, only the most winter-hardy actinidia of colomict grows well and bears fruit. In the Far East, all species from the surrounding forests (Actinidia colomicta, polygamum, argument and Giraldi) and their cultural forms of local Far Eastern breeding are well managed. European varieties take root poorly due to a significant difference in climate. Actinidia purpurea and Chinese in winter inevitably freeze.

The cultivation of actinidia in the Leningrad region and other regions of the North-West

Here, only Colinict actinidia grows well and gives stable yields. For other species, there is not enough summer heat. A humid cloudy summer is very favorable for this culture.

Growing actinidia in central Russia, including the Moscow region

Without special care, only actinidia colomict grows and reliably bears fruit. In areas with a particularly favorable microclimate, polygamous actinidia and the most winter-resistant forms of actinidia argument can grow. Actinidia purpurea and Chinese are guaranteed to freeze.

Cultivation of actinidia in Belarus, northern Ukraine and neighboring regions of Russia

In general, a region favorable for actinidia with a rather humid climate, long warm summers and relatively mild winters. All types of actinidia grow well, with the exception of Chinese actinidia.

Actinidia cultivation in southern Ukraine and southern regions of Russia

The main problem for growing actinidia in the steppe zone is summer heat and dry air. When planting at partial shade and regularly moistening the air and soil, all types of actinidia can be grown.

Irrigation increases air humidity

The Black Sea coast of Russia and Ukraine is suitable for the thermophilic Chinese actinidia (kiwi). It grows especially well in the humid subtropics of the Krasnodar Territory. In the zone of colder winters, her creepers for the winter are removed from the supports and covered with reed mats, earth or agrofibre.

Self-pollinating actinidia: truth and fiction

All types of actinidia are dioecious plants by nature, their female and male flowers are located on different specimens. The flowers are melliferous and pollinated by bees. The stamens present in female flowers have low pollen quality, insufficient for full pollination. There are partially self-pollinated varieties in which individual female flowers tie single berries from their own pollen. But with normal cross-pollination, their productivity will be several times higher, and the berries are larger. Some sellers of seedlings are silent about these features, knowingly or unknowingly skipping the word "partially" in the description of such partially self-pollinating varieties.

In amateur gardens, the illusion of self-pollination sometimes occurs if a single female actinidia plant is pollinated by a male specimen of the same species growing in an adjacent area.

How to distinguish a male plant from a female

To distinguish between male and female copies of actinidia is possible only during flowering. In the center of female flowers among the stamens, the ovary of the future berry with a star-shaped pestle at the top is immediately noticeable.

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In a single female actinidia flower, the ovary of the future berry is clearly visible

Male actinidia flowers have only stamens, they do not have an ovary.

The male actinidia flowers collected in the brush have no ovaries

In actinidia colomictus and polygamum, female flowers are arranged singly or in pairs, while male flowers are arranged in small hands, usually 3 flowers each. In actinidia of the argument (purple, Giraldi) and kiwi (Chinese actinidia), both male and female flowers are arranged by medium-sized brushes.

Variegated coloring of leaves happens in both male and female plants. It is believed that male plants stain more often and brighter, but this symptom is not accurate enough to determine gender.

Planting actinidia

Actinidia planted in the spring. The ideal option is to plant in such a place so that young plants are in the shade, and as they grow, the top of the vines is well lit in the morning and evening hours. The distance between plants is at least 2 meters. Before planting, strong supports for lianas are made, made of metal or wood carefully impregnated with an antiseptic. The most convenient trellises are about 2–2.5 meters high.

Reliable support is needed for normal growth and bearing of actinidia.

Different types of actinidia are not pollinated among themselves (except for closely related purpurea, Giraldi and argument, these 3 species are inter-pollinated). The optimal ratio when planting is 2 male plants per 10 female. Male and female copies of each species are placed nearby.

Actinidia needs light loose soils, acidity from weakly acidic to neutral. It does not tolerate carbonate soils with excess lime and wetlands with stagnant moisture. On heavy clays, broken brick drainage is necessarily laid at the bottom of the planting pits. After planting, plants are abundantly watered. Seedlings planted in an open area always shade throughout the season. For the winter, it is advisable to cover young plants with spruce branches.

For planting, it is better to use seedlings with a closed root system, they are easier to take root

Actinidia Care

Actinidia is very demanding on air and soil moisture. In hot, dry weather, it needs to be watered at least 1-2 times a week, approximately 1-3 buckets of water per plant, depending on its size. It is advisable to mulch the soil under the vines with wood chips, sawdust or last year's foliage to preserve moisture and prevent weed growth.

Mulching actinidia helps maintain moisture in the soil

Trimming Actinidia

The main pruning of actinidia is carried out in the fall, after harvesting. At the same time, all the extra thickening shoots are cut out. Too long shoots shorten. In the spring, before the budding of the buds, actinidia has a very strong sap flow, at this time it is impossible to prune, the plant may die. Branches frozen over the winter are cut later when the leaves begin to bloom.

Feeding Actinidia

In spring, the soil under actinidia is fertilized with leaf humus at the rate of 1 bucket per square meter. You can’t dig under actinidia, its roots are not deep, so humus is simply scattered on the surface of the soil and covered with mulch.

Fresh manure or lime should not be added under actinidia; the plant will die.

Problems and injuries of actinidia

Actinidia is not damaged by diseases and insect pests, so no chemical treatments are required.

The only enemy of actinidia is cats. The roots, shoots and leaves of this plant contain chemical components that affect most cats like valerian and catnip (catnip). Young actinidia plants are especially affected by cats. Therefore, immediately after planting, seedlings must be fenced with a sufficiently high metal mesh.

To protect against cats, actinidia plants are enclosed by a durable mesh

Possible problems of actinidia (table)

What does it look likeWhat is itWhat to do with it
White or white-pink spots on leavesNatural coloration, species characteristic of actinidia polygamus and colomictusDo nothing, it's alright
In the spring, young leaves and buds suddenly blacken and fade, like burntFrost damageAfter some time, new leaves from sleeping buds will grow. Plants planted near the southwestern walls of buildings suffer least from frosts. Young vines can be covered with a film or agrofiber in case of a threat of freezing. On flowering plants in the daytime, shelter must be removed for pollination
In summer, in hot, dry weather, the leaves fade and dryLack of moistureIt is best to plant actinidia at partial shade, and when planting in an open area, it is imperative to shade, especially young plants. To increase air humidity will help by irrigation in the evening or in the early morning. In the daytime, you can’t rain in the sun; on wet leaves, sunburn is possible
Leaves and shoots are gnawed or eaten completely, grass is crushed around the plants, the ground is trampled or excavatedCats ruled hereImmediately after planting, enclose actinidia with a strong protective net

Motley coloring of actinidia colomict leaves is a normal natural occurrence

Actinidia reproduction

Actinidia can be propagated vegetatively (by cuttings and layering) or by seeds. Varietal qualities are fully transmitted only during vegetative propagation.

Actinidia propagation by layering

This is the easiest way for those who already have an instance of the desired variety on the plot.

Actinidia is easily propagated by layering (by digging the tops of the shoots)

  • In the spring, when the buds wake up and the plants grow, you just need to pin one of the shoots to the ground and gently nip it so that its top is pointing up.
  • During the summer, rooted cuttings should be regularly watered so that the ground near it is always slightly damp.
  • In the spring of next year, the resulting young plant can be transplanted to a permanent place, carefully cutting off the mother's shoot at the beginning of leaf blooming
  • If a small plant looks too weak, it is better to leave it for another 1 year, especially in regions with harsh climates.

Propagation of actinidia by cuttings

Actinidia multiplies well with green cuttings at the end of June, when the young shoots of the current year finish their growth and begin to woody.

Actinidia can be propagated by green cuttings in a simple greenhouse

Procedure for grafting:

  • Choose a weed-free penumbra plot, sheltered from the midday sun. If the soil is heavy clay, the top 10 centimeters of soil in the prunus should be replaced by a mixture of sand with humus.
  • From thick young shoots of actinidia, cut cuttings 10-15 centimeters long. Cuttings thinner than a pencil do not root. Place the cuttings immediately in a bucket of water so that they do not wilt.
  • Carefully cut the lower leaves on the cuttings with a razor closer to the base of the leaf petiole. On the upper leaves, cut off half of the leaf blade to reduce moisture evaporation.
  • Place the prepared cuttings obliquely in the soil of the cuticle, leaving 1-2 buds above the ground. Pour abundantly from a watering can with a spray.
  • Set arcs above the cuticle and pull a white breathable agrofibre so that between the tops of the leaves on the cuttings and the shelter there is a free space of about 15–20 centimeters.
  • During the season, the cuttings should be regularly watered 2-3 times a week (in extreme heat without rain - daily in the evenings or early mornings) so that the soil is moist all the time.
  • For the first winter, young plantlets in the cuticle should be covered with leaves or spruce branches.
  • With the onset of spring, it is already possible to transplant the seedlings obtained to the final place. The smallest and weakest are better left for another year in the same place for growing.

Actinidia propagated by seed

Seed propagation of actinidia is not of practical value for amateur gardening, since varietal qualities are lost, and among seedlings it will turn out approximately equally male and female plants. They can be distinguished only during flowering, which will have to wait several years. But if you want an experiment, you can try winter sowing in the garden. Attempts to stratify seeds in a domestic refrigerator or on a balcony are extremely rare because of the inability to provide the necessary temperature and humidity levels.

Only seeds of the current year’s crop, extracted from fully ripened soft berries, are suitable for sowing. Last year's seeds lose their germination. The procedure is as follows:

  • Collect ripe berries, keep them in the room with a thin layer for another week for complete ripening. Should become soft, wrinkled, transparent on the cut.

    To obtain seeds, actinidia berries are allowed to ripen to a soft translucent state

  • Carefully knead the prepared berries, put them in a glass, pour clean water and stir. High-quality seeds will settle to the bottom, and the pulp will float to the surface.
  • Drain the water, put the seeds on a saucer in one layer and dry in the shade. Remove dried seeds in a paper bag.
  • By October it is necessary to prepare a bed located in partial shade for sowing with loose soil, fertilized with leaf humus (1-2 buckets per square meter). Cook in advance to completely clear this place of rhizomes of perennial weeds.
  • Sowing is carried out in the second half of October. On the bed, make shallow grooves after 10-15 centimeters, spill them with water from a watering can. Carefully spread the seeds of actinidia and sprinkle with soil a layer about half a centimeter.
  • Shoots will appear no earlier than June. They are very gentle and easily clogged with weeds, so you need to regularly and carefully weed the garden. If the seedlings are too thick, they must be thinned, leaving at least 10-15 centimeters between the plants.
  • In dry summer, a bed with seedlings must be watered from a watering can with a sprayer at least 2 times a week. Necessarily shading from the midday sun and a protective net from cats.
  • For winter, seedlings should be covered with fallen leaves or spruce branches to protect against frost.
  • The second year of life, seedlings remain in the same garden with the same care.
  • In the spring of the third year, young plants can be transplanted to a permanent place.


We have had many years in the country grew colomicta, so completely unpretentious plant: it can be grown on any soil and undemanding to the location. Only cats are afraid of the first years of life.

Maroussia (Marina Ivanovna)

All types of actinidia have a completely different taste ... The polygamum, for example, has the taste of sweet pepper, and is tasty only in pickled form. Actinidia itself cannot be pollinated in any way, and for each type of actinidia (colomict, argument, polygamum) a pollinator of exactly the same type is needed!


Grade Issai declared as self-fertile. I have it, last year there were 18 flowers. But it was cold and rainy. I didn’t pollinate it manually. And there were no berries. As for colomicts - there are no self-fertile ones. But there are berries without men, they are few and they are smaller. The pollen still has fertile grains, but a very small percentage. It is not sufficient for full pollination. As for hybrid varieties and arguts - not for Moscow. Even at the latitude of Kiev, they behave normally - they need enough heat. They ripen in late October.


The first three years of actinidia must be protected from cats. Harmful fat cats tear off and eat roots and leaves. It is necessary to fence with a grid with a radius of 30cm and a height of 1m. Fasten the fence and cover with a grid with a 5cm window.


Kiwi until form and cover like grapes. I have several sleeves on the plant. I do everything to make it easier to bend them to the ground, since kiwi wood is more fragile than grapes. I cover the same way as grapes ... I lay them on the ground and cover them with a rubber slate and then with earth. Kiwi winters under such a shelter is wonderful - for two winters there was no freezing, no warming.

Alexey Sh, Kamyshin, Volgograd region

With the successful selection of a species suitable for winter hardiness, the cultivation of actinidia is not particularly difficult. This liana is durable and does not need protective and preventive treatments with pesticides. To achieve sustainable yields, it is very important to correctly select pollinators. Proper care guarantees the annual receipt of delicious vitamin berries.


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