Sometimes called the Kolomikta VIne, Variegated Kiwi Vine or Ornamental Kiwi, Actinidia kolomikta is a twining climber growing to 6 metres high and nearly as much across. It can be kept smaller and is easy to prune if you want to do that. The plants are either male or female and it is not practical to sex them before sale so your Actinidia will only carry fruit if it is female and if there is a male close enough to be found by a wandering bee. If you want to grow Kiwi fruit we recommend you grow a variety such as Actinidia arguta Issai or Jenny both of which are self -fertile and carry much larger and better-tasting fruit although it does not have the foliage of Actinidia kolomikta. For a climber with more prominent flowers, why not browse the rest of our range of climbing plants
Actinidia kolomikta is a good sized woody climber. It does not form those trunks as thick as a prop forward's thigh that you find with Wisteria, but over time it can produce branches that are a few inches thick. These need support so thought should be given to straining wires or the like before planting. Use strong wire - it will be there for a long time. Choose a sunny wall or fence - the variegation of the leaves is much more pronounced and lasts longer when in the sun.
Actinidia has masses of leaves and so is a good choice for covering eyesores such as ugly brickwork. Perfect on the southern wall of a breeze block garage...!
Young plants need to be protected from cats - they find it as attractive as catmint.
Look out for
Not a lot is the answer. Actinidia is just about disease free and it is the hardiest member of its family. If it has a weakness it can be touched by a late frost as its buds are breaking, but we have one at home that has been happy since 2002. Prune it in winter or very early spring to keep it in shape and to remove any dead wood and crossing branches.
Actinidia kolomikta was first imported into the UK in 1878 from the island of Hokkaido in Japan. It also grows in temperate areas of eastern Russia and "kolomikta" is probably from the region - meaning "mixed colours" - referring to the leaf colouring.