Elisabeth C. Miller Library logo Miller Library Home UW Botanic Gardens Home UW Botanic Gardens Home book graphic

3501 NE 41st Street, Seattle, WA 98195 | (206) 543 0415 | Open: | Library Schedule

Gardening Answers Knowledgebase

Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Pollination, Actinidia

I have two very healthy Kiwi vines, one male and one female. My female plant is flowering profusely right now, but there are no flowers on the male plant. I have had the plants for about 15 years or more and have never had fruit. They do not seem to bloom at the same time. I have just never bothered about it before, but this year I thought I would check out some options.

Any resources regarding hand pollination (both instructions and local suppliers) would be really helpful.


Oregon State University Extension's guide, Growing Kiwifruit by Bernadine Strik (2005), has information about pollination:
"For fruit to be produced, male and female vines must be present in a block and must flower at the same time. Male flowers produce viable pollen for only the first 2 to 3 days after opening. However, female flowers are receptive to pollen for 7 to 9 days after opening, even when the petals have started falling.
"Pollination is extremely important in kiwifruit production. Large fruit contain 1,000 to 1,400 seeds (research on Hayward). If pollination is poor, fruit will have indentations (narrow valleys) on one side or be non-uniform in shape. If you cut through these fruit, you will find no seeds in these areas.
"Kiwifruit flowers are pollinated mainly by insects, although wind may play a minor role. Honey bees are the main pollinator used in kiwifruit vineyards. Kiwifruit flowers do not produce nectar and are relatively unattractive to bees. About three to four hives per acre are needed to adequately pollinate kiwifruit. Place these in the vineyard no sooner than 10 percent bloom of the female vines.
"In some years, you may have no male vines in flower as a result of winter injury to male plants (they are less hardy than the females). In this case, no naturally produced pollen will be available. To get a crop, the females will have to be pollinated artificially. Call your county Extension agent for more information on sources of pollen and methods of artificial pollination."
(Note the section on Hardy Kiwi which are different than Fuzzy Kiwi.)

You might also find this article from The Olympian newspaper (May 16, 2009) of interest. It features kiwi growers Hildegard Hendrickson and 'KiwiBob' Glanzman, and discusses hand pollination, general care, pruning and training.

Date 2018-04-11
Link to this record only (permalink)

Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Washington Park Arboretum, Fothergilla, Polystichum, Hamamelis mollis, Kalmia, Actinidia

I'm thinking of planting the following plants in my garden but would like to see them first. Can you tell me if they are at the Washington Park Arboretum? The plants are: Chinese Witchhazel, Witch Alder, Mountain Laurel, Soft Shield Fern, and Variegated Kiwi Vine.


The Washington Park Arboretum has many examples of Hamamelis mollis, or Chinese witch hazel (unless you meant Corylopsis sinensis or Loropetalum chinense, which also go by the common name 'Chinese witch hazel'). Kalmia latifolia (Mountain laurel) and Fothergilla (but not Fothergilla gardenii, which is Witch alder) are also in the Arboretum. The variegated kiwi, Actinidia kolomikta, used to be grown here at the Center for Urban Horticulture. Soft shield fern, or Polystichum setiferum, may be in the Arboretum, but is not listed, as it is not a woody plant. You can search the Washington Park Arboretum's Living Collections database by the plants' scientific or common names (sometimes it's best to search the scientific name, for clarity). You can search the Arboretum's interactive map and there is also a trail map linked here which provides information on large collections of plants, so you can get a sense of where to find things. You can go to the Graham Visitors Center in the Arboretum and ask for assistance in locating the witch hazels (some are in the Witt Winter Garden, and others are in a grove on the south end of the park) and other plants.

All of these plants grow well in our area. I have a dwarf form of Fothergilla in my garden, and it has been thriving. I have also seen many of the other plants in your list growing happily in private gardens in Seattle. Since you wish to know what they look like, here are several links to additional information with pictures.

Hamamelis mollis picture >

Fothergilla gardenii Picture 1
Picture 2

Kalmia latifolia Picture 1
Picture 2

Actinidia kolomikta Picture 1
Picture 2

Polystichum setiferum Picture 1 (from a local gardener)
Picture 2

Date 2017-05-24
Link to this record only (permalink)

Didn't find an answer to your question? Ask us directly!

Browse keywords

Search Again:

May 31 2018 13:14:08