Mini kiwi: planting, harvesting and pruning in autumn

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:15 pm

It is easy to grow, very hardy and gives us wonderful aromatic fruit. No question, the list of benefits of our mini kiwi is very long! When autumn arrives, the first fruits ripen and sweeten the cool rainy days. In order for your mini kiwi to also thrive in the best possible way and give you a rich harvest, it needs to be pruned regularly. In this article we will give you a nice tutorial that will make pruning and pruning a breeze.

Planting and pruning mini kiwi at the right time.

Climbing mini-kiwi tends to sprawl, so pruning is necessary primarily to slow its growth. In addition, pruning the shoots ensures that the harvest is as abundant as possible, as the plant can put its energy into the fruit. Generally, the mini kiwi is very tolerant of pruning and you can also thin it out and shorten it in the summer if necessary.

Mini kiwi: planting, harvesting and pruning in autumn

For the best possible growth, our mini kiwi should be subjected to educational pruning immediately after planting. We recommend planting in late summer or fall, as it tolerates the pruning better at this time and still has enough time to root before the cold season. In the spring, on the contrary, it tends to bleed very much.

The method of pruning depends on whether you are going to trellis or pergola the mini kiwi. During the first 2 to 3 years of growth of very young plants, the focus is mainly on pruning, because the mini kiwi needs so long to form bearing fruit shoots. You should also take into account that our mini kiwi reaches heights of 2 to 6 meters, so in both cases – whether trellis or pergola – the framework must be nice and stable.

Older plants then require pruning in early September and then again later after harvest time in November.

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Mini kiwi: planting, harvesting and pruning in autumn
Mini kiwis form long shoots, which should be shortened.

Pruning of young plants

On the pergola

If you let your mini kiwi grow high on a pergola or similar, you will have less work with pruning. However, this means that the yield will also be less abundant than on a trellis. However, if you want to grow the mini kiwi not only for its fruit, but also to provide shade and enjoy its beautiful foliage, there is nothing to be said against cultivating it on the pergola.

When planting, simply cut away the weaker main shoots and direct the strong remaining 2 to 3 main shoots in as different directions as possible, so that the plant does not hinder itself in growth. In the following, depending on how dense and fast your mini kiwi is growing, you will have to thin out and prune back again and again. Try to shorten the older shoots later and leave the younger ones, because that’s where the fruit is. This procedure is called “fruiting wood rotation”.

On the trellis

If you want to harvest as generously as possible, you should opt for cultivation on a trellis. In addition, the mini kiwi is generally much easier to cut back. Let’s start with the preparation: 4 horizontal wires are attached to the trellis. The lowest one at a height of 30 to 40 cm, the top one at a height of about 150 cm. The two remaining wires you attach evenly distributed between them.

After planting the mini kiwi, leave only one main shoot, shorten it to about 50 to 60 cm and fasten it vertically (e.g. with soft string).

In the following time, an extension is formed, which grows to the top of the trellis. The end of this shoot, in turn, you cut off 15 cm above.

The resulting side shoots are now the leading shoots and are attached to the trellis wires horizontally to the left and right; leave only the 1 or 2 strongest ones per side, the rest you can and should remove with a clear conscience. According to this principle, you can now let the plant grow further and educate it until a total of 4 lateral leading shoots have formed. These leading shoots in turn will later form the high-yielding fruit shoots.

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Pruning in September

As we already know, pruning already fruiting plants in September can increase the harvest. The ideal time for this is at the beginning of the month, before the first mini-kiwifruit ripen. Everything else is really very simple: leave the last 4 to 5 leaves behind the fruit on the fruit shoots, cut off the rest – done!

Another pruning after harvest time will ensure that you can enjoy many fruits again the following year. Now shorten the fruit shoots to 1 or 2 buds and also cut the horizontal leading shoots and the vertically growing main shoot to the desired length. For this pruning, you can also follow the principle of fruiting wood rotation and preferably cut away the older shoots.

Our mini kiwi is very robust when it comes to cold and can withstand temperatures down to -30° Celsius. Nevertheless, it is more than sensible to protect the soil a little from the cold with a layer of mulch now at the latest. In addition, it sprouts again early in the spring, starting in March, and the tender buds can be damaged by late frosts. If you cultivate your mini kiwi in a container – this is also possible – you should wrap it well with a protective fleece and also protect the soil from above with a layer of mulch. The older the plants become, the less the cold generally affects them.

The harvest

Mini kiwis like it nice and warm and sunny to partial shade. If they had enough time to fill up with sun during the summer, we can enjoy the small, green fruits from September and then into November. They are very aromatic and sweet and sour in taste – who can resist?

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As mentioned above, young mini kiwis take up to 3 years to form fruit. However, you should not be put off by this, because the long wait is definitely worth it due to the overall very high yields. A single plant can give you an incredible 20 to 30 kilograms of its fruits after several years! These grow, similar to grapes, in vines. When harvesting, it is best to cut them off whole, otherwise the small fruits are often damaged and it also saves a lot of time.

The skins of the small fruits are green, as is the flesh. When cut open, they look like the commercially available larger kiwis – hence the name. The ripe fruits are about 3 cm long and give slightly when you squeeze them. However, if the weather is very cold and frost is imminent, you can harvest the unripe fruits and let them ripen at home. If you add a few apples, the ripening process will be accelerated.

Mini kiwi: planting, harvesting and pruning in autumn
The mini kiwis are harvested in whole vines.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.