Can You Grow Kiwi in Michigan

Can You Grow Kiwi in Michigan

When it comes to growing kiwi, the first thing that often comes to mind is its origin in the warm climates of New Zealand. However, gardening enthusiasts in Michigan might wonder if it’s possible to cultivate this exotic fruit in their colder climate.

Understanding Kiwi Plants

What Are Kiwi Plants?

Kiwi plants, scientifically known as Actinidia deliciosa, are woody vines that produce the delicious and nutritious kiwi fruit. These plants are known for their heart-shaped leaves and twining growth habit.

Varieties of Kiwi

There are different kiwi varieties available, with the most common being the fuzzy kiwi (Actinidia deliciosa) and the hardy kiwi (Actinidia arguta). The fuzzy kiwi is larger and has a fuzzy brown skin, while the hardy kiwi is smaller, smoother, and can withstand colder temperatures.

Can Kiwi Grow in Michigan?

Climatic Challenges

Michigan’s climate poses a challenge for growing kiwi due to its cold winters and short growing season. Kiwi plants thrive in regions with a subtropical climate, which is quite different from the temperate climate of Michigan.

Overcoming the Cold

While Michigan’s climate might not be ideal, it’s not impossible to grow kiwi in the state. Hardy kiwi varieties, like Actinidia arguta, are better suited for colder climates. These varieties can withstand winter temperatures and have a shorter growing season, making them more adaptable to Michigan’s conditions.

Tips for Growing Kiwi in Michigan

Choosing the Right Variety

Opt for hardy kiwi varieties such as ‘Anna’, ‘Michigan State’, and ‘Geneva’. These varieties are bred to withstand colder temperatures and have a better chance of thriving in Michigan.

Sunlight and Location

Kiwi plants require full sun to produce fruit. Choose a sunny location with well-draining soil to plant your kiwi vines. South-facing slopes can be ideal for maximizing sun exposure.

Proper Support

Kiwi plants are vigorous climbers that need sturdy support structures. Trellises or arbors are essential to ensure the vines have proper support as they grow and produce fruit.

Pruning and Maintenance

Regular pruning is crucial to manage the growth of kiwi vines and promote fruit production. Prune during the dormant season to remove dead or overgrown branches.

Fertilization and Watering

Fertilize your kiwi plants in the spring and early summer to provide essential nutrients. Keep the soil consistently moist, especially during the growing season.


While growing kiwi in Michigan presents its challenges, it is indeed possible, especially when opting for hardy kiwi varieties. By selecting the right kiwi type, providing ample sunlight, proper support, and diligent care, you can cultivate these exotic fruits even in a colder climate.

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