Issai Kiwi questions

Asked February 28, 2013, 1:15 PM EST

I have an Issai kiwi plant that I've had in a pot for about 8 years. It hasn't produced fruit yet, but that's not my question. I now have a place to plant it out of the pot but I've read that they don't do well when their roots are disturbed--is this true? Also, I'm wondering how long they produce (I've read 60 years!?). Would it be better to start over with a new plant? Is it possible to grow one from a cutting? Thank you!!

Multnomah County Oregon

1 Response

Thank you for asking about your Kiwi plant. These are a vigorous plant and have been known to live a long time, with reports of over 50 years. The root system is large and somewhat shallow, so transplanting mature vines, or disturbing the roots around the trunk, is something to avoid. You'll find information about grafting and rooting cuttings if you'd like to try it, though it isn't easy or reliable.
A healthy plant from a reputable nursery is the easiest way to get off to a strong start toward having fruit. But, that doesn't mean your potted one will fail. What do the roots look like? Are they tightly wrapped, "root-bound"? Sometimes you can cut off circling roots when transplanting so that new roots grow and will spread out and form a healthy pattern. Other times re-shaping the root-ball doesn't work. There isn't a sure-thing to recommend, so it comes down to your judgement based on your specific plant.
Here is an OSU Extension article, "New Kiwi Variety Grows Well in Oregon" http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/node/1064. It includes a link to "Growing Kiwi Fruit" PNW507, which includes advice for commercial and homeowner-growers.