By: Amy Grant
Fruit companion planting has a number of advantages and companion planting around kiwis is no exception. Companions for kiwi can help the plants grow more vigorously and fruit more prolifically. What plants make the most ideal kiwi plant companions? Read on to learn more.
Companion planting is an age old planting practice that seeks to increase the diversity of the garden. Increased diversity decreases the spread of disease and pest infestation. Pairing symbiotic plants also has other benefits. Companion planting may add nutrients to the soil, harbor beneficial insects, aid in pollination, act as support or trellising, shade tender plants and roots, retard weeds, or help retain water. Some even say that appropriate plant pairings can enhance the flavor of a particular fruit or vegetable.
Companion planting also minimizes maintenance by the gardener. Reduction of plant pests, particularly, eliminates the need for harmful pesticides or other chemicals. The result is a more organically grown garden with healthier fruit and vegetables.
Most kiwis need both male and female plants to produce fruit. They also can be expected to grow to about 15 feet (4.5 m.) long, so they need a strong trellis framework. They thrive in deep, fertile, well-draining soil and in full to partial sun.
Consider the kiwi’s growing requirements mentioned above before choosing kiwi plant companions and opt for those with similar needs. Some kiwi plant companions that fit the bill include:
Kiwi companion plants aren’t just other fruiting varieties, however. Herbs work well in close proximity to kiwis such as:
Flowering plants like geranium, clematis, and ajuga also make ideal companions.
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Read more about Kiwi Plants
Companion planting is the simple process of growing two or more plants in close proximity for mutual benefit. This benefit can take place as pest control, a way to attract beneficial insects, to provide shade, or even as sacrificial plants. Today, we will discuss the best cilantro companion plants to grow in the garden for healthier fruit and vegetables. But first, a bit of background information on the herb cilantro!
Botanically known as Coriandrum sativum, cilantro belongs to the carrot family, Apiaceae. It is grown for its leafy herb greens known as ‘cilantro’ in American English and its seed known as coriander. In other English-speaking nations, both the leaves and the seed are called coriander.
Cilantro is popular in Thai, Indian, Mexican, and Chinese cuisine, is eaten fresh in salads and salsas, can be added to soups, stews, and curries, or used on its own as a herb garnish. Most people love the citrusy-parsley flavor of cilantro leaves, while for others, their genetics predispose them to find cilantro completely unpalatable, with a soapy, metallic flavor. Even if you don’t like the taste, Cilantro is a good companion plant to grow in the garden. The flowers attract beneficial insects and their aromatic foliage keeps pests away from plants you wish to protect.
The first year is a year to make roots growth will be slow as plant becomes established. Fertilizer can be supplied as compost applied as a top dress that will provide all the nutrition needed. If you feel plants are off-color, use an organic liquid fertilizer.
Kiwi benefit from having their roots mulched, it provides a more constant soil temperature for the roots to grow. Mulch can be bark or compost.
Kiwis prefer a good root zone soaking rather than daily misting. Soil being moist to the touch is a good indicator. In winter, protect the root zone with a good application of at least 4-6" of mulch or compost. Winter is the best time to prune, follow the same schedule and technique as for a grape vine. The female needs precise accurate pruning the male can be pruned with less discipline.
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Kiwi can grow in zones 5 to 9, but there are some varieties that tolerate zone 3. Check with your local garden center to see which kiwi suits your zone.
I’ve always planted my kiwi in spring once the last frost has passed. Although there are varieties that can withstand cold temperatures, the small plants aren’t cold tolerant.
Growing kiwi from the seeds in the fruit is time-consuming, but it can be fun especially for children. Kiwi seeds are tiny and to see the size of the plant that grows from them always surprises my sons.
I prefer this method because you need to ensure there is at least one male plant to every eight female plants. Some kiwis are self-fertile, but you get much bigger yields if you have a male plant as well. If you plant a female kiwi, plant a male within 30-50 feet. They don’t have to be right next to each other, but they should be close.
Kiwi trees take a lot of space so be prepared for that. Plant no less than 8 feet apart. They creep, so trail the plant over a fence or trellis that is sturdy, as kiwi will get heavy, especially when fruiting.
You can plant kiwi in pots. Just make sure you plant a male and female as you would in the garden. Use good quality potting mix and place the pot against a trellis or wall to enable it to spread. You’ll get fruit, but not the same volume as a fully grown kiwi planted in the garden.
Kiwis love the sun, but if you live in a hot area, the plants tend to struggle in the peak heat of the day. In that case, plant where the garden gets some partial shade mid-day. You can also use shade cloth on young plants. Otherwise, give growing kiwis full sun.
Free draining soil is a must. When planting, load the soil with plenty of rich, well-rotted organic matter. Kiwis tolerate most pH levels and I’ve never adjusted mine. Ideally, provide kiwis with a pH between 6.0-6.5.
You must check the type of kiwi and its potential spread to determine spacing. I’ve planted some kiwi 8 feet apart and some 18 feet apart based on the size of the adult plant.
Sow nasturtium seeds directly into the ground, planting seeds ½ inch deep and 12 inches apart. You can also get a jump start on growing nasturtium plants by starting seeds indoors 4-6 weeks prior to the last frost and plant seedlings directly in the ground after hardening and after all danger of frost as passed. Seedlings should emerge within 7 to 10 days after planting.
Nasturtium plants are not picky about their soil. They grow exceptionally well in average to poor, well-draining soil with an optimal pH of 6.5. In fact, over-fertile soil can lead nasturtium plants to over-produce leaves and provide minimal blooms.
A common question when growing nasturtium is do they need full sun? It is best to start growing nasturtium in an area with full sun that receives a minimum of 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. Nasturtiums can tolerate partial shade conditions, but they will not necessarily bloom to their full potential when deprived of adequate sunlight.
You may be wondering, how much water do nasturtiums need? The best way to water nasturtium plants is at least once a week or when the soil gets dry to the touch. These vibrant bloomers are remarkably drought-tolerant, but for a more robust plant with plentiful blooms and lush foliage, it is best to keep them hydrated and to pinch off any spent leaves and flowers to keep them looking in prime shape.
All Natural Raised Bed & Potting Mix
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Now that you know all the ways that corn and its companions can help each other thrive, you’re one step closer to enjoying a garden with few issues and plenty of fruit.
Have you ever intentionally planted companions with your maize? Send us your tips, tricks, or questions below!
And don’t forget to check out more of our companion planting guides next:
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Laura Melchor grew up helping her mom in the garden in Montana, and as an adult she’s brought her cold-weather gardening skills with her to her home in Alaska. She’s especially proud of the flowerbeds she and her three-year-old son built with rocks dug up from their little Alaska homestead. As a freelance writer, she contributes to several websites and blogs across the web. Laura also writes novels and holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.