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29 August 2014

Actinidia Kolomikta - Ideal for a Sunny Wall

If you are seeking an attractive climbing plant for a sunny position in your garden then you may be interested in Actinidia kolomikta. This is an average to fast-growing deciduous climber with attractive foliage, reaching up to 4 - 8m in height and spread in 5 - 10 years.

It should be planted in full sun, preferably in a sheltered spot, in fertile, well-drained soil with the planting hole backfilled with soil mixed with peat substitute and a suitable fertiliser. It is considered hardy but may need winter protection in some areas.

Actinidia kolomikta is grown mainly for its heart-shaped, deeply veined leaves which have splashes of pink and white on the tips, as if they've been dipped in paint. The variegation appears mostly on the upper-most sections of the plant and is often not apparent on young plants. This unusual foliage looks great against a sunny, sheltered wall. As a bonus it also has small, cup-shaped, fragrant white flowers which appear in early summer, with male and female on separate plants.

The vines can be kept under control by pruning in early spring, before new growth appears. To start with remove any diseased, crossing or over-crowded stems, after which established plants should have the previous year’s growth cut back by about half its length, cutting back to an outward-facing bud. Overgrown plants can be rejuvenated by cutting back the mass of tangled growth with shears, then pruning the stems back to a healthy bud near to the main framework of branches. Kolomikta vines even respond to such drastic pruning as removing some of the main framework of branches at this time of the year to a younger sideshoot lower down on the climber.

It can be propogated by seed, grafting, layering or by softwood cuttings.
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