I live in Lincoln, Ne. Do I need to bring them indoors for the winter, and if so, how do I keep them alive? They were really growing nicely outside, but with freezing temps not too far off, I dug them up and potted them using good potting soil, but now they are losing all their leaves. Should I have left them outdoors?
I Have a Male and a Female Kiwi Plant
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
If they are hardy kiwi, they can stay outside and will be happier outside. Regardless of whether they are inside or outside, they will lose their leaves as they are now going dormant for the winter.
For most plants, I would have said that you did not help them by digging them up, but for hardy kiwis, you likely did them a favor. Most hardy kiwis do not survive the first year due to the fact that their roots are very susceptible to root rot the first winter. By digging them up, you have put them in a container where the drainage will be excellent and they should be fine. Place them in a sheltered location outside, like near a foundation or wall and cover the pots with leaves or straw.
Interesting note, when you replant them in the spring (and they will not need to be dug up again after this first winter), do not plant the male next to the female. Eventually, the roots of the female will poison the male.
If it is a tropical kiwi, they will need to come indoors for the winter.