Growing Grapes in Pots from Seed and Cuttings

Introduction to growing grapes in pots/containers

Grapes are a welcome addition to any garden. They can be trained up walls, on a trellis, and need little space if pruned carefully. Grapevines need free-draining soil and plenty of sunlight to ripen properly and will happily grow on any good garden soil and sunny location. Grapevines do surprisingly well in pots and they’re adaptable plants and, properly maintained, require relatively little space. Likely because of the huge wine-growing industry, a massive range of varieties for cold and temperate regions are available. They’re perennial, so there’s no need to re-pot every year and crop yields can be high. In this article we also discuss below topics;

  • Growing Grapes from cuttings
  • Grapes plant care
  • Growing Grapevine indoors
  • Growing Grapes problems
  • Grapes growing tips
  • How to grow a Grapevine indoors
  • How to Grow Grapes from seeds
  • Growing Grapevines in containers

A step by step guide to growing grapes in pots from seeds and cuttings

The best option is to go to a garden center and ask for a plant variety that can grow well in pots and your climate. There are many varieties of Grapevine you can select from. Choosing a variety that is resistant to diseases and can grow well in your zone is essential. Though, you can grow almost any variety in the container but growing a dwarf Grape cultivar like ‘pixie’ can save you from the hassle of training a Grapevine in a pot.

There are mainly two basic types of Grapes; dessert and wine.

Dessert Grapes need to be grown in a greenhouse to ripen properly if planted in a container, grown in a conservatory, and put outdoors in winter. They can be planted outside with the trunk and stems trained inside. Vines are grown this way rarely need extra watering and easy to feed and manage. Grapes do best at about 16°C from early spring. Wine Grapes are grown outdoors, in a warm, sheltered, sunny location, such as a south or southwest-facing wall or fence. Grapevines grow on any soil, and providing it is well-drained.

When planting a row of Grapevines, a south-facing slope is desirable with the rows running north to south. Avoid frost pockets – frosts damage young shoots. Select a variety to suit your climate and soil.

Choose a location for growing grapes in pots

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Location for growing grapes in pots.
Location for growing grapes in pots.

First, choose a location that is sunny, warm, and dry. If your spot receives shade in an afternoon the plant will still do well, but at least 6 hours of sunlight is required. Avoid keeping the plant in wet, shady, and less windy spots with less or no air circulation as it promotes fungal diseases and Grapevine needs good air circulation around it.

Potting soil tips for growing grapes in pots

If you can find loam-based compost and add extra grit for drainage. Alternatively, any potting mix is fine, and just remember to add 1/3 grit for drainage. If you don’t intend to feed through the growing season, then add a few handfuls of slow-release fertilizer. As they’re hungry plants, it’s better to liquid feed on a weekly or bi-monthly basis. Soil structure will break down over time, so it’s very important to add a long-lasting amendment like grit or composted bark. Don’t use heavy garden soil when growing Grapes in pots. Instead, use a light potting mix that is loose, rich in organic matter, and importantly drains well.

Choose a large and very sturdy pot for growing grapes

For growing Grapes in containers, select a large and sturdy container that can support this vigorous vine. A 15-20 gallon pot that is at least 16-18 inches deep and about 18-24 inches wide is sufficient. Start with a smaller sized pot and repot the plant in a larger one.

The process of growing grapes in pots from seed

  • First, select a container that holds between 15 to 20 gallons of potting mix. Grapevines have roots that extend 8 or 10 feet out, so the bigger the pot, the better. Grapevines’ growth is based largely on the size of the root system. In pots, the root systems are smaller, which means the Grapes plants and harvests are smaller, as well. These pots ensure adequate room for Grapevine’s long roots.
  • Buy heavy pots made from glazed pottery, clay, and wood, over flimsy plastic pots. Grapevines are a perennial plant when given proper care will grow for many years. Though, plastic pots crack and break after just a few seasons. Also, Grapevines become heavy, and a light plastic pot might tip over under the weight.
  • Obtain the Grape seeds and once you identify the variety of Grapes you want to grow, get your seeds. You can get them from Grapes you’ve purchased, from a nursery, from yard’s wild Grapevines, or another gardener.
  • Ensure the seeds are viable and examine the seeds to make sure they are healthy and in good condition. Squeeze the seed gently between two fingers and healthy seed is firm to the touch. Look at the seed’s color. In a healthy seed, you will be able to see a pale gray or white endosperm under the seed coat. Put them in water and healthy, viable seeds will sink when placed in water. Discard any seeds that float.
  • Plant the Grape seeds into small, soil-filled pots and make sure you plant them just beneath a ½ inch layer of the soil. Place this pot into a plastic bag and cover it well.
  • Then, refrigerate this pot for at least 30 to 90 days. Make sure you maintain the temperature below 4°C so that it can facilitate the dormancy of the seeds. You will have to make sure that the seeds do not freeze. Next, remove the seeds from the refrigerator and let them come back to room temperature level. Make sure you don’t subject them to direct sunlight as it can cause the seeds to die. Put the Grape seeds into a plastic bag until they start to germinate, after which you can place them in a dry area. While doing this, make sure you keep the soil inside the pot moist and are not over-watered.
  • Transfer the seeds in separate pots after the Grape plants have grown up to be at least around 8cm. Put these pots in a shady and covered spot that will protect them from harsh wind and rain. Keep them like this for 10 to 15 days and then move the plant to a permanent location in the backyard. Select the best cultivar that will suit the area and atmosphere. Space the Grape plants 7 to 8 feet away from each other, this is very necessary.

Gardening tips for germinating grape seed

  • Use the following steps to help improve the chances of success at germinating grape seed.
  • Refrigerate the grape seed. Storing the Grape seed at a temperature of 40F for 90 to 120 days, immediately followed by two days at a warm temperature of 85 to 90F can increase your chances of success.
  • Sterilize the surface of the seeds using a five to one ratio of bleach to water with a drop of dish detergent. Soak the Grape seeds and solution in a sealed dish for 15 minutes.
  • Soak the seeds in distilled water for 24 hours and place the seeds in Scotch pots with dry soil.
  • Once seedlings have grown after 12 to 14 days, put them under strong lights.
  • After about 5 weeks, replant the seedlings in gallon pots and water them regularly.

The process and steps of growing grapes from cuttings

Grapevine cuttings are planted before buds begin to swell in spring. Add 2 inches of compost to the planting area and then incorporate it deeply into the soil. Compost amends both heavy clay soil and sandy soil to develop its structure. Grapes thrive in soil that is loose and well-draining. In compacted soils, dig or loosen the soil about 2 feet below the surface for best results. If soil is too compacted, and use a raised bed filled with composted soil. Dig a planting hole as wide and deep as the plant roots, spreading them out as you cover it with soil. Plant 2 cutting per site to ensure success. If cuttings take root and grow, prune the weaker one back below ground.

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To grow Grapes from cuttings, wait until vines that are known to be good producers go dormant in late fall or winter season. Then find some 6-foot-long, 1-year-old shoots. Make cuttings about 12 to 18-inches long, each with 4 buds. Take more cuttings than you need, because some probably won’t grow and start cutting at the base of the shoots, about 1 1/2-inches above a bud, and go up.  Cut the bottom of the vine cuttings flat and cut the tops at an angle. This will help you keep track of which end is the base because you should plant the flat end in the ground.

Water regularly and deeply to maintain the soil slightly moist but avoid overwatering. Soggy and damp soil can be detrimental to the plant. Dip the base (the flat end) of each cutting in rooting hormone to encourage plant roots to grow. Insert the cuttings into the ground as soon as possible and leave only one bud per cutting above the soil and keep the soil moist. Some cuttings must start growing the next spring. Cuttings rooted in soil or water can take up to 3 years to produce Grapes.

Prune the grapevine

First, prune the Grapevine in the early spring before new leaf buds appear. Then, the new green vines are still young and flexible; you can train it to grow on a trellis. With good pruning maintenance, it’ll stay quite contained and beautiful in small space.

This is where you can get creative and select to grow the vine along a wall, espaliered or in a trellis or obelisk. Look for something to suit a specific space. Be careful not to over prune and cut out branches after spring leafing as you’ll likely cut off the young flowers that are soon to be Grapes. The Grapevine is very easy to recognize, the leaves are very similar in shape to the maple leaf. The leaves hang upside down from the Grapevines.

Grapes pests and diseases

There are many Grapes diseases to be vigilant and prepared for treating Grapevine problems, including both fungal and bacterial diseases.

Fungal diseases – The common diseases of Grapes are fungal. Much of these are controlled with good cultural control and old plant material can harbor the fungal spores in the soil even over the winter, so it is essential to clean up around the vines after pruning. Black spot, powdery mildew, and anthracnose are just a few of the fungal diseases. The fungus reduces the plant’s effectiveness at gathering solar energy and cause leaf loss.

Bacterial diseases – Bacterial Grapevine diseases are common in the plants. Where Grape vines are growing in an orchard situation, the disease can be devastating as it passes from vine to vine. The home gardener is unlikely to experience this kind of widespread damage. Crown gall disease in Grapevines affects the plant roots and lower stems. Then, the disease causes black galls and requires soil fumigation or solarization to kill the bacteria.

Sucking insects, such as aphids, will attack the terminal parts of the Grape plant. Horticultural oils and insecticidal soaps, or neem oil, can be effective in combating common these types of insects. Boring insects can seriously harm the health of Grapevine as well. Treating Grapevine problems of this sort requires a pesticide registered for use on edible plants.

Harvesting method of grapes

You know that Grapes are ready to harvest and ripe when they’re rich in color, juicy, full-flavored, plump, and easily crushed. Ripe Grapes are tightly attached to the plant stem. And make sure you sample different Grapes from each cluster. Remember that Grapes don’t continue to ripen once you pick them from the Grapevine.

If you find that your Grapes aren’t ripening, try to remove or pinch backs some of the foliage which will let in more sunlight as well as improve air circulation.

Commonly asked questions about growing grapes in pots/containers

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Questions about growing grapes.
Questions about growing grapes.
How much time does it take to grow a Grapevine?

Your backyard Grapevine can take up to about 3 years to produce viable Grapes, but that timeline is based on several environmental factors as well as how you care for the plant. Sunlight and well-drained soil are key to Grapefruit production, as is proper pruning.

How often do you need to water Grapes?

Young Grapes need about 1/2 to 1 inch of water per week, depending on rainfall, for the first two years during the growing season. When watering young Grapevines, saturate the root zone.

How much time does it take to grow Grapes from seed?

Grape seeds take between 2 to 8 weeks to sprout.

How many Grapes will one plant produce?

A single Grapevine will produce up to 20 pounds of Grapes per year and a properly maintained Grape plant could last up to 40 years.

How do I know when my Grapes are ready to pick?

Grapes will not continue ripening once picked from the Grapevine. Test a few to see if they are to liking before harvesting, usually in late summer or early fall. Grapes are ripe and ready to harvest when they are rich in color, juicy, full-flavored, simply crushed but not shriveled, and plump.

Why are some of my Grapes turning brown?

Black rot disease caused by the fungus Guignardia bidwelli overwinters in infected fruit and canes that are on the ground or that remain on the vine. The fungus produces spores in the diseased tissue and then begins to infect Grapevines during spring rains. The development of infection is favored by warm and humid weather.

How do you increase the size of Grapes?

Give Grapes a chance to grow very larger and to get more plant nutrients and water per Grape by shortening the cluster. Take off the bottom half of the cluster, leaving 4 to 5 side branches near the top. While these branches grow sideways from the cluster’s main stem, they have room to hold fruit without crowding.

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