Growing Grape Vines at Home

Growing Grape Vines at Home

Last Updated on January 31, 2021 by Paul Guzman

Growing Grape Vines at Home.  A list of Grape Vines you can grow in your backyard in and around the southwest.  Most grapevines tolerate poor soils but will do better with good loamy well-drained soils.  Caliche or hard types soils are not ideal for the growing of grapevines.

How to Grow Grapes at home

Most varieties of grapevines will grow almost anywhere in the U.S.  When is the best time to plant them?  Early spring is best. However, you can plant them at any time of the year.

A list of Wine Grapes (Vinifera)

Zinfandel Grape
Vitis vinifera ‘Zinfandel’
Merlot Grape
Vitis vinifera ‘Merlot’
Compact Oregon Grape Holly
Mahonia aquifolium ‘Compacta’
Chardonnay Grape
Vitis vinifera ‘Chardonnay’
Vitis vinifera ‘Flame Seedless’
Chambourcin Blue-Purple Wine Grape

A list of wine grapes suitable for eating (Vitis Vinifera)

‘Ruby Seedless’
Oregon Grape Holly
Mahonia aquifolium
Pinot Noir Grape (eating or making wine)
Vitis vinifera ‘Pinot Noir’ Eating or Wine Grape
Flame Seedless Grape
Thompson Seedless Grape
Niagara Grape
Vitis labrusca ‘Niagara’ Excellent Fruit for Juicing

Common problems with Grape Vines

The grape leafhopper is a problem throughout the U.S.  These insects are very small about 1/8th of an inch long and they feed on the lower surface of the foliage. Spraying with a good systemic insecticide will help but you should also spray your grapevines with Horticulture oil in late winter to prevent the insect larvae eggs from hatching.  Keeping your vines clear of grass, rocks and weeds will also help keep insects from invading your plants. A good alternative to harsh chemicals is to use insecticidal soaps.

Powdery Mildew is a fungus that will attack vines.  It’s usually caused by too much water over-spray from sprinklers and over-crowding of plants.  Prune out early in the season and heavily during the non-growing seasons. Remember to clean your pruning tools with soapy water and or alcohol to prevent the spreading of any type of fungus or disease.

Learn more about insects and diseases on plants.

The best way to prevent birds from eating your grapes is to use good tree/vine netting.  You can get netting at your local nursery store.  Read this article on “How to keep birds away from your fruit trees“.

Faux Owls and other ornamental birds of prey will work to a certain degree.  Moving them around at least once per week will work better.

Use good soil for your Grape Vines

Growing Grape Vines at Home
Grapevines Hanging from a trellis in the backyard.

As mentioned earlier do not plant your soil in hard (caliche) soil as they will have a hard time growing.  Good loamy composted soil with good drainage is recommended.

We recommend digging 2 ft. deep and twice the size of the root ball and backfill with good organic composted soil. It’s best to mix your native soil or use topsoil if you have caliche dirt with the composted soil about a 50/50 mixture ratio.

The spacing requirement if growing Grape Vines at Home.  Space your vines about 5-6 ft.  apart. This will give you plenty of room to prune and harvest your grapes when they are ready.

Water and fertilizer

Water is essential for good growth and lots of grapes.  Watering should be done every day for about 3 weeks after initial planting.  Once that period is over It is best to water every other day on a good drip system about 20 minutes each time.  Always wait at least 3 weeks before fertilizing your vines.

Where to place your Grapevines?

Plant your vines in full sun, however, if you live in hotter type climates they can be planted in the early morning sun and afternoon shade.  But they will need at least 6 hrs of full sun during the growing season.  Again, good well-composted soil will work well.  Grapevines do not like alkaline soil so it would best to test your soil to ensure it is not alkaline.

My recommendation is to call your local extension agency and ask if they can test your soil.  Soil testers found in local nurseries do work, however, most folks only test one small section of land.  You should test anywhere from 5 ft. to 10 ft of spread.  Or test the soil at the exact same spot where you will plant your grapevines.  Did you know grapevines like tomatoes will do be better in slightly acidic soil?

Your grapevine test should register about 5.5 through 7 anything higher and it’s too alkaline.  The best way to remedy high alkaline soil is to use good organic composted soil.  Do NOT over-think it…good soil will almost always register a 7 or slightly lower which is neutral.

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If your foliage is yellow or chlorotic you will need iron, if it does not produce blooms it needs phosphorous, not enough stems or growth it needs potash.  Nitrogen can also green up your plants but too strong and the root system might get burned straight nitrogen should only be used after your plant is established.

Setup a good Vine Support

For a row of vines you will need support it’s best to build a trellis or purchase one at your local nursery.  You can also build a good wire fence support.

Best Eating Grapes

The Flame Seedless Grapes are one of the best eating grapes to purchase.  They produce a medium-sized cluster of grapes.  It does well in the Southwest and will ripen early in the season somewhere about mid-summer.

The Thompson Seedless Grape Vine.  It is another all-time favorite grapevine and a good eating rape pick them right off the stem rinse and enjoy.

This post has some great tips on growing your own grapevines.  The book below goes into detail on growing your own homegrown organic grapevines.  “I highly recommend it”…Paul Guzman.

Growing Grape Vines at Home
Tom Powers explains everything about Growing Grape Vines at Home: How to design and build a vineyard, how to select grapes for each region, how to maximize yield using organic maintenance techniques, how to build a trellis, how to harvest at peak flavor.

Growing Grape Vines at Home

Fast-growing vines for fences. 

The Coral Vine Plant

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  1. Reply

    I have bought a grape vine the grapes will be black I have a wooden half barrel I have filled it wth compost put plenty of stones in the bottom it does not get much sun where it is but I have nowhere else to put it I soaked it for 3 hrs it is about 2 foot tall with green growth and leaves for the top half will it do any good in the conditions I have givern it does it need feeding if so with what ?

    1. Reply

      Grapevines need at least 6 hrs. of sunlight. Anything less than that and it will have a hard time producing fruit. Good filtered sunlight is ok. Soaking it for 3 hrs. is too much water. In a container, you should water almost daily about 4-6 gallons is good. It is important that your wooden half-barrel drain well if not the plant could develop root rot.

      The plant will look good and green but again probably not much of harvest until it gets more sunlight. It is best to use a trellis or some type of fencing for grapevines to hang-over so that you can harvest grapes more easily. Two stake poles with wire or rope across the barrel will work.

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