Growing grapes in containers do not have to be difficult. Even though it will need slight maintenance and care, the entire process is not complicated at all.
Naturally, grapes are grown in long rows in a wide field, baked perfectly by the sun in many regions. That is why many novice gardeners assume that it is impossible to grow them in a narrow space or even in a pot.
The good news is that this assumption is not entirely true. With a slight pruning and planning, it is definitely possible to cultivate grapes in containers. Check out the following information for the quick guidelines.
1. Basic Requirements for Growing Grapes in Containers
Grapes typically thrive properly in USDA Zones 3 to 10. When it is considered moderately difficult to grow, you may find growing these fruits rewarding in the end.
Generally, you will need a very big container like half of a wine barrel or a toy tub to grow grapes. Good quality soil is also important to make sure the plants thrive perfectly.
A lot of water and a generous amount of fertilization are also necessary to let your grapes produce well after several years of growth.
Moreover, growing grapes in containers should be followed by a good option of position. You have to pick a location that is dry, warm, and sunny for the plants.
Six hours of sunlight for the least are important to make your grapes do well. However, it will be fine if the location receives shade in the afternoon as long as the minimum light requirement is met.
When growing grapes in wine barrels or other containers, you should make sure that the plant’s location is not damp and shady.
You had better locate these plants in a windier spot that has good air circulation to avoid fungal diseases. Besides, your grapes prefer such an environment around them too.
2. Grape Varieties to Select for Container Growing
Now that you are interested in growing grapes in containers, go on with choosing your favorite varieties before planting one.
Depending on the variety that you choose, your grapes can stand the climate of particular regions than others.
That is why it is important to pick a grape variety that is bred to endure the climate of your place. This way the chance of success will be better.
Some hardier varieties like Niagra, Canadice, Bluebell, Concord, and Delaware may make a great option for many regions.
If you are interested in growing grapes in containers for making jelly, Concord can be a perfect variety to pick.
Several grape varieties are seedless, making them more favorable for many growers. However, most of them will take around two years until producing delicate fruits.
Red Flame, Remaley Green, Lakemont, and Himrod are some varieties of grapes that take two hours of growth to generate fruits. Meanwhile, Vanessa Red types may require three years to produce.
The quickest choice will be Golden Muscat since this grape variety is capable to mature and generate fruits after a year.
Fortunately, growing grapes in containers can be easy since most varieties will work well in pots. Concord is specially cultivated well in a pot.
Sieger-rebe can be an excellent option as well. This grape variety can even grow properly in a tub. If you want to get a firm, sweet produces, Muscat Hamburg will make a nice choice.
You can also attempt to grow Buckland Sweetwater since this grape variety comes with sugary fruits and are capable to keep long.
However, if you want to avoid the hassle of training a grapevine in a container, growing a dwarf variety such as pixie will be a lot more practical.
3. Picking the Right Pot to Grow Grapes
Selecting the right pot is important when you are interested in growing grapes in containers. It is recommended to pick a big and sturdy one that is capable to accommodate this vigorous vine.
Growing grapes in a 5-gallon bucket is probably not a bad idea if you opt for dwarf varieties. For the common cultivars, you may need a 15-20 gallon container.
The container should be at least 40-45 centimeters deep and 18-24 inches wide for sufficient spaces. However, you can begin with a smaller sized pot. Then, repot your grapes in a bigger one once fully established.
While there are numerous container types to choose from, keep in mind that not all of them will provide the optical environment for your grapevines.
A terracotta pot may look attractive, but growing grapes in containers like this is a bit risky since it tends to leech out the water.
This kind of pot is often heavy and fragile. Consequently, it will not be a good choice if you consider moving your grapes outdoors or indoors when needed.
On the other hand, a plastic container offers a lightweight and durable alternative for terracotta pots. It will not leech out your plant’s water as well.
Picking a light-colored plastic pot will be perfect for growing grapes in containers. Just make sure that your container comes with adequate drainage holes to prevent water collection.
4. How to Grow Grapes in Containers or Pots
Now, you already know a grape variety to grow and a good container to let it thrive successfully. Therefore, let us start preparing to nurture this vine!
Before anything else, you should first prepare a good quality potting mix for growing your grapes in containers.
When reading some tips on how to grow grapes successfully, chances are you have known that these plants prefer well-drained soil.
However, it is not recommended to utilize soils in your backyard even though they seem loamy. The reason is that garden earth is typically made up of clay or too sandy to hold on to moisture.
Moreover, garden soil may also contain a lot of fungi, bacteria, and viruses that can lead to various diseases to your grapes.
Alternatively, buy a high-quality soil mix for growing grapes in containers. A nearby local nursery must have a good potting mixture consisting of necessary nutrients for your plants.
Good potting mix will contain equal fractions of sterile soil, peat moss, compost, vermiculite, and perlite for more excellent water retention.
Growing Grapes from Seeds
Even though grapes are ideally grown from healthy cuttings, you can still cultivate them by using seeds.
You can start with a tiny container that is approximately 8 centimeters tall and wide. Once the pot is ready, fill it with potting mix and put two seeds of grapes at the center. Do not forget to space them 3 centimeters apart.
When growing grapes in containers from seeds, you have to put the container inside a plastic bag after covering the seeds with enough soil. Then, store the wrapped pot in the refrigerator for about 30 to 90 days.
Make sure to keep the temperature below 40 degrees and do not let the seeds frozen. Take the container away from the fridge for direct exposure to sunlight.
Until the seeds germinate, you should maintain the soil damp but not too wet. The seedling is ready to move into a bigger pot when they are around 8 centimeters tall.
Keep your young grapes in a shady spot that is protected from rain and wind for 10 to 15 days prior to moving them in a permanent area in the garden.
Growing Grapes from Cuttings
If you do not want to wait for so long to enjoy the grapes, consider growing grapes in containers from cuttings. It is the best method to save several months compared to start from seeds.
You can start cultivating grapes from cuttings around October to March. It is possible to get them from pruned canes that are 30–45 centimeters long and already have around three to four nodes growing on them.
Then, make a 45-degree cut at the pinnacle to defend the cuttings and encourage growth. You should trim it straightly at the bottom for water absorption too.
After that, growing grapes in containers should be performed by planting the cane deep into the soil. Do not forget to maintain one of the nodes exposed above the surface. Water them properly until it streams via the drainage holes.
5. How to Take Care of Grapevines in Pots
Maintain the health of your grapes by watering them two to three days a week. Make sure that the soil is moist but not too damp.
You should never shower the vines if your fingers get wet once contact the soil. Moreover, do not forget to provide the grapes with a stake to support them.
When growing grapes in containers, you should tie the stem of your vines to the stake firmly. Do it carefully since the process may injure the plants.
Using a grape trellis that is made of plastic or wood makes a good idea since this vine will like to grow on it.
Besides, keep in mind that too much fertilizer may hurt your grapevines. If you want to produce crops, consider avoiding any plant food.
However, if you are growing grapes in containers for decoration purposes only, using 10-10-10 fertilizer will be a nice option.
Simply remove several inches of the soil surface and replace it with a layer of standard compost or mature manure.
Pollination and Pruning
Nearly all grape varieties are self-fertile, so they do not need your intentional moves to generate fruits. Nevertheless, shaking the plants slightly at the time of blooming may make the yield results better.
Furthermore, you may need to nurture two grape plants in a distinctive spot to encourage pollination as well.
Pruning is also necessary when growing grapes in containers. You can practice it by getting rid of any dying or dead foliage and trimming wayward stems by using sharp shears.
To remove a new growth, do it from the lower part of the stem. This practice will help promote growth in the upper fraction of your grapes throughout the cold months.
However, you do not need to prune your grapes as soon as they grow a little. Several months after planting until late of the growing season, it is not suggested to perform pruning.
You better let your grapevines grow freely and be established properly in the container. This will help the plants to formulate a sturdy root system.
Overwintering and Mulching
If your region has such ruthless winters, it is essential to protect the plants. To do so, you need to remove the dormant grapevines from its support and begin to store them indoors.
While growing grapes in containers during harsh winters, you should decrease watering as well. Then, make sure not to apply any fertilizer too throughout this period.
Mulching is another good practice to keep your grapevines healthy. This is especially crucial when you are growing them on the ground.
Take advantage of wood shavings, coconut husk, pine needles, or moss to mulch the grapevines. This practice is useful in preventing extreme water evaporation from the soil. Besides, it can help to protect roots from the changeability of temperatures.
Potential Diseases and Pests
Growing grapes in containers may require you to deal with fungal diseases like powdery mildew and black spots.
These diseases can infest your grape plants in warm and dry weather. When it comes to pests, you may need to be aware of usual garden insects such as aphids.
Moreover, you should keep an eye on caterpillars, moths, and Japanese beetles since they can attack your grapevines as well.
6. Harvesting and Processing Grape Fruits
If you are growing grapes as a tree, there is no need to wonder about when the best time to harvest your crops.
However, if you are growing grapes in containers to produce fruits, keep in mind that the harvest time can be performed when your plant is minimally two to three years old.
In general, grapes will ripen anytime between at the end of August to early November. Nevertheless, the exact estimation may depend on the variety and the place where you grow them.
To conclude, if your garden receives at least six hours of daily sunlight, growing grapes in containers is highly recommended. Doing so will let you experience the delight of consuming your own fresh produce at home!