Container grown grapes are a great way to enjoy fresh, juicy grape juice without having to wait for it to ripen or travel far from your home. You don’t have to worry about them rotting either since they will stay good for years if kept cool and dry. They are also a very versatile crop. You can use them in salads, soups, desserts, and even cocktails!
If you’re looking for some tips on planting container grapes, then read on…
Grapes planted in containers need lots of space and plenty of water. If you plant too many grapes at once they may not all get enough sunlight to develop properly so it’s best to start with one or two plants per pot.
Planting Container Grapes In Pots
The first thing you’ll want to do is decide where you’d like to place your container grapes. There are several options available such as hanging baskets, raised beds, or planters. Once you’ve decided on what type of container you would like to plant your grapes in, it’s time to choose the right size.
If you want to grow a single grapevine, you’ll need a 5 gallon pail or larger. For a single vine in a pot, make sure you choose one that’s at least 12 inches in diameter. For multiple vines, choose a container that’s 18 inches in diameter or larger.
It’s best to start small and then transfer to a larger pot later once the vine starts getting rootbound rather than starting out with a really big pot from the beginning.
Choose a pot that has plenty of drainage holes in the bottom and is made of a non-reactive material such as clay, plastic, or wood. Do not use a container that has a narrow base since this could cause moisture problems for the vine.
You will also need to choose a good quality potting mix that’s specifically designed for grapes. You can usually find this at your local garden center or nursery.
When your container and potting soil are ready, gently knock the root ball out of the basket or container it’s currently in. This is so you can trim off any broken or dead roots before planting it in the new container. Next, make a hole in the center of your pot just big enough for the root ball to fit in with plenty of room all the way around for soil.
Gently lower the root ball into the hole and spread out the roots as they were previously growing. Fill in around the root ball with potting soil and tamp down gently but be careful not to pack it too tightly. This is just a general guideline for planting, there are no set rules, just do the best you can. That’s about it, in a few weeks you’ll notice new growth starting and in a few months you should have a nice little vine growing in your new container.
Watering & Feeding Container Grapes
The pot you choose should have a drainage hole in the bottom and be made of a material that will promote good drainage. Be careful not to over water, but make sure soil is damp before watering again. Container plants dry out quicker than those in the ground so check them more often.
Fertilize every couple of weeks with a general purpose fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and high in potash and phosphorous. Follow the directions on the package for how much and how often to feed.
Sunlight & Temperature
Grapes like it a little on the warm side. They do not like cold drafts! An east or west facing window is a good spot for your new vine.
If this isn’t an option, an area exposed to direct sunlight for several hours a day would be your next choice. Northern or heavily shaded areas should be avoided.
Pruning Container Grapes
Container grown grapevines need to be pruned on a regular basis to ensure proper growth and fruit production. Pruning also ensures that the plant uses its resources towards producing fruit and flowers and not growing more leaves which will just result in weak grapes. Be sure to leave four canes (new stems) at the time of planting.
These canes will produce the flowers that eventually become grapes. When pruning, only cut back to healthy wood and never cut back to a bud unless you want that branch to bear fruit that year. If you do this, be sure to fertilize well.
Pests & Diseases
Container grown grapes are prone to the same pests and diseases as those in the ground so keep an eye out for anything unusual like wilting, spotting or insects. Keeping your plant free of pests and disease can be as simple as throwing a bit of diatomaceous earth around the base of the plant or planting it in a pot with good drainage. Always keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary just in case you spot a problem before it gets too bad.
Harvest & Storage
Harvest container grown grapes when they reach full size, but before the first hard frost. Pick them by hand and rinse gently. They can be eaten as is or you can make some homemade grape jelly right in your own kitchen.
For long-term storage, grapes should be put into a container and refrigerated. Do not wash first since the dusting of powdery “bloom” kept the fruit from coming in direct contact with the air in the first place. They will keep for about a week.
Sources & references used in this article:
Root pruning reduces photosynthesis, transpiration, growth, and fruiting of container-grown French-American hybrid grapevines by DC Ferree, DM Scurlock, JC Schmid – HortScience, 1999 – journals.ashs.org
Physiological mechanisms involved in the production of non-hydraulic root signals by partial rootzone drying-A review by BA Bravdo – VII International Symposium on Grapevine Physiology …, 2004 – actahort.org
Physiological aspects of lime-induced chlorosis in some Vitis species. I. Pot trial on calcareous soil by L Bavaresco, M Fregoni, A Perino – Vitis, 1994 – Citeseer