Growing a Grape Vine

March 31, 2009

There are threefold blessings in a grape vine...

There are threefold blessings in a grape vine – a beautiful plant, some delicious fruit and, if you are that way inclined, wine in all its many varieties. For the home gardener, even one with limited space, a grapevine can be grown in a generous flowerpot and produce a modest harvest of grapes.
For the lucky ones with a large greenhouse, there is an additional benefit – natural shading in summer, and no need to paint the glass with all that tedious shade paint, which just has to be washed off again as winter approaches. (Some gardeners paint 'shade paint' on their greenhouses - it is white when it's sunny and transparent when it rains; so letting in variable amounts of light for all the other plants). Instead, you have a beautiful shady arbor of vine leaves all summer long.

If you like the idea of growing your own grapevine – check out the specialist firms in your part of the world for the varieties that will do best where you live. Here’s a great website:

Here in England, where, rather to everyone’s surprise, we now have many commercial vineyards, the white grape varieties are seen to be the most successful, but the warmer the climate, the greater the choice. My biggest success so far has been a Sève-Villard grape grown in a greenhouse attached to our house, which gives us harvests of grapes in plenty.
One of the interesting things about growing grapes in a greenhouse or conservatory is that you should ideally plant the vine outside and make a small, neat hole in the wall through which to lead it inside.
In summer the well-developed grape vine will take up a lot of water which it prefers to get naturally in the garden. If you grow a vine in this way, quite a lot of pruning will be needed, so you have the added bonus of real fresh vine leaves for the kitchen.

If you like the idea of growing a vine in a pot, pick a sunny but sheltered part of the garden (or balcony) and train your young vine around three or five strong canes which you have tied together at the top, and don’t let more than about five or six bunches of grapes ripen if you want full size grapes.
It is well worth growing a vine even in a pot, as you may be able to wreathe the stem around a window or doorway, but do be prepared to be generous with water when the grapes are in full growth and add a little tomato fertilizer every now and then which will help to keep them full of flavor.
As always,
Happy horticulture,