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Botanical name: Vitis

Plant type: Fruit

USDA Hardiness Zones: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Sun exposure: Full Sun

Soil type: Any

Soil pH: Slightly Acidic to Neutral

Grapes, a long season crop, are often ignored in home gardens, and yet are one of the most widely produced fruits in the world.

Grapevines not only produce sweet and versatile fruits, they add an element of drama to a garden or landscape. They are vigorous growers, and with the proper pruning, they will produce fruit with ease and can last longer than 30 years.

There are three different types of grapes: American (V. labrusca), European (V. viniferia), and North American native Muscadine (V. rotundifolia). American grapes are the most cold-hardy, while European grapes, usually more for wine than the table, do well in warm, dry, Mediterranean type zones. Hybrids are available. Thick skinned Muscadines thrive in the South.

Make sure you purchase grape vines from a reputable nursery. Vigorous, 1-year-old plants are best. Smaller, sometimes weaker, 1-year-old plants are often held over by the nursery to grow another year and are then sold as 2-year-old stock. Obtain certified virus-free stock when possible.


  • Plant dormant, bare-root grape vines in the early spring.
  • Construct a trellis or arbor before planting. Grape vines will need to be trained to some sort of support to grow upward. This will also cut the risk of disease.
  • Most grape varieties are self-fertile. To be sure, ask when you are buying vines if you will need more than one plant to for pollination.
  • Before planting grapevines, soak their roots in water for two or three hours.
  • Select a site with full sun. If you don't have a spot with full sun, make sure it at least gets morning sun. A small amount of afternoon shade won't hurt. Your soil needs to be deep, well-drained, and loose. You also need good air circulation.
  • Space vines 6 to 10 feet apart (16 feet for muscadines).
  • For each vine, dig a planting hole 12 inches deep and 12 inches wide. Fill with 4 inches of topsoil. Trim off broken roots and set the vine into the hole slightly deeper than it grew in the nursery. Cover the roots with 6 inches of soil and tamp down. Fill with the remaining soil, but don't tamp this down.
  • Prune the top back to two or three buds at planting time.
  • Water at time of planting.


  • In the first couple of years, the vine should not be allowed to produce fruit. It needs to strengthen its root system before it can support the extra weight of fruit.
  • Pruning is important. Not only would vines run rampant without control, but canes will only produce fruit once. Prune annually when vines are dormant, in March or April. This is before the buds start to swell, but when winter damage is apparent.
  • Don't be afraid to remove at least 90 percent of the previous season's growth. This will ensure a higher quality product. Remember, the more you prune, the more grapes you will have.
  • In the first year, cut back all buds except for 2 or 3. Then, select a couple of strong canes and cut back the rest. Make sure the remaining canes are fastened to the support.
  • In the second year, prune back all canes. Leave a couple of buds on each of the arms. Remove flower clusters as they form.
  • Do not fertilize in the first year unless you have problem soil. Fertilize lightly in the second year of growth.
  • Use mulch to keep an even amount of moisture around the vines.
  • A mesh net is useful in keeping birds away from budding fruit.



  • If grapes aren’t ripening, pinch back some of the foliage to let in more sunlight.
  • Grapes will not continue ripening once picked from the vine. Test a few to see if they are too your liking before harvesting, usually in late summer-early fall.
  • Grapes can be stored for up to six weeks in the cellar, but grapes can absorb the odors of other fruits and vegetables, so keep them separate. Use cardboard boxes or crates lined with clean, dry straw. Separate bunches with straw or sawdust. Check often for spoilage.
  • See our article on Making Jams and Jellies.


Recommended Varieties

Note: Seedless varieties will produce smaller grapes.

  • ‘Edelweiss’ Hardy, early white variety. Table and wine.
  • ‘Reliance’ Hardy, seedless, pink table grape.
  • ‘Seibel’ Hybrid, wine grape. Cold hardy.
  • ‘Swenson Red’ Cold hardy red table grape.
  • ‘Magnolia’ White Muscadine wine grape. Sweet.
  • 'Valiant' Eating grape hardy to Zone 2.


Wit & Wisdom

Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) resemble grapes only in that they grow in clusters, but that was sufficient reason for early European explorers in Barbados to bestow this name on them.

Grapevines near Santa Barbara, California.

Credit:California Tourist & Gal Pal


I liv ein Italy but comming

By nancypidan on April 15

I liv ein Italy but comming bacl to USA what is the name for a fragola grape in USA?

I have a 5 month old grape

By John Dy on April 11

I have a 5 month old grape vine, it grew from a seed that I planted on a small pot, I was wondering on how I can take care of it properly, any tips on how I can ensure that it grows healthy?

If your grape vine has rooted

By Almanac Staff on April 11

If your grape vine has rooted in the pot, then you can move to a loarger pot (a gallon container) or plant the vine in the ground in the fall when the leaves drop, and water in well.

I live in Rio Rancho, NM. I'm

By Bbbba on April 6

I live in Rio Rancho, NM. I'm planning to plant vines. I was wandering what type of vine is the best in this kind of climate (7a hardiness zone)?
Also, the soil in here is "fine sandy loam". What do I need to add to the soil to have better grapes?


"Golden Muscat," "'Himrod

By Almanac Staff on April 6

"Golden Muscat," "'Himrod Seedless," and "'Seneca" are some American hybrid grape varieties that seem to grow well in Zone 7 and central New Mexico.

Fine sandy loams is exactly what you want for growing grapes. The soil should be of average fertilize and drain well. If fertility is low, you can mix in some organic matter (well-rotted manure, compost, peat moss or a green manure crop).

Prepare the vineyard site a year ahead of planting to allow for soil pH adjustment, fertility-building, and eradication of weeds. 

See this page for more detail: Contact your NM cooperative extension for local advice.

Hi, I planted several table

By Renaldo on April 3


I planted several table grape vines 20 years ago. Not one grape came from them over the course of two decades. This year, they are bearing out of the blue. Does anyone have an explanation for this? I've pruned over the years and they never bore. I've also fertilized to no avail. I can think of no reason why they would suddenly fruit.


As long as you were pruning

By Almanac Staff on April 7

As long as you were pruning and fertilizing correctly, and that the plants were getting enough sunlight etc., and were healthy, it is a mystery why no flowers would form. Incorrect pruning, or too much fertilizer, can affect blooming. Amount of full sunlight per day is also important. If plants have had any setbacks, such as diseases or pests, that can also affect blooming. If there are not enough pollinators, then you might get small fruit that shrivels. In general, sometimes if plants are under stress, they will bloom (not sure if grapes do this). Make sure that your plants are appropriate for your climate--those that are not quite hardy in your area may take longer to establish, if they survive. (Although it probably wouldn't take 20 years!) Check the health of the plants, and other conditions that may have changed. If the plants look fine, congratulations on your first crop!

I have just moved in to a

By TimH on March 28

I have just moved in to a house that had old vines. They look scary and creepy like something surrounding a haunted house. How can I tell if they are alive?

To see if your old grapevine

By Almanac Staff on March 28

To see if your old grapevine is still alive, take a pocket-knife and carefully scrape back the top layer of the bark to the cambium: the thin layer beneath the bark. Do not cut any further. If the colour of the cambium is a nice green, it's alive. If it's brown, it's dead. If it's very pale green, it may be dying.
Grapevines are quite resilient. If you find it's alive, you can do some very heavy pruning. You can remove 90% of the plant and spark the vine into new growth. Grapevines are very forgiving so it is hard to mess up.

By TimH on March 28
Looks like it's dead

I planted some vines about 3

By richqrd v,

I planted some vines about 3 years ago, and thought they would use a rail fence behind them to grow on, but they didn't and the trunks are close to horizontal now. They have been growing well and even produced new vines, but I'm not sure how to attempt to stake them at this point. Should I just try to stake the newer flexible branches? Suggestions? Thanks.

It sounds like you didn't

By Almanac Staff

It sounds like you didn't train the vines to grow straight the first year. The second year you train the side branches by pruning. Different varieties often respond differently to pruning. Look online for pruning and staking techniques to see if you can find something that will suit your grapes.

Our scuppernongs aren't as

By Zandra

Our scuppernongs aren't as sweet as they should be. Could you offer some advice? We live in zone 7.

Full sun is the key to sweet

By Almanac Staff

Full sun is the key to sweet grapes. Well drained rich soil is also important. And make sure that they are fully ripe before picking them.

I would really LOVE to grow

By Gale Head

I would really LOVE to grow grapes! Unfortunately my zone is closer to zone 3 than zone 4 which is what my area is listed as in all the catalogues. Is there a grape you would recommend. This summer will be the second summer for my one seedless pink reliance. I was thrilled when it made it through that first winter and am holding my breath that it will make it though this winter. It's rated for zone 4. It did get a little growth but not much. Is there ANY grape rated for zone 3?

Checkout American hybrids

By E K Miller

Checkout American hybrids such as Foch, Valiant, Frontenac, and Brianna(white-1st three are red). Very hardy.Valiant has a concord background and grapiest flavor- created in SD.

Hi Gale, Here are a couple of

By Almanac Staff

Hi Gale,
Here are a couple of grapes rated for Zone 3.

King of North is a blue grape hardy to -37F. Bluebell is another blue hardy grape. Beta is a cross between Concord and the native North American riverbank grape. It's deep purple and sweet. Valiant is one of the best cold-hardy grapes for the North. Similar to Beta in color and taste. Morden 9703 is a new, hardy green table grape.  May need some winter protection.

Hi! Can you tell me where I

By Gale Head

Hi! Can you tell me where I can find these cold hardy grape varieties? THANK YOU!


By Gale Head

THANK YO SO MUCH! YAY!!! Grapes for Zone 3!! I can't believe it!! I would certainly love to try these grapes! However, I've checked the usual catalogues and no one carries any of these grape varieties. Do you have a source or a catalogue that might have these grapes? Thank you again!

Hi Gale, Here are a couple of

By Almanac Staff

Hi Gale,
Here are a couple of sources.

Thank you so much! I'll

By Gale Head

Thank you so much! I'll certainly check into those sites!

We have grapes that produce

By V Warren

We have grapes that produce wonderfully each year and are wanting to expand and grow more to make wines. We have a couple of bare acres with some pine and oak trees surrounding. We are planning to cut the eastern most trees for good morning sun. My question is, will the remaining trees harm the growth or flavor of the grapes?

Hi Warren, Grapes are

By Almanac Staff

Hi Warren,

  • Grapes are very adaptable to varying soils so you should be fine planting on your bare acres. Remember that grapes need lots of sun and no competition from nearby trees, good air circulation and loose, not too fertile soil with good drainage. The pines and oaks you leave standing should not harm the flavor of the grapes.


we live in mexico..east of

By ed dodt

we live in mexico..east of mexico city,,,.7,000 feet above sea night it can freeze (January)...but, in the daytime it can get into the low 70' grape plants are four years old and this year produced some grapes...I have been waiting for cold weather to trim...and one of them is setting fruit...all the vines are in a large patio area that gets light and is somewhat protected from frost...the vine in question has great buds and some tiny fruit set...I don't think it's possible for the fruit to last through winter...will it still produce next year...thanks ed

Grapes in NE Texas, sandy

By l. davis

Grapes in NE Texas, sandy soil. 4 year old plants. Lots of sweet fruit, but remains green and thick skinned when picking time comes.
Are we overwatering? These are Concord grapes, well pruned the last two years.

Some grape-growers have

By Almanac Staff

Some grape-growers have experienced uneven ripening this year, particularly with their concord grapes. According to Purdue University Small Fruit Specialist Bruce Bordelon, this condition is known to only on the Concord variety and occurs occasionally, especially in warm years. Uneven ripening is when some of the berries in the cluster remain sour, hard and green while others develop the purple color and soften during the ripening process. The green berries will be full-sized, but will not be sweet. For some reason, those berries never go through the increase in sugar and decrease in acids that commonly occurs during fruit ripening. It is not clearly understood why this phenomenon occurs, but hot weather is partly responsible. We hope that next year improves.

I want to grow grapes near

By Shivaram

I want to grow grapes near Bangalore, India.... please suggest which is the best grapes to grow.....

Some 15-20 years ago I

By Gregory Di Maio

Some 15-20 years ago I planted two rows of grapes (8 plts. to a row) and they took off very well. I can not remember now what routine we used a lot of compost and my 160lb. BullMastiff continued to help with that up until 15 years ago. Due to lack of any care (my health problems) the grapes crossed from their trellis to some nearby Douglas Fir trees. Now the trees and the grapes are a 20+ feet high and producing very well, esp. at ranges above 10 feet. What would be the best way to get these to a normal height without hurting them any. We live near Jamestown, NY 14701 and the grapes are Concords.

Grapes are very forgiving. In

By Almanac Staff

Grapes are very forgiving. In early spring when the plants are dormant prune the vines and leave about 4 feet of main trunk, and only a couple of trailer "branches".

Just got 2 grapevines.they

By Chas Richardsono

Just got 2 grapevines.they have about 12"of growth how far should I cut back?they are Catawba grapevines,there are 2stems each stem has12" of growth.we live in Petersburg illinois

Plant the grapes as soon as

By Almanac Staff

Plant the grapes as soon as possible before the soil freezes. Don't prune the canes now, wait until early spring when you see buds developing. Then prune so that you have about 2-3 healthy fat buds on each stem.

my grapes plant is all most

By anis

my grapes plant is all most three old it it is look like vine grapes size is not vry big brown clr but not sweet at all
what to do pl help anis

Thanks for the great info in

By Gillan Rutz

Thanks for the great info in 2013!

My father is growing grapes

By monica sweetin

My father is growing grapes 3yr and is concerned he has not gotten fruit due to the climate in clipper mills ca. Approx 4500 elevation and tall trees. This year he removed some trees to allow more sun. Should he follow basic rules of growing. I did explian your info about not getting fruit till 3rd yr and pruning back 90% of previous growth.

The removal of trees will

By Almanac Staff

The removal of trees will help. Grapes need a lot of sun. It is also important to prune the old vines in late winter for healthy new growth next spring.

I have grapes that I planted

By Karen Z

I have grapes that I planted 3 years ago. This year they started producing clusters of fruit. However, most clusters have some grapes that are large, purple, and sweet, while most of the grapes on the cluster are still small, with many still being green. Will they all catch up to be ripe together?

The difference in size can be

By Almanac Staff

The difference in size can be caused by how and when each little flower in the cluster was fertilized. After fertilzation a tiny seed starts growing and the grape grows around the seed. The small berries on you cluster may not have been fertilized properly.


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All my grape fruits are all

By Nancy Mendoza

All my grape fruits are all ripe but what concerns me is that they are all so tiny. Would it eventually become bigger in size in the future ? Thanks.

Hi, Nancy, Grapes grow on

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Nancy, Grapes grow on canes that grew the previous summer (one-year-old wood). Our sources say that un- or underpruned grape vines produce small clusters of tiny grapes. Proper pruning is key. We hope this helps.

I planted 2 Concord Grape

By Beth Peterson

I planted 2 Concord Grape vines earlier this year, after trimming them back as described above. The both are growing foliage now. Do I trim back the foliage, or leave it until fall / winter? I am pinching off the tiny grape clusters that our vines are producing.

what are the best grapes to

By ronnetta

what are the best grapes to grow in zone 9a l
Las Vegas NV.

Hi, Ronnette, Though it has

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Ronnette, Though it has it challenges, there are actually many grape varieties that can be grown in your zone. Zindfandels seem to do especially well. We are not experts in this area, but would suggest that you contact your University of Nevada cooperative extension:

I planted my first grape vine

By tara johnston

I planted my first grape vine about a month ago in May in Pa. It still just looks like a stick. WHen should it start to grow something? And when it does, I cut it off? Can you please be specific. I am really clueless!


By Anonymous

I have 3rd year red wine grapes (Cab Sangreia) now well into green leaves and very small fruit showing. How best to cut away unnecessary greenery now, May 10th in California, to produce most fruit????

the 3rd year wine grapes above

By Anonymous

Submitted by Vince Huntington, San Diego Ca

I love this site. I had

By Mazin Scott

I love this site. I had withering problem with my Reliance even when it was watered and drained timely. Any clue?

Planted two reliance grapes.

By Anonymous

Planted two reliance grapes. Bought them at Lowes. Followed the planting instructions. It has been cold a lot for spring. All of the new growth has died. Not sure if this is a bad sign or just the result of planting too soon for the new growth. Any thoughts?

table vs eating grape

By b.hailey

what is the difference between table and eating grapes? What are table grapes good for?

Table grapes are eating

By Almanac Staff

Table grapes are eating grapes. They are meant to be eaten fresh and are big and usually seedless. Wine grapes are smaller, sweeter and have seeds. They also have thick skins and are juicer than table grapes.

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