Grapes are often ignored in home gardens, and yet are one of the most widely produced fruit in the world—not to mention a beautifully ornamental plant.
Grape vines 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 for 30 years or more.
For home gardeners, there are three main types of grapes to consider: American (Vitis labrusca), European (V. vinifera), and French-American hybrids. American grapes are the most cold-hardy, while European grapes—usually better for wine than the table—do well in warm, dry, Mediterranean-type zones. Hybrids tend to be both cold-hardy and disease-resistant, but are not as flavorful as European grapes. Another type that is grown in the U.S. is the Muscadine (V. rotundifolia), which is native to the southern United States. The Muscadine grape’s thick skin make it best suited for use in jams, wine, or other processed grape products.
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.
Eager to get started? We have plenty of tips for growing grapes in your backyard!