red flame grapes.... hardy?

vieja_gw(z7NM)April 16, 2013

I have tried now three time to get a 'Red Flame' grape vine started from nursery plants ... one froze the first winter at minus 19 degrees, the second plant I bought bore the old Concord grapes on the vine ... took it back with the 'Red Flame' tag still attached to the plant (!) & got a replacement. The third purchase of Red Flame grew last year well but now this spring most of the vines appear brittle/dead! I live at 5200 ft. high desert & this past winter it got down to 19 degrees one night... is this grape being planted in too cold a zone for it to survive? They fig & pomegranates both will freeze back some winters but always grow back from the base again. I realize & understand the home grown Red Flame grapes will not get as big as the store bought ones as the commercial vineyards are able to treat them with something to make the grapes bigger! I have 50 + yr. old seed Concord vines that produce loads of fruit every year though a few years back we got minus 19 & the vines froze so the next leaves were deformed that year but never died & are still producing. I may have to give up though on the Red Flame here!

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I've had Red Flame outdoors the past two years with no winter injury. We had a mild winter, ~15F extreme low this winter. I expect it to be fully hardy here as we are very rarely below zero.

It is a good crisp grape, sweet and pretty early maturity. It's also a strong growing vine and bears heavily at an early age. I won't give up yet unless you get below zero regularly.

Figs aren't hardy here except in the most favored locations. There are some hardy pomegranates here but not many.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 5:58PM
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Maybe then there is still hope for my 'Red Flame' grape vine! It is right in the open ...not against anything & trying to train it up on some wires for an arbor. No we are rarely below zero either but do get down to the teens & low 20's sometimes. In the 70's we got a record low of minus 17 degrees & yet those old seeded Concord grapes survived that as did the pomegranate ('Wonderful') though it froze to the ground & came up again from the ground. Our wisteria tree that is over 50 yrs. old had lots of flower buds this spring but the last 'teens a week or so ago froze those first blooms; will flower off & on all summer though!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 6:46PM
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My "Flame" does fine in zone 6, and has survived -8F!

It is planted along the southern wall of the house, in a protected courtyard. I sometimes have had to protect the new growth in spring if it leafs out too early. The leaves and thinnest growth also usually get zapped by the first fall frosts while still green.

Since it's been in the ground since 2011 I've only had a few clusters of grapes, which are delicious, but this vine has definitely done the best of all I've tried (mostly American varieties). Part of this is due to the location I think.

Good luck with yours...

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 10:53PM
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Thanks 'fabaceae' ... that gives me still hope then if you then live in a zone 6 in New Mexico! I live right at 5200 ft. in the city 7 but relatives in Roswell at about 3500 ft. elevation (?) seem to be in zone 6 but they can grow ocotillo & others in that colder zone than we can! I did go out & try & flex some of the 'Flame' vines .. some snapped/dry but a few did seem flexible & still alive! I do wish now I had planted it on the south facing side of a block wall too.. but thought making an arbor with it would be rather pretty... The VERY old Concords are west facing against a chainlink fence w/slats & they seem indestructible thank goodness! Even being seeded, that old Concord flavor is SO good... seeds & all! The new seedless Concord is leafing out and am anxious to taste those in a couple years to compare to the old seeded Concords! After the minus 17 or so, the Concords that year had weird- very alive but shriveled- green leaves all year & some fruits... but snapped back to the regular look the following year... indestructible- like our 50 yr. old pomegranates & fig! Hope you have a great crop of the 'Flames' this year... they don't get as big as those sold in the store though do they? Heard commercial grown Flames have been sprayed to get the larger size!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 10:31AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Natural Flame berries are medium size. Big enough. Commercially they are sprayed with plant hormones to first thin berries and open the cluster then sprayed again to size remaining berries. Later the trunk is girdled to get the largest berries possible.

They are pretty easy to root from dormant cuttings if you want more plants.

How far advanced are your Flames? Mine have about 6-8 inch shoots and they say 28F tonight. I'm hoping to save them but not sure how.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 10:42AM
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'fruitnut': oh, -if still alive- the 'flexible' vines still haven't begun to show any fresh buds! Same weather here... was 32 here this morning but temp dropped as the sun came up & to be cold (above feezing though) today. Wonder if I put a blanket around the main stem coming out of the ground if I could save the main plant at least?! Think we lost what fruit (apple, cherry, peach) that had survived the previous snap earlier) but had set small fruit so may have been OK. Know the earlier blooming plum & apricot blooms froze though! Interesting your note about rooting some cuttings.. have never tried to root cuttings of any kind except from houseplants, but may try some!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 11:06AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Any freeze this time of year will very likely only hurt the new growth and fruit. It won't hurt anything that grew last year or the trunk. Vinifera grapes are typically taken out in winter by temperatures near or below zero. Some like Concord are hardy to 20 or 30 below.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 1:33PM
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I wish I could try to grow Red Flame here near Chicago.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 2:47PM
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I assume "in the city" means Abq... I'm in the Santa Fe area. You're substantially warmer there, and I am always amazed at what I see thriving there that I only dream about!

The flame grapes have been sized about as I expected, not grocery store size, but not any smaller than any of the other locally grown grapes...

Again regarding your zone and grape hardiness, I would bet any lack of success is due to things other than cold. Most any grape cultivar should survive the winters where you are...

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 11:03PM
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fabacea_native: Yes I live right in the heart of Albuquerque & a sign says '5200 ft. elevation' at the foot of our street! The 50+ yr.old Concord (seed) vines have survived our minus 19 degrees in the 1970's & our 9 degrees a year ago really damaged the leaves that following summer but they came back this last summer with loads of those delicious grapes. I checked the Red Flame today & found a few long branches that bend ok without breaking.. so hopefully those are still alive! Other grapes just now are sending out new leaves so it is still early it seems. Here in the City even the elevations vary from foothills to the Valley & all in between... so many microclimates to contend with just in the City!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 12:46AM
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