Growing grapes in a pot - How easy is it?

cfox248(3)July 15, 2014

So, I posted this in container gardening, but I was directed over here as it was said there are users here with experience in this question! I'm just going to copy and paste the other post: I found a few relevant threads via the search function but none of the pictures were working for me, and pictures is definitely something I'm after!

Long story short: I've recently ordered a few plants from a particular online supplier and the plants ended up getting to me in awful condition. They did not pull through, and I got my money back... in the form of store credit, so I have to use it or it's a waste of money. I do not want to but another of the plants that died since they came to me so small and scrawny they weren't worth their price. There's a lot of things I'd like to buy (Looking for something fruiting or edible) but since I'm in Minnesota, it's gotta be in a pot, and many things (like the Hass Avocado I want so badly) do not do well in pots or are more trouble than they're worth.

Grapes came to mind, but I don't even know if that's possible. I don't know much about growing grapes. Can they grow in a nice big pot with a trellis to climb on? It looks like you have to chop them back every year, is that correct? So I wouldn't have to worry too much about the plant outgrowing the pot, save for a root pruning or a repot every few years? Is it even worth it? I love grapes, I'm curious as to how many grapes one plant would give me. Specifically looking at Concord grapes.

I do end up with a nice room with supplementary lighting over winter to keep my potted citrus and bonsai happy, so I could stick it in there, I think... Do they go dormant?

I'd love some of the MN hardy grapes, but I'm limited to what's available to me on the website. At least concords could hang out in my unheated garage or something and be okay, though I've heard they need an early start and ripen late... my other two options are Triumph and Summit grapes, though they're farther from my zone rating.

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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I posted in the container forum a little about pruning. You need a way to adapt to container culture.
I also mentioned the new cultivar Pixie, which is a dwarf wine grape Pinot Meunier, that can be used for the table too. It has been offered in Canada a few years now, and soon will hit the USA.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 2:01PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

You can easily grow grapes in containers. We knew we would be moving, and planted an entire vineyard in containers. As long as they are on a drip system, they will grow well. Grapes like water!

Once we moved, we put them all in ground, but they will live a long time in containers.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 2:07PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I've grown in 12-15 gallon containers for 12 yrs. They need repotting after about half that time. You don't need a dwarf any grape will do. They do go dormant but only need very little chilling. Anything to knock the leaves off like a light freeze or a month at 32-40F and they're ready for warmth again.

You could over winter in your grow room but I'd allow that defoliation before bringing them inside.

Potted grapes in greenhouse, and much else, in late winter showing vines after pruning on trellis. Trellis could just be stakes in the pot.

I get about 12-15 bunches averaging 15-20 lbs per plant. But to do that you'd need very good light in your grow room and warm full sun in summer. If protecting from freezing in winter plant the best varieties: Flame, Summer Royal, Princess, or Thompson seedless. My favorite Summer Royal. Concord much easier to grow than these.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 3:18PM
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cfox248(3)

Thanks for the great info!

I ended up going with a Cherry tree, but I still have every intent to buy some grape vines. That means I'm now open to any and all varieties. I'm thinking about getting some kind of Minnesota hardy table grape, just so I don't have to bring them inside over the winter, because wow I have a lot of plants that need to come inside already - and I live in a duplex with 2 roommates!

Fruitnut, I see that your grapes have those long thick vines (canes?) growing along the wires, with new shoots coming out all over them. Come time to prune early in the year, will you cut that new growth down to the thick brown vines again, or do you trim the vine itself? Having a hard time figuring out exactly what I would need to prune and what I would need to keep. I'm guessing what I see is last years growth, with new growth coming from it - that will fruit. I'd like to know when the season is over what you will prune, and how much?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 4:38PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

The pruning is had to explain and visualize. But once you get the hang of it it's easy. Those are last yrs canes after pruning and before growth begins in spring. Don't let pruning scare you off.

Basically on your potted grape you'd have a permanent trunk. That's the part running from pot up to wire. It's now like one inch diameter not that picture above which was first fruiting yr. From the head of that trunk there will be multiple canes. Keep one or two canes each spring and cut the others off. More grow in summer and repeat.

In a single plant pot with trellis your trunk could be as long or short as you want. You just need room for current seasons canes to sprawl. I'd probably do 3-4ft tall.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 5:40PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

If you want grapes then I suggest Double A Vineyards. I have purchased quite a few of Elmer Swenson's grapes. I have no eating experience with them yet. You will not be disappointed with Double A.

Here is a link that might be useful: Replacing my grapes-need info and advice

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 2:52AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Grapes are easy compared to cherry trees, so you will have your work cut out! Sweet or tart? The dwarf grapes look cute! I mention them because they will fruit the first year, pretty amazing plant really. Good ornamentals, for real production you probably want full size.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 6:11AM
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cfox248(3)

fruitnut, that rundown was actually very helpful. That was a concern of mine, if it would grow new ones from the top of the 'trunk' or if it would keep expanding on its last years wood.

Tart cherry - I hear they're *slightly* more hardy than the sweet. My citrus is already incredibly finicky, so I'm hoping the experience there can help me out. From what I understand they're prone to mildew, but I've gotta look into it some more.

And thanks for the Double A recommendation, I found a few varieties that are well suited as table grapes to the bitter zone 3 climate and winters. Can you tell me how large/old they are when I would get them? I can't imagine they'd produce yet this year, but would I get grapes next year? It might say on the website, I'm on mobile so I may have missed it. They're very affordable, too! I'm leaning towards the St. Croix variety.

Edit to add: the wealth of information on their "Learn" area is astounding! There's a whole power point like thing about pruning from just a cutting through the third or fourth growing season. This is exactly what I was looking for.

This post was edited by cfox248 on Wed, Jul 16, 14 at 20:03

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 7:57PM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

To see what DoubleA sent me this spring (great root systems), go to the 4/13 post, about half-way down in this thread.

I've had a Mars grape vine in a 5 gallon bucket since 2012. It produced a few bunches last year, its 2nd year. Here's a pic of it from last week, with more grapes on it. I admit to not taking the best care of it- I haven't pruned it, nor even tied it up. Evidently, some grapes are better at standing on their own than others.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 12:52AM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

Here's a pic of 3 of the DoubleA vines I planted this spring. They grow pretty quick.

Faith (in the foreground) is the tallest and has reached the 6' top of the trellis.

Jupiter (in the middle) is about 4' tall and has a single bunch of grapes (which I probably should have pruned off, but did not).

Gratitude (in the background) is about the same size as Jupiter.

You can also see the 3 strings which I tried to get the grapes to grow up, mostly unsuccessfully.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 1:02AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Here's current picture of three grapes, shown above two yrs ago, in 12 gal pots. Front to back: Crimson, Princess, and Summer Royal. There are about 15 bunches per plant only roughly half visible.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 12:54PM
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cfox248(3)

Wow, great pictures! Thanks! I'm thinking I'll get a few this year when I have some extra $$ and see about trying to get some grapes in the next year or two. It's better than I can get some I can keep outside, I don't feel so bad about buying them then. It looks like too if I get a MN hardy variety once I get my own property I can plant them in the ground, which will be nice!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 1:06PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

Carla in Sacramento has only potted trees for the same reason. Here's a link to one of her posts:

Here is a link that might be useful: sautesmom/Carla what medium do you use in containers?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 12:00PM
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