Planting Grape Vines

Grape vines will grow on a wide range of soils, including chalky, sandy or clay soils.  Whatever the soil type, it must be free draining as they will not tolerate waterlogged conditions.  If the soil is too fertile then the vine will produce plenty of lush growth, but this is likely to be at the expense of fruit production.

Before buying your grape vine, first decide where you are going to plant it.  If it is to be grown outside then choose a warm, sheltered spot that gets plenty of sun.  The soil must have good drainage.  If it does not, then dig in a bucketful of grit to aid drainage.  If it is to be grown in a greenhouse, conservatory or polytunnel, decide whether you want the roots to be inside or outside the structure.  It is easiest to plant them inside, but the vine will require more watering as rain water will not get to the roots.  Planting the roots outside and training the vine through an opening into the greenhouse requires more initial work, but will make watering and mulching much easier later on.

Push a vertical cane into the ground close to where you will be planting your grape vine.  Dig a large hole and loosen the soil around the sides and at the bottom.  Place the root ball in the hole, angle the main stem of the vine towards the vertical cane, and tie the stem to the vine.  The vine should be planted at, or just below, it’s original soil level.  Water well and make sure the vine is kept well watered during the first year.  If your vine has been grafted, the graft will be covered in wax.  Do not remove the wax, it is there to protect the graft, and will naturally come away as the vine grows.

Grape vines can also be grown in containers.  Choose a wide bottomed pot and fill with crocks to provide stability.  Fill the pot with a growing medium, such as John Innes No. 3.  If you want to be able to move the pot around, then grow the vine as a standard.  This is where they have a tall main stem, with a group of spurs (branches) at the top.  The vine must be well staked.  Vines grown in pots will need protecting during the winter.  The vine can either be placed in a cold greenhouse, or the pot will need wrapping in fleece or bubble wrap in order to protect the root ball.  If the vine is not going to be moved, then choose a very large pot, such as half an oak barrel, and provide a framework of wires for it to grow along.

Grape vines can be planted at any time, but are best planted in spring, after all frosts have passed.  This ensures that any new growth is not damaged by frost.




1. Growing Grapes – QUICKSTART GUIDE
2. Planting Grape Vines – Help on planting grape vines
3. Pruning Grape Vines – Help on pruning grape vines
4. Grape Vine Care – How to maintain a healthy and productive grape vine
5. Harvesting Grapes – When and how to pick your grapes
6. Grape Vine Tips – Some tips to help you get the most out of your grape vine
7. Grape Vine Diseases, Problems and Pests – Help if things go wrong with your grape vine
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