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Grapevine care.


There is a grape variety to suit most situations and they can be grown indoors, outdoors or in a pot for fruit production or decorative purposes. 


Planting Outdoors

Grapevines are happy to grow in a wide range of soil types providing they are deep and free draining with a pH of around 6.5-7.0. Drainage is very important and attention must be given to this issue if the soil is poor draining . 

Grapes need is a sunny sheltered aspect. Water is very important to a vine and even an established vine will need additional water in the growing season. It must be emphasised again - water logging in winter is a major contributing factor to the failure of a vine.


Where planted against a wall leave a gap of 18 inches /45 cm to keep the roots away from the dry spot at the base of the wall, using a cane to tie the vine to for additional support while it is establishing.

Wires will need fixing to the wall for support every 12-15 inches /30cm,use spacers to keep the wire away from the wall creating an air gap.


Planting Indoors

There are differing opinions regarding vines for the greenhouse. It really does not matter if grape is planted outside the greenhouse and fed inside or if it is planted inside. The advantage to outside planting is that the plant requires less water but an inside planted vine has the advantage of an earlier start into growth. A strong support system will be required . 


Planting In Pots

The ideal growing medium for grapes in pots is John Innes No3. Plant in a wide bottomed pot as this adds to the stability and it will not blow over as easily. Remember to crock the pot well and place in a good sunny spot. Winter protection will be needed either by placing in a cold greenhouse or wrapping the pot to protect the root ball.



This can be described as an extremely complex subject, but it actually isn’t, pruning vines is a very simple logical process.

There are two main methods for home gardeners to consider; drawn here for simplicity of explanation, there is also a video - here.


Spur Pruning for European ( vitis vinifera) greenhouse grapevines such as Black Hamburgh and Muscat Alexandria also used when growing over a pergola perhaps.




Cane Replacement . Used for most seedless vines ( mostly American hybrids of Vitis labrusca/rupestris/ riparia). 

Also known as the ‘Guyot ‘ method where it is used in vineyards.






Always do the major pruning in the winter thus avoiding the risk of a wound bleeding and the vine dying.


CANE PRUNING - A. Planting time. B. growth yr 1. C. Pruning 1st winter.D- shows extended growth in yr 2 and 3.


See the video - Here.














Feeding and Watering

Vines need moisture all year round. Only give them a little during the dormant period but the soil should be kept damp. 

Mulching of the vine wherever it is planted is of benefit nutritionally and helps preserve moisture in the soil in the summer months. 

Grapevines in the ground benefit in spring from an application of Growmore slow release fertiliser or a good mulch with well rotted farm yard manure. 

Grapes in pots should be fed once a week. 

Be careful not to over water or watering erratically as this could cause splitting of the berries.



Apart from the number of bunches that need thinning; the grapes in each bunch also need attention. This should be done when they are the size of a very small pea. A pair of long thin bladed vine scissors in invaluable. Remove two out of three grapes in each bunch, so they have enough room to swell and ripen. Try not to touch the berries use a forked small stick to aid the thinning process. This will minimise damage to the “bloom” on the berries. Do keep a close eye on the developing bunches so any split or damaged fruits can be removed promptly. Do keep a close eye on the developing bunches so that any split or damaged fruits can be removed promptly.


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