How to grow grapes

The sight of rows of vines are associated with warmer climates, but it is possible to grow grapes on a smaller scale at home. Here are some tips.

A gardener’s advice

  • Buy plants in early spring, when they are just emerging from dormancy, and plant them in soil enriched with organic matter, such as leaf mold, compost, or well-aged manure. 
  • Unless you want abundant foliage, do not fertilise these plants. Train the vines where you want them to grow the first year and monitor them for problems.
  • Little pruning is needed the first year, but once vines are established they should be cut back in late winter, just before the buds swell in spring. 
  • Grapes can be trimmed in summer, which encourages them to produce a pretty flush of new, light green leaves. 
  • To propagate, pin a trailing vine to the ground and cover it with soil. When rooted, sever the rooted vine and plant it as directed above.