Can You Grow Grapes From A Store Bought Bunch?

By Paul Smart •  Updated: 06/22/21 •  7 min read

Can You Grow Grapes From A Store Bought Bunch? A grapevine is one of the most useful plants to have in your backyard. It is an attractive climbing plant that is useful for shading a pergola in summer and it lets the light in winter. Additionally, a grapevine can produce beautiful grapes as well. But do you need to buy a plant or can you grow them from store-bought bunches of grapes?

A new grapevine can be produced from a bunch of store-bought grapes. The most common method to do this is to use stem cuttings. However, a vine can also be produced from seed, provided the grape contains seeds, most varieties sold in the grocery store do not. The disadvantage of using this method is that you will not necessarily get a similar type of grape produced from the new vine.

However, the success rate of cuttings is largely dependent upon the age of the grapes and the storage conditions they have been exposed to. There has been extensive research done of developing methods to store grapes for a long period of time. An article published by the University of California demonstrates that grapes can be stored for 4 months with minimal decay using artificial methods.

This means at certain times of the year when the grapes are out of season in your locality there is a distinct possibility that the grapes are much older than you think. To increase the probability of success it is best to try to produce cuttings around the period when the fruit is in season. For most varieties of table grapes this typically in early Autumn.

How To Grow Grapes From Store Bought Bunches

When attempting to grow grapes start by removing the grapes from the stems of the bunch. Where possible try to select a bunch that contains a central stem that is at least 4 inches long.

The next step is to take a pair of scissors or secateurs and remove all the side shoots from the main branch except for one or two at the top of the cutting. It is advisable at this stage to also trim the bottom of the cutting at a 45-degree angle, as this will maximize the surface area of the cutting allowing it to absorb water more easily.

To further increase the chances of the cutting developing roots it is advisable to dip the bottom of the cutting in rooting hormone before placing it into a pot.

The pot should be filled with a specific seed raising mixture which ideally suited for this purpose because it has a very fine tilth to ensure that the soil makes good contact with the surface of the cutting.

When you are placing the cutting the pot it is advisable to use a dibber to make a hole in the soil first. This will ensure that you do not need to use cutting itself to make the hole as this has the potential to remove the growth hormone from the end of the cutting.

Once the cutting has been positioned within the pot gently firm the soil in around it and water well. To improve the chances of success it is advisable to keep the pot in a warm but humid location. It will take several weeks for the cutting to show signs of growth. Once the plant has developed several leaves it may be necessary to transfer it to a larger pot before it is ready to be planted out into the garden.

Selecting A Location For The Grapevine

Grapevines are an extremely versatile plant that can be used as both a productive and ornamental plant. Grapevines will tolerate shade but if fruit production is the primary goal then the grapevines need to be in the full sun to produce fruit.

The other additional consideration is the structure you need to use to support the vine. Grapevines are climbing plants that can become relatively heavy as they mature. As such it is advisable to put a strong structure in place prior to planting the vine, this can structure can include using an existing pergola, fence, or wall of a house.

Alternatively, the grapevine can be grown on a free-standing structure such as an arbor or it can be used to create a dividing wall within your garden.

In terms of garden soil conditions grapevines prefer a moist well drained soil that is slightly acidic, however grapevines will tolerate a very wide range of soil conditions. To improve the soil conditions and get the plant off to the best possible start it is always advantageous to add additional compost to the soil.

Planting The Vine In The Garden

The ideal time to plant a grapevine is in the spring after the last frost has passed. Planting at this time will allow the roots to start to become established somewhat before the heat of summer arrives. This will increase the capacity of the vine to cope with drier conditions.

Once the temperature has reached an appropriate level and the location for the vine has been selected the next step is to dig a planting hole for the vine. The hole should be made approximately equal in depth to the pot that the plant is currently in to ensure that the vine can be placed in the ground at the same depth as it is currently in the pot.

Once the vine is planted mulch should be placed on the ground around the base of the plant at a depth of 2 to 4 inches to ensure that the ground retains as much moisture as possible. The plant needs to be watered regularly to ensure that the soil remains moist.

This is particularly important in the first season after planting. The reason for this is that the roots, in the first season, are yet to penetrate deeply into the soil which means surface moist is far important for plant health early on.

Maintaining The Grapevine

When first planted grapevines will often take a couple of seasons to get going. In the first growing season, the grapevine should be left unpruned, though it may be necessary to tie some of the branches to the support structure.

When the plant becomes dormant in its first it will be necessary to cut the trunk back to 3 buds. This means that in most cases a large portion of the vine will need to be cut back, which may seem drastic. However, this will encourage the plant to create a thick strong central trunk.

In cases where you are creating vertical tiers, the plant should be cut down to the height of the tier desired any and any remaining lateral growth should be tied down to the tier. During the subsequent seasons, new shoots should be trained along the horizontal wire.

Green shoots will appear at different points along the main stems established. These new shoots will produce grapes in the second year after they appear on the plant. These canes should be pruned back to 2 buds each, however in locations where the nitrogen levels in the soils are high the vine may produce too many shoots.

When this occurs it becomes necessary to remove shoots that are too closely spaced to manage the amount of leaf and shoot growth to ensure that the vine remains productive. Each bunch of grapes produced requires around 15 leaves that are highly exposed to sunlight to ensure that the grape cluster ripens properly.

It is generally recommended that thinning of shoots begins in early summer as soon as the grape clusters are observed, shoots should be spaced 3 to 4 inches apart. In some cases, more than one bunch of grapes will appear on one shoot. It is best to thin the bunches to one per shoot to optimize the quality of the grapes.

Harvesting grapes will typically occur in Autumn, to get really plum bunches of grapes it may also necessary to thin the grapes within the bunch itself to ensure that the grape have room to develop properly. Thinning should be done in late summer just are the fruit is beginning to swell.

Paul Smart