Growing grapes in containers

This post is sorta like my growing fruit in containers post but with some important differences.

The big question is what kind of soil or planting mix is best.

For table grapes, one would naturally assume that good soil / mix is better than so-so soil / planting mix.

However, wine grapes turn out better if the soil isn’t too fertile (or so I’ve been told).

Can someone enlighten me on this?

If it helps encourage anyone to reply, the types I currently have are two Seedless Concord (acquired last year when small, grew in the ground but in a fairly shady area so they aren’t that big yet) and, just acquired yesterday, a Vanessa and a Thompson.

I’m thinking in terms of putting them all in containers somewhere in the range of 5 to 10 gallons. (Any advice here?)

Inside each container I’ll put one of those galvanized tomato cages you can get at Home Depot or Lowes. The cages are about 4 feet high (although some of this height will be buried underground, obviously) and circular, with four wires making up the sides and several circular wires forming the shape of the cage.

This should make something that’s fairly easy to move around.

Since my grape vines aren’t all that big yet, I was thinking this might be a good way to let them get bigger for a couple of years while keeping them quite mobile (although I would like to stick with containers for the long haul).

Any comments?

For grapes, and all the other fruits, a minimum of about 12 gallon is best. I’ve been doing grapes for about 12 yrs. You can grow them in smaller but not much yield, maybe one lb per gallon of pot.

Pictures show pots, trellis, and later in summer the fruit from below.

Five varieties in last photo: Flame, Summer Muscat, Summer Royal, Princess, and Crimson all seedless table grapes.

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Wow! Those are beautiful grapes.

How many years did it take for the plants to get to that size?

The one pound of yield-per-gallon as a rule of thumb for grapes is good to know.

Is there an equivalent rule-of-thumb for fruit tree yield?

Thanks!

That believe it or not is one yr after planting as half inch caliper rooted cuttings. I get a lot of growth in my greenhouse with a 300+ day growing season. Yield the last two yrs is double that shown. I could leave more but sweetness and flavor might suffer. I usually error on the side of eating quality. I can only eat so much.

Look at the plant in the closest pot top two photos. The bottom 12-18 inches is dark two yr old bark, from the planted cutting. Everything above that is one yr old wood and lighter brown in color. The top of the planted cutting lines up with the double stacked smaller pot on top of larger.

My brix on grapes usually runs mid to upper 20s.

Table grapes have higher water content. And wine grapes have smaller berries, thicker skin and lower water content. So table grape vines demand more water. But you do not want to get the potting mix compacted with either case. So I figure you can use the same potting mix, but water the table grapes more often.

Yes, you can grow like fruitnut has been doing. Great job. One other method folks have been doing with container grape is “head training”. Google it and you’ll see. The grape vine is trained like an standard rose, or like a umbrella. Only the main trunk is supported and no cordons are trained. The fruit canes are trained as weeping arms. Not sure about yield. But some of the vineyard (mostly in Europe) train their grapes like this.

Just bumping this up. @fruitnut - How are your grapes? I’m about to go this route on a few of my muscadines.

No longer growing grapes in pots. But it works much better than most fruit trees. Grapes and figs are too vigorous in-ground in the greenhouse. A pot slows them down enough to make them manageable. They fruit great in pots. The only downside is watering the pots.

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That’s great. I’m wanting to limit each vine to no more than 10 feet of horizontal length.

A 20 gallon pot will give about that much growth. The grapes and clusters reach good size. I may do potted grapes again. I quit the last time because of different priorities and they were starting to get powdery mildew. That wasn’t an issue in earlier yrs. Not too hard to control.

I hope interest in this isn’t dead. I’m wondering if anyone has further wisdom on this topic- I’ll be trying #10-20 nursery containers next year for muscadines and some tender vinifera varieties. They’ll be on a timer with drip irrigation and I’m planning to train them in head/standard form to about 3’ (so I can still stash them over the winter). Any advice on grow media? Any thoughts or experience are appreciated.

Mine has grown great! I’d call it successful. Roots will grow through holes in the bottom of the pots. I just used compost and peat. Nothing special. I only have Darlene potted, but she’s growing very well this second year.