The Q&A Archives: Grape Propagation

Question: I have some wild grapes growing in my area. I would like to start some growing in my yard from those plants. Can I take a cutting from the vine and get it to grow roots or can I get the seeds off the main vine to start a new vine? They are dark purple in color but I don't know the variety.

Answer: Grapevines are best propagated by cuttings and there are several methods for you to try. The easiest, and usually most successful, is serpentine layering. This is done in the early summer by wounding a stem or vine that you can bend down to make contact with the soil surface. Make a cut about 1/3 of the way through the stem and hold it open with a small stone. Dig a shallow depression in the soil where the wounded stem can be anchored, then cover the portion of the stem opposite the wound with soil and keep moist. Roots should form at the wound site and you can cut the rooted stem from the parent plant and pot it up. You can also take semi-ripe cuttings in late summer from shoots that have grown this season and are just beginning to develop bark on the outside. Dip the cut end in rooting hormone and plant in potting soil mixed with garden soil. Roots will form at the leaf scar (node) which is buried in the soil.

If you're a first-time propagator, try one of the above methods. If you've had some experience, you might also try eye cuttings in early to mid-winter, or hardwood cuttings in late autumn (keeping them in a cold frame all winter).

Good luck with your new project!

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