The Q&A Archives: Care For Grape Plants in Containers

Question: I have recently purchased two of your "flame seedless grape" plants and have them in containers. I live in New Jersey, what care do I need to give them in the winter months, i.e., bring the plants to the garage, etc?

Answer: In my experience, it is unfortunately very difficult to grow grapes successfully in containers; these vines reach 20 to 25 feet in one season and have a huge root system to support all that top growth which makes it tough to keep them healthy with their roots restricted inside a container. Keep in mind too that you will need to make provision for supporting them on a trellis sturdy enough to take their weight and support it in a wind. Also, this particular variety is only hardy to zone 7, and that combined with them being in a container would mean they'll need extra protection to survive the winter. If you are determined to try, I would suggest a minimum container size of a half whiskey barrel (put it on casters) for each vine. Use a top quality potting mix and be sure to keep the soil evenly moist. Fertilize regularly (use a water soluble fertilizer and follow label instructions) to keep them growing vigorously. They will need a full sun location during the summer if you want them to fruit. They will also need to be pruned back hard each winter since they fruit on new growth. To protect them in the winter, move the containers into a location that is protected from the wind yet on the cold side(an unheated garage might work) and keep the soil just barely moist while they rest. Move them back outside as soon as possible so they can wake up naturally with the season. Good luck with your grape vines!

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