Let’s grow grapes in containers

Growing grapes may seem like an undertaking only for a trained viticulturist in a vineyard. But with a little planning, you can grow grapes in a container on a sunny patio or balcony.

Grapes on the vine. Photo credit: Pixabay.
Purple grapes on the vine.

Growing grapes may seem like an undertaking only for a trained viticulturist in a vineyard. But with a little planning, you can grow grapes in a container on a sunny patio or balcony.

You can grow almost any variety of grape in a container. The hardest part of growing grapes is to know when and how they need to be pruned.

Pixie grapes are naturally dwarfing, making them ideal for containers. They only grow 18-24 inches tall and will requiring little, if any pruning. Learn how to grow your own grape container in this helpful article.


  • Grape vine
  • Large container, at least 15-20 gallons, with drainage holes in the bottom.
    • The pot should measure at least 16-18 inches deep and 18-24 inches wide.
    • Avoid pots that are dark colors, as they absorb and hold too much sunlight and heat. Wood is an optimal container.
  • Four 12-inch stakes or other supporting system
  • Soil
    • Grapes need a fertile and well-drained type of soil. Use a light potting mix (do not use soil from your garden).
    • Add compost to your pot to increase nutrients each year.
  • Pruning shears
  • Ties (something to affix your vine to the support system)
    • Zip ties work well.
  • Mulch
    • Decorative mulch is nice in containers. This may include shredded bark, wood chips or other materials.

Planting steps:

  1. Put some small stones in the bottom of the pot until the bottom is fully covered.
  2. Add potting soil to the container until it is about half full.
  3. Take the grape plant and fan out the roots.
  4. While holding the grapevine, add soil to the pot until the plant is supported by the soil. The plant should not be buried past its original planting depth.
  5. Water the pot until you see water running out of the bottom of the pot. You may need to add more soil after watering.
  6. Mulch the grapevine. This will make it more attractive for your patio and will help keep the soil from drying out.

Tips for immediate care:

  • During the first growing season, you want to make sure your new grapevine develops a healthy root system.
  • Immediately after planting the grapevine, select the strongest cane (woody stem or branch). You may also select two canes if you want a double-trunked vine. Prune off the rest of the canes not selected.
  • Next, cut the remaining cane(s) back, leaving only two or three buds. These buds will produce the shoots for the new potted grapevine.
  • Be sure to water the vine thoroughly at least once per week.

Tips for long-term care:

  • Most grape varieties are self-fertile and produce fruits on their own. However, shaking the plant gently at the time of flowering results in a better yield.
  • Do not prune during the first year of growth. In the second and third year, remove old wood from the bottom of the plant. The best time to prune grapes is in the later winter to early spring, leaving only two buds during dormancy. Refer to the videos about pruning grapes from Michigan State University Extension for additional information.
  • Mulch the grapevine with pine bark, compost or pebbles to prevent excessive water evaporation from the soil and to protect roots from temperature fluctuations. This will also help your grapevine to look great, too!
  • In climates with harsh winters, you need to protect the plant.
  • Diseases and pests. Fungal diseases, like black spots and powdery mildew, are possible, especially in dry and warm weather. For pests, keep an eye on common garden insects like aphids. Japanese beetles, moths and caterpillars can also be a problem.

Growing grapes in a container is not only fun and tasty, but your grape plant will also be a great addition to your patio and an excellent conversation starter. Have fun growing grapes!

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