Container Grown Grapes: Tips For Planting Grapevines In Pots

Grape Vine Growing From Container Next To Grapes
container grape
(Image credit: Алик Фатхутдинов)

If you don’t have the space or soil for a traditional garden, containers are a great alternative; and grapes, believe it or not, handle container life very well. Keep reading to learn more about how to grow grapes in a container.

Tips for Planting Grapevines in Pots

Can grapes be grown in containers? Yes, they can. In fact, the care of container grown grapes isn’t at all complicated. There are, however, a few things you need to know beforehand to make growing a grapevine in a pot an easier, more successful endeavor. Growing a grapevine in a pot requires some specific materials. 

First, you need to pick your container. Black or dark colored plastic pots heat up in the sun and can cause your grapevine’s roots to get too hot. Wooden containers are a good alternative. If you have to use dark plastic, try to arrange your container so that it stays in the shade but your vine is in the sun. Your container should also be a minimum of 15 gallons (57 L.). 

The next thing you need is a good trellis. This can be any shape or material you like, as long as it’s strong and will last. As your grapevine grows (and it will grow for many years), it will have to hold up a lot of material. Grapevines are typically grown from cuttings. The best time to plant your cutting is early autumn. 

Put stones or Styrofoam in the bottom of your container for drainage, then add soil and a layer of mulch. Grapes will grow in nearly any type of soil, but they prefer moist silt loam. They need virtually no fertilizer, but if you choose to feed them, use a fertilizer low in nitrogen.

Maintaining Your Container Grown Grapes

Allow your vine to grow freely until the first frost. This gives it time to establish a good root system. After this, prune the new growth way back so that only two buds remain. Buds are little pimple-like protrusions on the trunk. 

The pruning may seem drastic, but in the spring each of these buds will grow into a new branch. Grapevines take some time and effort before payoff, and container grown grapes are no different. 

You won’t actually see any grapes until the second full year of growth. The first year is for training the vine to follow your trellis with tying and pruning. Due to the size restrictions of a container, you should keep only one or two branches growing from your central trunk. 

Also, prune away any runners that creep away from the trellis. Especially with limited roots, a smaller vine makes for higher quality grapes.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.