Live in zone 8 and want to grow grapes? The great news is that there is undoubtedly a type of grape suited for zone 8. What grapes grow in zone 8? Read on to find out about growing grapes in zone 8 and recommended zone 8 grape varieties.
About Zone 8 Grapes
The United States Department of Agriculture encompasses a very large chunk of the U.S. in zone 8, from the majority of the Pacific Northwest down into Northern California and a great deal of the South, including parts of Texas and Florida. A USDA zone is meant to be a guideline, a gist if you will, but in USDA zone 8 there are a myriad of microclimates.
That means that grapes suited for growing in Georgia’s zone 8 may not be suited for a Pacific Northwest zone 8. Because of these microclimates, a call to your local extension office would be wise before selecting grapes for your area. They can help lead you to the correct zone 8 grape varieties for your specific region of zone 8.
What Grapes Grow in Zone 8?
There are three basic types of bunch grapes grown in the United States: the European bunch grape (Vitis vinifera), the American bunch grape (Vitis labrusca) and the summer grape (Vitis aestivalis). V. vinifeta can be grown in USDA zones 6-9 and V. labrusca in zones 5-9.
These aren’t the only options for zone 8 grapes, however. There are also muscadine grapes, Vitis rotundifolia, a native North American grape that are tolerant of heat and are often grown in the southern U.S. These grapes are black to dark purple and produce about a dozen large grapes per cluster. They thrive in USDA zones 7-10.
Lastly, there are the hybrid grapes which are bred from rootstock taken from the ancient European or American cultivars. Hybrids were developed in 1865 to combat the disastrous devastation wreaked on vineyards by the grape root aphid. Most of the hybrids are hardy in USDA zones 4-8.
How to Grow Grapes for Zone 8
Once you have decided on the type of grape you wish to plant, make sure you purchase them from a reputable nursery, one that has certified virus-free stock. Vines should be healthy, one-year-old plants. Most grapes are self-fertile, but be sure to inquire in case you need more than one vine for pollination.
Select a site for the vine in full sun or at the very least morning sun. Construct or install a trellis or arbor prior to planting. Plant dormant, bare root grapes in the early spring. Prior to planting, soak the roots in water for 2-3 hours.
Space the vines 6-10 feet (2-3 m.) apart or 16 feet (5 m.) for muscadine grapes. Dig a hole that is a foot deep and wide (30.5 cm.). Fill the hole partway with soil. Trim any broken roots from the vine and set it into the hole a bit deeper than it grew in the nursery. Cover the roots with soil and tamp down. Fill the rest of the hole in with soil but don’t tamp down.
Prune the top back to 2-3 buds. Water in well.