What are the Best Tips for Planting Grape Vines?

Susan Grindstaff

One of the most important tips for planting grape vines is to have a full understanding of the type of vine you are using. Different types of vines may have various needs. Typically, any type of grape vine needs to be planted in a sunny location and will likely require careful trellising. In addition, the plants generally need weekly watering, especially in times of drought. Once the vines begin to grow, it is essential that they be pruned yearly, as overgrown vines will not produce as many grapes.


When planting grape vines, it is very important to place them with enough space between each vine. The amount of space needed depends on the type of plant. Some grape vines grow quickly and produce more heavily. These should be planted from 6-8 feet (1.8-2.4 m) apart. Other, less hardy varieties can usually be planted up to 4 feet (1.2 m) apart.

Covering the vines with netting will protect the grapes from birds.
Covering the vines with netting will protect the grapes from birds.

One of the reasons grape vines tend to climb is because they are trying to get closer to the sun. To be successful when planting grape vines, probably nothing is considered more important than the amount of sun that is available. Most all varieties of grape vines need lots of sun. Planting them even in just partial shade can result in stunted growth and smaller grapes.

Sometimes it takes some experimentation to determine how best to trellis grape vines. They can be staked separately or trained together to cover entire canopies. Just as in determining how much space to leave when planting, how the vines are trellised is usually determined by the variety and future size of the plant. Single staking is usually reserved for larger, faster growing varieties.

Pruning is essential when growing grape vines, because it can make the difference in the size and quality of the grapes produced. Though it is recommended that pruning be done on a yearly basis, in some instances, depending on growth, it may be necessary to do it more often. Most gardeners agree that the ideal time to prune grape vines is in the winter months. This is typically when the vines have less sap, which makes the process easier and less messy.

Good soil is another important consideration when planting grape vines. The vines should be fertilized if the soil they are planted in does not contain the proper nutrients. Ideally, the soil should contain at least some nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. If any of these nutrients are missing from the soil, they should be added by means of fertilizer. Organic fertilizer is typically recommended and can be purchased at most garden centers or nurseries.

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