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Can Grape Vines Be Started From Grape Seeds?

Grapevines grown from seed will not be genetically identical to the cultivar that produced the seed. Concord grape seeds may grow grape vines that are a very different variety. Grafting cuttings and layering are propagation methods that produce identical grapevines. Growing from seed is the method necessary for developing new grape varieties. Home gardeners should know that it is illegal to propagate patented grapevine varieties.
  1. Collect the Seeds

    • Choose well-developed, fully ripe, large grapes from the fall harvest. When the seeds are taken from the grape pulp they are placed in peat moss or a damp paper towel and put in the refrigerator. Grape seeds in their pulp are sometimes kept in moist, cool sand to overwinter until spring. This cold period is called stratification and it ensures a higher rate of seed germination. The ideal temperature for stratification is 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit for two to three months.

    Planting Medium

    • Grape seeds are grown in either a seed-bed flat or individual pots for the first year. The most effective planting medium is light and rich, such as well-decomposed leaf mold or commercially available potting mix. Sow the grape seeds 1 inch apart and ¾ inch deep. They germinate in one to two weeks. The optimum temperature for seed germination and growth of the young grape seedlings is 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.

    First Year Growth

    • Young grape plants need to be protected from sunscald but not over-protected. Using a canopy of nursery cloth during extreme hot weather protects plants from withering, but they also need to be toughened by normal sun exposure. When the plants reach 6 inches in height, small sticks are placed next to the stem. Grapevines cling easily to the sticks and begin to develop a sturdy stem. Light mulch around the base of the plant prevents the developing root system from drying out.

    Second Year Growth

    • All diseased or weak grapevines are removed by their second spring growth phase. They are now ready to transplant to their permanent garden location in soil that has been enriched with mature composted organic matter. The tops of the plants are pruned back to 6 inches of growth and roots shortened to 6 inches from the stem. They are planted in an 8-inch deep hole with a cone of soil in the middle. The small, delicate roots are spread carefully over the cone before filling the hole with soil. Place a 4-foot stake next to each small plant to provide the vine support.