As I mentioned in the previous post, I will do a series of posts about questions new grape growers ask.

Today I want to discuss another question asked by so many grape growers: “Can I grow grapes from seeds?”

Because it is very hard to get hold of planting material or cuttings, in some parts of the world, grape growers are forced to try and grow grapes from seeds extracted from the grapes they buy in supermarkets or grocery stores.

Growing grapes from seeds is not the ideal way of reproducing a grape vine as the genetics of a variety is not completely carried over by the seeds – in other words, if you plant a Concord seed, and you successfully get the seed to germinate, the chances are good that the new grape vine will not have all the true Concord characteristics!

This is a very time consuming process as it can take up to three years to propagate a new grape vine from seeds.

Another big problem with growing grapes from seeds is the fact that a very low percentage of the seeds will germinate.  The grape seed is covered with a very tough seed coat that keeps the seed dormant until ideal conditions for germination.  The seeds from grapes, needs to go through a process called stratification to obtain a higher germination percentage.

Stratification of grape seeds:

The stratification or cold treatment of grape seeds is essential if you want to succeed with growing a grape vine from seeds. 

After extracting the seeds from the berries, you need to put the seeds in peat moss or damp paper towel, inside a refrigerator for at least 2 to 3 months.  The peat moss must be kept damp throughout the whole process, but not too wet (soggy).  The ideal temperature for stratification is 35 – 40 ºF (1 – 3 ºC) and should be kept at this temperature throughout the whole process.

Grape seeds can be held in stratification for a long time (even years), as the seeds will not germinate under these cold conditions.

Planting out the seeds:

After stratification, take the seeds from the refrigerator and plant them in seed pots and ensure the temperature is about 70ºF (20ºC) during daytime.  If your climate is cold, you can use heat mats to increase the minimum temperature.  Heat up the seed pots at night if your temperature is lower than 15ºC.

After a few weeks (if you are lucky), then some of the seeds will germinate.  After the seedling is about 1 – 2 inches high, it can be planted out in a bigger pot.  Make sure you keep the soil moist, but not too wet.  It is advisable to grow the seedlings in the pots for a full year, before planting them out.

If you have successfully grown grapes from seeds, let us know about how you did it by adding a comment below.

Take care

Danie

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