In order to grow delicious grapes in the home garden, you have to choose an appropriate variety. Many different ones are offered, but not all are suitable. You can try growing vines almost anywhere except in the mountains. In the home garden there are rarely more than one or two. Before you buy, you should find out which wine suits the region. You can also look in the neighborhood to see if anyone has grown wine. If this works well, you can try the same varieties. Nurseries also offer some varieties, but these are often standard varieties and not always suitable for the area. You have to get advice on that.

Own experience

We bought our two vines at a garden fair. The suppliers came from Siberia and guaranteed us the winter hardiness of these plants from their homeland.

Here in Lower Saxony we haven’t had any problems with overwintering and we harvest delicious grapes, more every year. The good thing is that these grapes ripen early. They don’t take as long to become sweet and juicy as regular grapes. I don’t think that’s bad. Our neighbors’ grapes are still sour at the time of our harvest. However, I dare to doubt whether these are actually plants from Siberia.

The fact is that the choice of plants is very important for the success of the campaign. I would like to take this opportunity to point out that anyone who, in addition to the grapes, is also speculating on a beautiful autumn color of the leaves must choose a blue variety. Only their leaves are colored. The foliage of the green grapes stays green until the end.

Suitable grape varieties

The selection depends primarily on the location conditions. It is therefore necessary to know the varietal characteristics of the vines. This is better than what we did. Simply buying without knowing anything about the vine is not ideal. But we were just lucky and didn’t know any better at the time.

The following criteria are important for the selection:

  • time of maturity
  • time of expulsion
  • Frost hardness
  • need of care
  • Susceptibility to fungal diseases

Early maturing varieties are significantly more suitable for all locations that are not ideal. Otherwise you still have to choose whether you prefer a neutral or rather an aromatic, spicy or nutmeg-like variety. You can also choose between white, blue and red vines.

Resistant varieties are ideal. They are particularly resistant to the most important fungal diseases. You save the treatment with sprays and the collection of the infested leaves in autumn. I always have a lot to do there, because our neighbors’ wine is always totally infested and full of white fungus spores.


The grapevine likes the sun. She also prefers a temperate climate. The more sun the grapes get, the better the wine. Hardly anyone wants to get a price for their wine in the house garden, the main thing is that the grapes taste good. Viticulture usually stops at altitudes of over 400 m above sea level. That’s going to be difficult. If the conditions are good all around, you can also try cultivation in unfavorable regions.

  • Sheltered and sunniest place in the garden.
  • It is ideal if there is a warm wall behind it. This increases mean temperatures by about 2°C.
  • A planting site surrounded by walls is also favorable.
  • Unfavorable are:
  • Frequent frosts and temperatures below -15°C
  • Late frosts to be expected regularly after budding in spring
  • Early frosts before leaf fall in autumn

plant substrate

When it comes to the plant substrate, the vine is not quite as demanding as the location. The ground must not be rocky. A high proportion of humus is beneficial. In any case, a water-permeable and loose soil is important.

  • Soil not too calcareous or too acidic
  • pH not below 5 and not above 7.5.
  • if the soil contains a lot of humus, the vine can also cope with less favorable soil conditions.
  • The soil must be loose, well aerated and permeable to water.
  • A deep substrate is favourable
  • Roots have a lot of space and can absorb water and nutrients well


Planting is important. Grape vines are not that easy to move if they are badly placed. Soil preparation is important. You do that in the fall. Then the ground should rest. Container plants are easy to plant. Seedlings take a little more work. The following instructions are intended for seedlings.

  • Loosen the soil to a depth of 40 cm in autumn
  • Add well rotted compost
  • Planting area of ​​20 x 30 cm is sufficient
  • Distance to walls at least 20 cm
  • The best planting time is from April to May
  • When planting in the fall, there is a risk of frost and moisture damage
  • Planting distance from vine to vine for row planting, pergolas or high trellis walls 1 m to 1.5 m depending on vigor and variety
  • With a horizontal cordon, distances of 2 to 3 m
  • When planting in rows, as on the plantations, keep a distance of 1.5 to 2 m
  • Water the plant for 10 to 12 hours
  • Dig a planting hole, 35 cm deep
  • Mix the excavation with 1 to 2 liters of potting soil and pour it into the planting hole in a cone shape
  • Place the young vine or seedling on the cone. The roots are distributed on all sides.
  • The grafting point must be 3 to 4 cm above the soil surface!
  • Fill in the soil carefully. In between, keep pressing and adding water so that empty spaces are washed up.
  • Don’t tread on the ground.
  • Work in the plant stake.

Water and fertilize

Grapevines don’t need much water at all. Proper fertilization is important. The vine extracts minerals from the soil for growth and fruit. You always have to provide supplies so that the vine develops well and produces plenty of sweet fruit. Wine mainly needs nitrogen (N), potassium (K), phosphate (P), calcium (K) and magnesium (M). Trace elements are also required, boron (B), iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu) and molybdenum (Mo). But before you start fertilizing wildly, a soil analysis makes sense. This should be repeated every 4 to 7 years.


  • Important for growth
  • In the absence of nitrogen, the leaves remain small and very light green, the vines grow poorly and the petioles are red.


  • Important for flowering and fruit formation
  • Increases resilience
  • A defect can be recognized in older leaves by a leaf blade that has turned purple.


  • Supports the flowering process and fruit set
  • Important for building protein
  • Wood maturity and frost hardness are increased
  • Deficiency can only be detected in acidic soils and is indicated by spot-like, coalesced browning of the leaf edges

calcium (lime)

  • Strengthens the cell walls
  • Important for metabolic control
  • Deficiency can be recognized by burns and browning of the leaf edges
  • Too much lime can lead to chlorosis (yellowing of the leaves from the tip of the shoot).


  • Responsible for chlorophyll (leaf green)
  • If there is a deficiency, yellowish (white varieties) or reddish (red varieties) discolorations can be seen between the leaf veins, mainly on the lower leaves.

Which fertilizer at what time

  • Nitrogen fertilization in April – fertilizer containing ammonia
  • All other fertilizers in the fall
  • Potash fertilizer – 40% potash fertilizer with 5% magnesium
  • Phosphatdünger – Thomasphosphat or Novaphos
  • Lime fertilization for light soils with carbonate of lime and heavy soils with burnt lime
  • Magnesium Fertilizer – Kieserite
  • In the case of complex fertilizers, the nutrient ratio is often incorrect

To cut

Detailed instructions for pruning under ” Pruning vines – Instructions for pruning “.


Vines can easily be propagated from cuttings or offshoots. But there is a catch. It’s legal again. In Germany, vines may only be grown (grafted) on phylloxera-resistant rootstock. Ungrafted plants may not be planted out. There may be high penalties, especially in wine-growing regions.

Vines are propagated vegetatively via cuttings. Seedlings are not so well suited, they split very much. Cuttings are grown in most cases in specialist companies. That makes sense, because this rather cumbersome procedure aims to combat phylloxera. In years of tests, the researchers found that American vines are very resistant to phylloxera at the roots, while European varieties have leaves on which the pest cannot develop. That’s why you combine the two. Shoots or shoots of European varieties are grafted onto long, woody shoots of American grape varieties. They are so-called grafts. Young vines are not expensive. The money is well spent.

Normal propagation from cuttings is very simple.

  • After cutting, cut off sticks, i.e. young shoots with about 3 to 4 knots.
  • Cut off the bottom piece at an angle.
  • Dip shoots in rooting powder and plant so that 2 nodes stick out above the ground.
  • A mixture of sand and humus 1:1 is suitable as a substrate
  • Keep soil slightly moist. Nothing else to do.
  • Even sinkers root quite easily.

diseases and pests

Despite all breeding successes, vines are often attacked by diseases and pests. Fungal infestation is the most common. In the case of animal pests, there are grape moths, mites, cicadas, rhomboid moths, springworms, grapevine weevils, weevils , scale insects and mealybugs in addition to phylloxera . Vineyards have to deal with diseases and pests much more often, but they also appear in the home garden from time to time. Powdery mildew and downy mildew are the most common. Diseases such as powdery mildew can often be avoided with resistant varieties.

Wrong mildew

  • Occurs after spring rains and temperatures above 8°C
  • within a day the hibernated form drives out and distributes its spores
  • Distribution by wind and rain
  • recognizable by translucent yellowish spots
  • a fungal lawn with many spores forms on the underside of the leaf
  • Infections are triggered again and again.
  • Leaves gradually turn brown and dry up
  • Berries turn blue-grey and shrivel.
  • Control only successful as a preventive measure
  • spray every 8 to 12 days from the end of May until the fruit is ripe.

powdery mildew

  • Mealy-looking, musty-smelling coating on leaves, shoots or grapes
  • Berries burst
  • woody shoots show mosaic-like, violet spots
  • Occurs on warm days with cool nights and high humidity
  • Attacks vines from budding into late summer and autumn months
  • Fighting is best preventive, with net sulfur
  • Repeat treatments regularly

gray rot (berry rot)

  • Caused by the weakness parasite Botrytis cinerea
  • Penetrates through wounds or weak tissue
  • can also spread to healthy tissue
  • Ideal conditions – temperatures between 18 and 20 °C and humid air.
  • A gray mesh forms
  • Ensure adequate ventilation and exposure as a preventive measure
  • Not too much nitrogen fertilizer
  • Fighting with synthetic downy mildew agents

black spot disease

  • fungus
  • elongated, brown, kidney-shaped spots that split open in the middle
  • Edges are raised somewhat like a bulge
  • Leaves, leaf and grape stalks can be affected
  • Buds no longer sprout
  • Whole parts can die off
  • Fight with downy mildew agents when they sprout

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