When you think of growing grapes at home, you likely imagine sprawling vineyards across rolling hills, Tuscan-style: totally unattainable for the small home garden. But that’s not your only option! Grapes can be trained to take up little space, which means they can thrive in containers as well as in-ground. In fact, they are easy to grow in pots and provide endless satisfaction, as well as delicious fruit. If you’re going to grow grapes in containers, however, you should give serious consideration to what the best soil for grapes in pots is. Good thing we’ve got you covered!
Keep reading to learn about the best soil for grapes in pots!
Why Grow Grapes in Pot?
Before we get to what the best soil for grapes in pots is, let’s talk about why you’d want to grow grapes in pots in the first place.
The obvious answer is that if you don’t have enough space for an entire vineyard, growing grapes in pots is a great option for your home garden or greenhouse. As mentioned above, grapes can be trained to thrive and grow within very little space, which makes them perfect plants for containers.
Plus, plants in containers are 100% more mobile than in-ground plants! That means you landscaping needs remain flexible, and you don’t have to stress about picking the perfect location for your grape plant from the get-go, since you can learn from trial and error.
Additionally, grapes in containers can produce fruit just as well as in-ground grapes—which means that growing grape plants in pots is a great way to have grape fruit for eating fresh, pressing, and wine-making all season long, without needing to live on a vineyard!
What Makes Soil Good for Grapes?
Before we dive into the best soil for grapes in pots, let’s also review what types of soils are out there in the first place. The best soil for any plant will be one that best fulfills its needs.
Types of Soil
- Soil Amendments: as the name might suggest, soil amendments are mixed into the soil that already exists in your garden (called native soil) to “amend” specific issues regarding things like pH level, moisture retention, nutrients, richness, water drainage, and more. Some examples of soil amendments include but are not limited to peat moss (improves water and nutrients retention, and drainage), soil conditioner (improves aeration and drainage), and lime and sulfur (increases and lowers pH levels respectively).
- Topsoil: in nature, topsoil is the top layer of soil in the ground, where the greatest amount of organic material lives. In gardening as well, topsoil is soil that has organic material (like leaves and other natural debris) that helps plants grow, but it is not enriched or amended at all. That means it’s great for leveling the earth and filling in holes, but should not be used when planting.
- Garden Soil: garden soil is a premixed blend of enriched topsoil and other amendments (like the soil amendments listed in the first bullet point) also meant to support a good pH level, nutrient level, soil consistency and density, and more by mixing it with your native soil. There exist a wide variety of garden soils, so it’s important to pick the one that works best for your geographic location, planting needs, and climate. Garden soil is used to support in-ground gardening.
- Raised Bed Soil: as you might imagine, raised bed soil is the perfect soil mix for raised garden beds. Garden soil and native soil are both too compact to use on their own. Raised bed soil has a higher content of both nutrients and organic matter, and is applied in a thick layer over the native soil upon which you build raised beds. An alternative to raised bed soil is a half-and-half mix of garden soil and potting soil. Though you might assume that raised bed soil would thus be good for potted plants too, it’s really only versatile for very large containers.
- Potting Soil: last but not least, the soil you’ve all been waiting for! Potting soil (also called potting mix) is meant to sustain both indoor and outdoor potted plants with good drainage, aeration, and room for their roots to grow. It usually includes peat moss, pine bark, and perlite and/or vermiculite. Potting soil should be changed every year.
Best Soil for Grapes in Pots
Given the list of soil types above, perhaps you’ve guessed already that we can narrow our options of best soil for grapes in pots down to potting soil. The truth is that grapes are great because they are forgiving and do well in different types of soils, but of course, they have their preferences. So the search continues!
Here is what the best soil for grapes in pots should include:
- A pH level of 5.0 to 6.8.
- Sandier soil instead of chalky. Sand in the soil helps promote drainage and avoid soggy, compressed roots.
- Nitrogen and potassium: to support foliage and plant growth, water absorption, and to control levels of acidity in the grape’s fruit.
- Magnesium: for healthy foliage, plant growth, and fruit production.
- Zinc: for the growth and development of the plant. A lack of zinc will cause your fruit production of smaller grapes, along with a whole other host of problems.
- Organic materials: this is just necessary for healthy plant growth in general! Just because your grapes are in a pot, doesn’t mean they still don’t need all those good organisms and microbes.
- Silty loam: a type of soil composed of sand, silt, and clay, in which the percentage of sand and silt is to varying degrees more than that of clay. Silty loam is loose and rich.
Best Soil for Grapes in Pots
1. Overall Best Soil for Grapes in Pots:
Miracle-Gro Potting Soil Mix
With more than 6000 positive reviews, this Miracle-Gro Potting Soil Mix has a reputation that proceeds it for helping your plants grow bigger and better.
- Feeds plants for up to 6 months
- Thousands of good reviews
- Comes in two sizes
- Solid nutrients, aeration, and water drainage
- Some reviews complain of debris in the soil
2. Best Organic Soil for Grapes in Pots:
Black Gold Natural And Organic Potting Soil
There’s no arguing that organic potting mix is great for your plants, just like organic food is great for you. That’s why this well-established brand is my number two in the best soil for grapes in pots list!
- Organic: “Listed by the organic materials review institute”
- Rick and loamy
- Perlite and pumice for aeration
- Comes in four sizes
- Some reviews complain of bug attraction
3. Best Fertilizing Soil for Grapes in Pots:
FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix
This potting soil has a pH level intentionally regulated for “optimum fertilizer uptake.” You don’t find that in all potting soil!
- Regulated pH for fertilizer uptake
- Lightweight: great aeration
- Engineered for indoor and outdoor potted plants
- Great organic material content
- Reviews complain that it attracts gnats
- A bit more expensive than other potting soils
Tips For Growing Grapes in Pots
Now that I’ve given you my thoughts on the best soil for grapes in pots, let’s get to some tips on how to pick one for yourself, and then use it to grow your own grapes!
- Get advice from your local garden center. They should be able to suggest the best potting mix for your geographical location, climate, and the pests and diseases that most impact the plants in your area.
- As for your container, try to avoid pots that are plastic and colored darkly (which absorb sunlight and might cause your plant to overheat) and definitely go for one with a volume of at least 15 gallons. I advise choosing a wooden container!
- If you suspect that the potting soil you ultimately chose is still too dense, you can mix in one-third grit, which helps with drainage.
- Grapes are usually grown from cuttings (the parts of grape vines that are pruned off during the dormant season) as opposed to growing them from seeds. You’ll be planting those cuttings early in the fall, after dipping them into root hormone to kick start the root growth.
- Pick a good, sturdy trellis to help your grapevine withhold the weight of its grapes! It will get very heavy during the growing season.
- Let your young grape vines grow without restraint until the first frost of winter to allow the plant to grow strong roots. Then, prune it aggressively, leaving only two buds (which will grow into branches in the next growing season). Don’t be intimidated by this—it’s necessary for the plant’s health, the quality of the fruit, and also to keep its growth restrained to the container it’s in.
- Remember that with homegrown grapes, slow and steady wins the race is the mindset you should be in. You won’t see any fruit production until the second year, so practice patience!
Wrapping Up the Best Soil For Grapes in Pots
Now that I’ve listed my top three brands for the best soil for grapes in pots, it’s time for you to go off and make your own choice! Remember the critical components of what grapes need in soil, especially that it should be silty and loamy. Next, read everything else you need to know about growing and caring for grapes!