Growing Grapes in the UK – How to Grow Grape Vines Indoors & Outdoors

Growing grapes in the UK climate is very achieveable. There’s nothing more satisfying than producing your own sweet and delicious fruit and harvesting direct from the grapevine. If you plant the right variety, you can grow a bountiful crop of grapes indoors or outdoors in the UK.

grapevine featuring growing grapes
If you choose the right variety, you can grow your own grapes in the UK with relative ease.

Most grape varieties come from the cultivar Vitis vinifera, which a grapevine native to the Mediterranean and Central Asia. There’s even evidence that the Romans attempted to create vineyards in the UK during their occupation of the country. If you wish to create a spot in a garden or greenhouse to grow a grapevine, you’ll need trellising or a sunny wall to support the plant. So long as you plant a hardy variety that will do well in the UK climate, there’s no barrier to success in producing a crop.

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Growing Grapes Outdoors in the UK

Growing grapes in your garden is as easy as growing any other type of soft fruit. As long as you have a south-facing garden in a relatively warm area you should have no problems growing grapes outside.

Alternatively, you can grow them inside a greenhouse if you live in the north of the UK.

Grapes are hardy plants that can be grown outside in the UK. For the most part, this is achievable for gardeners in warmer Southern areas.

The RHS advises that the best chance of success lies in areas south of the line between Pembroke and the Wash.

That said, with climate change meaning warmer temperatures for many areas of the UK, it is always worth experimenting and researching what’s achieveable in your own area. Regardless, once you get a grape vine established you will get a good harvest.

Our guides on what to do with a grape glut, and how to freeze grapes will help you work out how to deal with an abundant harvest. What a great fruit problem to have!

Planting A Grape Vine Outdoors

The best time to plant a grapevine is from October until March. Choose a south-facing position and grow the vine up a wall or sturdy structure, such as a pillar.

  • Dig a hole 15cm deep and 15cm away from the support (wall, pillar, etc).
  • Place the rootball in the hole, refill the space with soil and gently tread the soil around the stem to firm it into place.
  • Cover the soil surface around the vine with a thick mulch of well-rotted manure or compost to help protect the roots from frost.

Growing Grapes in a Greenhouse

If you live in a colder area, you can easily grow a grapevine in your greenhouse and enjoy sweet, delicious fruit.

This can be an excellent use of space if you’re able to train the vines around the higher areas. As these aren’t usually used for growing, it can increase greenhouse productivity. If you do grow under glass, you will achieve better quality and flavour from the fruit.

Grapes need to be grown in a greenhouse or sun room if you intend to grow the vines under glass. The vines require lots of sunlight to grow. They will not flourish inside a house even when light levels are high because the environment is too dry.

How to Plant Grapevines in a Greenhouse

There are two methods to plant grapes under glass:-

  1. Plant the root outside the greenhouse against the wall and train in via a small hole. This method of cultivation is often applied to vines that are grown in greenhouses with concrete floors. However, it is important to provide ventilation (usually via an open window) for grapes grown under glass. This ensures that humidity levels are reduced as the fruits ripen.This is also a popular method because it allows the root system plentiful access to natural rainfall.
  2. Plant inside in a border or container. If you choose to plant your vine inside your greenhouse you will most likely achieve earlier and more vigorous growth of the vine and plentiful fruit production.

Soil Requirements

For both methods, you will need to ensure the root has access to free draining soil.

The vines will tolerate a range of soil types, however if you have heavy soil in your garden you will need to improve it before planting.

Well rotted manure and grit will help create a free draining growth medium.

Space Requirements

You do not need a lot of space at your disposal to grow grapes indoors or outdoors.

You will need to prune and train your vine, as they can become quite large and rambling if left unchecked. As long as your chosen site has plentiful light, you should enjoy a successful crop.

Choosing a Grape Variety

Once you’ve decided where you will plant your grapes, you will need to research which grape varieties are best for your chosen location.

For cultivating outdoors, it is best to choose a grape variety suited for the outdoors. These include:

  • Meuller-Thurgau – a mid-season maturing sweet, white grape, suitable for desserts, or wine-making.
  • Siegerrebe – an acid-loving early fruiting variety, with green/gold berries, ideal for making wine.

Indoor varieties (ideal for being grown in a greenhouse) include:

  • Black Hamburgh – a well-known variety, bearing large, blue-black berries.
  • Thompson’s Seedless – this variety produces green dessert grapes and can be grown successfully in a cold greenhouse.

Growing Grapes In Pots

A grapevine will grow happily in a pot and produce grapes every year if well cared for. Grapevines can be kept in large pots for several years.

To maintain a healthy grapevine in a pot, top-dress every spring. Simply remove 15cm of compost from the top of the pot and replace with a fresh layer of well-rotted manure or compost.

Regular watering and feeding during the growing season will be required to maintain nutrient levels to ensure the plant grows properly.

Grapes are a fantastic fruit to grow in your garden. They can be grown indoors in a greenhouse or conservatory, or grown outdoors along a wall or in a container. You can eat the grapes fresh on their own or in salads, or even try your hand at making your own wine.

Grape Pests And Diseases

A common pest of grapes grown in greenhouses is red spider mite. The mites thrive in hot, dry conditions and can devastate a plant if allowed to spread.

Maintaining good hygiene will reduce the problem. Misting the plant will increase humidity (creating adverse conditions for the pest), however humidity can also hamper the quality of the berries.

37 thoughts on “Growing Grapes in the UK – How to Grow Grape Vines Indoors & Outdoors

  1. Graham Page says:

    I have a Muscat Alexandria grape vine planted inside a greenhouse that has vigorous growth but hasn’t fruited, it’s been in for two years, the root isn’t planted in direct sunlight and the greenhouse doesn’t get too hot but is double glazed and retains good warmth. Is there anything I can do.

  2. kings says:

    I Would Like To StarT Grow Grape In My Country Cameroon. Which species Will Be Best And How Can’t I Get Them? Thanks. I’ll Be Waiting.

  3. Dawn Hoskins says:

    What product can I buy to get rid of Black Rot? Our vine was decimated this year – but I can’t find what product to use or where to buy it! I should point out that I am in the UK unlike many of your readers. Thanks, Dawn.

  4. Dawn Hoskins says:

    What product can I buy to get rid of Black Rot? Our vine was decimated this year – but I can’t find what product to use or where to buy it!

  5. Nievume says:

    Hello. I will like to grow a grapevine at the back of my house in Delta State Nigeria, West Africa. Is this possible? Where do I start from? Please help me. Thank you. Orakpor Austine

  6. Ohams says:

    I want to know if we have any grapes producing farmers here in Nigeria, if yes please i will like to know where they are on have information about them. Thanks.

  7. Chofor says:

    I am a young Cameroonian? who wishes to get into the field of grape farming for wine making in Cameroon. So I wish to know if grapes can be grown in Cameroon, how to grow them and how can I get the seedlings

  8. Chofor says:

    I am a young Cameroonians who wishes to get into the field of grape farming for wine So I wish to know if it is possible to grow grapes in Cameroon and how can I go about it and how can I get the seedlings

  9. kunfayo says:

    Hello. I will like to grow a grapevine at the back of my house in Ogun State Nigeria, West Africa. Is this possible? Where do I start from? Please help me. Thank you. kunfayo

  10. Tora says:

    My mum brought me a vitis grape vine. I have no graden and I’m growing it in my bay window. I’m completely new to growing grapes, any advice would be great. There were grapes on it when it was brought but in each bunch there is still a few green grapes in each bunch, do I pick them or wait till there all rippend,?

    • AdamC67 says:

      @Tora – You should wait until they are ripened which is autumn in the UK. Your vine will also need something to climb up – but it’s fine to grow a vine indoors as long as it gets plenty of sunlight.

  11. Viner says:

    Hey- I just got a farm land in Abuja and would love to commercially farm grapes. Any advise or write up that can help? Best

    • Fruit Expert says:

      @BLAZYN10 – I’m afraid we do not have this information where you can buy locally as we are a UK-based site. You may be able to buy one online and have the plant shipped to you direct, if you can’t find one to buy locally.

  12. ZAG says:

    Kaduna had started experiencing rainfall, how best do I protect my newly planted grapes leaves from excessive rain drop. I was made to understand that the leaves usually get fungi infection when water constantly drops on them

    • Fruit Expert says:

      @ZAG – You don’t say how many vines you are growing i.e whether you are growing to farm, or whether you just have one of two vines. If you can construct some form of removable shelter, then this would help both protect the grapes from water damage and subsequently grape rot and the likes of downy mildew or brown spot.

  13. ZAG says:

    After reading your response to the Maiduguri grape farmer, Central Kaduna, will partial shade suit the newly planted grapes?

    • Fruit Expert says:

      @ZAG – It depends on the climate you are growing your grapes in. Obviously, if you are growing grapes in searing heat, then your grapes will experience sun damage, so in this case partial shade is best. However, grapes do need sun and if you grow them in a shady area then the fruit will be considerably smaller. A warm sheltered area is good where the sun is not too hot, but there is plenty of warm sun throughout the growing day. Cool evenings are also beneficial. If you feel you have too much sun, you can manage the canopy of the leaves to protect the grapes. Do as much research as you can into the best place in your garden and the surrounding macro and micro-climates and you will be fine.

  14. Ghwana says:

    Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria is a relatively a hot climate region. I planted my grapevine more than five years ago. It has grow well into a tree; but produced not a single fruit. I need an advice on how to make my grapevine a productive one.

    • Fruit Expert says:

      @Ghwana – How frustrating for you! There could be many reasons. You speak as though it is a lone grapevine and while there are a few male plants that never develop grapes, namely (Vitis riparia or vitis rotundifolia Michx), most do. However, your vine will need nearby female or male plants in order to cross pollinate which will help produce your fruit. This is usually helped by the wind or insects, but there does need to be other plants in the region in order to allow this to happen. Another reason may be lack of pruning. You don’t say what your plant is grown in. Vines love well-drained, soil. If the soil contains too much nitrogen, or if you’ve over-fertilized then your plant may produce beautiful flowers and leaves, but no fruit. Many professional vine growers also prune their vines radically in the cooler months, this helps to produce a new abundance of fruit. There are also certain diseases that can damage leaf and flower buds that will prevent growth. You don’t say how your vine is positioned, whether in full sun or partial shade, this may also have an impact. You can do a bit of online research when you have weighed up these facts and I’m sure you will come up with some answers, or you can find out more information via the link here. Good luck.

  15. G. says:

    What is variety of grape pictured at the top, please? I have been given a bagfull of them and wanted to know what are they best to make? Ta, G.

    • Fruit Expert says:

      @Kaka – grapes can be grown in areas of Nigeria where it is more temperate. They would need to specific care and an adequate amount of water. Places such as Jos may be more agreeable because of its cooler climate (18 °C – to 25 °), plus its higher elevation above sea level which makes for cooler breezes which can help aid growth.

  16. dag says:

    Thank you Marches for elaborating and balancing out type of grapes that can be grown in UK. I find advice on grapes has been quite notorious, despite up to date information, same is quoted with small modifications. It has taken me several hours to get to your post.

  17. Marches says:

    The thing is we’re always getting sold the same old varieties. None of them are particularly disease resistant except Seyval and most of the outdoor types give small seedy grapes not so good for eating and often too acidic for that in our climate. But so many table grapes (eating grapes) have been developed which do perfectly well here, are disease resistant, ripen early, produce better yields, have fine flavours and some are seedless too. For eating I’d recommend Muscat bleu and Esther (both blue seeded grapes). Jupiter, Canadice, Himrod, Swenson red, Somerset seedless are also very good and seedless. Some good, easy and disease resistant wine grapes are Phoenix, Solaris (both white) and Regent and Rondo (both red) Varieties for cooler northern areas and Scotland are Solaris and Rondo for wine and Somerset is good for eating. Somerset seedless is even successfully grown in Norway, Finland and Northern Russia. Many more are also suitable but are not widely available yet. The best place to get these from is Sunnybank vines and they’ll also give you advice if you need on what the flavours are like, what is suitable for your area, etc.

  18. PJ4 says:

    I have just purchased a 3yr old Black Hamburgh grapevine, which at the moment is growing in a container in a unheated greenhouse, should I leave it in the container or would it be better, either planted outside and trained in through a hole in a polycarbonate panel or planted inside? I had five bunches of grapes which had a beautiful flavour but rather small. your advice would be much appreciated.

    • Fruit Expert says:

      @PJ4 – The Black Hamburg is a vigorous grape vine that grows well in a ventilated greenhouse, as well as outside against a south or south-west facing wall. Although it is one of the easiest grapes to grow, it only sets fruit outdoors after a long, hot summer, whereas in a greenhouse it sets freely, producing large bunches of dark red or purple grapes year after year. An unheated greenhouse is better than a heated one, as natural ventilation is always better for your vine. Regarding the container, if you want it to grow freely and have lots of grapes then outside planting would be better as grape roots can travel downwards by around 30ft, making for more fruit in September. Grapes grown in the UK are always smaller and fuller flavoured due to our cooler climate, and if you are comparing them in size with the table grapes we see in the supermarkets – they have a very high water content. Happy growing.

  19. liz says:

    I planted a ‘Flame’ grapevine in my greenhouse in the spring. It has grown well and looks very healthy – but no flowers – help please!

  20. Austin says:

    Can grapes be grown in Nigeria(West Africa) soil successfully, which location is suitable and how do I go about it.

  21. Moe says:

    I am wanting to grow grapes across a flat wired surface about 6 feet from the ground. two of the plants would be from a garden bed. The other two plants would be growing from a large ceramic planter. They would grow up a lattice structure to the flat plastic wired square structure where hopefully, they would branch and spread out with the fruit eventually hanging down from the 6 foot height. This is proposed for a garden on the central coast of New South Wales in Australia. Any suggestions that might help would be appreciated as I am a novice, but enthusiastic gardener.

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