Evergreen or deciduous, woody climbing shrubs, grown for their attractive autumn foliage and/or fruits. This genus includes edible grape vines along with other ornamental types.
Family: Vitaceae (vine)
Botanical Name: Vitis
Common Names: Grape vine, ornamental vine.
Foliage: Deciduous, large lobed, mid green leaves.
Flowers: Insignificant tiny green flowers.
Flowering Period: May.
Soil: Well-drained soil (chalk, sand or loam). Alkaline to neutral pH.
Conditions: Full sun. Plant in a west or south facing aspect, in a sheltered location.
Type: Perennial woody climber.
Origin: Widely spread across the northern hemisphere.
Hardiness: Fairly hardy in UK, down to about -10°C.
Plant bare root vines from November to March. Can be grown in any ordinary, moisture retentive soil, so long as it is not too acid nor very alkaline.
Site in a south or west-facing aspect to ensure fruits ripen properly. Ornamental forms can be grown up wires, over a pergola or trellis or allowed to scramble through trees or shrubs.
Top-dress annually with well-rotted manure, humus or compost.
Ornamentals can be pruned in late summer, where necessary, to restrict growth and maintain shape. Fruiting vines should be pruned according to the training method used.
Susceptible to attack by Aphids and scale insects.
Sow seeds of species under glass in spring, in small pots of good seed compost. Cultivars won't come true from seed. Alternatively, layer one-year-old stems in spring or summer.
Vitis coignetiae (crimson-glory vine) is a hardy deciduous climber with large thick, lobed green leaves. Provides good autumn colour. The green flowers in May are followed by purple-black fruits (inedible). Height and spread of 80ft (25m) or more. For sale at Crocus.
Vitis vinifera (wine grape) a hardy deciduous climber with large lobed, mid green leaves. Black or amber-green edible fruits. Most cultivated grapes spring from this species. Height and spread up to 40ft (12m). Cultivar 'Purpurea' is often grown its colourful foliage through summer and autumn.