Growing Grapes in Florida

Muscadines - Scuppernongs

Growing grapes in Florida is different because of the humidity. Why muscadines are prized by deep south growers. Care of Suppernongs in Fla. The best kind of land for growing grapes.

A grape vine growing at Leu Gardens Orlando.

A grape vine growing at Leu Gardens Orlando.

For 6 months of the year Florida weather is hot and steamy. This invites fungal disease in grape plants. Florida soil, like the soil in most of the southeastern United States, harbors every disease known to plague grapes.

And then there are the leafhoppers to consider.

One of the most deadly diseases a grape vine can contract is Pierce’s Disease (PD). PD clogs the vascular system of the grape vine causing it to first wilt and then die. Infected vines look as if they have been burnt.

PD is spread by sucking insects like leafhoppers. In Fla, leafhoppers reproduce 3 times per growing season which makes eradicating them difficult to put it mildly.

For these reasons, growing table,hybrid, Champagne or most wine grapes in Fla is not really an option. Most vines of these types will not live for more than a year under such disfavorable conditions.

About Growing Grapes in Fla

Summit Muscadine Grapes

from: Fast Growing Trees Nursery

Triumph Muscadine Grapes

from: Fast Growing Trees Nursery

The grape to grow in Florida is the muscadine or Scuppernong grape. Scuppernongs are very disease resistant and perform very well in this climate. The fruit is also sweeter and more delicious than that of most table grapes.

Fresh muscadine Scuppernong grapes can be made into fantastic jams, jellys, syrups and you haven't lived until you've sipped homemade muscadine wine.

Growing muscadine grapes is the only way of growing grapes in Florida without having to spray them 3 times a week.

This does not limit you to one kind of grape vine. There are many muscadine varieties for you to choose from.

Choosing Land for Growing Grapes

Grapes growing in a vineyard.

In a humid climate, you will want to plant grape vines on elevated land where they will be exposed to the prevailing winds. There should be no obstructions to the free circulation of air around the vines.

Ideally, grapes should ripen during dry weather. This will not happen when growing grapes in Florida so good air circulation is critical if you want to avoid disease.

An elevated site will provide good drainage.

The best soil for planting grapes in Fla. is a rich sandy loam with lots of organic matter. The sub-soil should yellow or red clay occurring 12-15 inches below the surface. This clay sub-soil will enhance the vigor of the vines.

Set the rows of grapes so that the prevailing winds move freely down the rows.

The Munson 3 wire grape vine trellis is highly recommended in Florida as training to this system provides for the most air circulation amongst the leaves and the greatest amount of sunlight on the leaves. It also protects the fruit from too much direct sun.

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