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How to Start Grapevines From Cuttings

By Tammy Curry ; Updated September 21, 2017

Propagating grapevines from cuttings is the easiest way to start your collection. There are two types of cuttings dormant and green. Dormant cuttings are taken after the mature vines have lost their leaves and prior to the next season's leaf growth. Green cuttings are taken in early spring just as leaves are appearing on mature grapevines. Dormant cuttings are easier to care for though they require more time until they produce.

Starting from dormant cuttings

Prepare the soil before taking cuttings. Turn the soil over to break up clumps. Remove grass and weeds from the soil. Mix soil and compost at a 1-to-1 ratio. Mix peat moss and perlite at a 3-to-1 ratio. Mix soil mixture and peat mixture at a rate of 1-to-1. This creates a loose loamy soil bed that will drain well.

Cut stems with hand pruners in late fall, early winter and early spring. Select stems that are within the first two feet of the woody base of a mature grapevine. The buds should be close together. Stems should be 1/4 inch to 3/4 inch in diameter with three to four nodes (buds), have a dense center (pith), and a light green coloration to the wood. Do not use stems that have discoloration from fungus or other disease. To easily identify the top and bottom of the stem cut the bottom straight across just below the last bud. Cut the top at a diagonal 6 inches above the top bud.

Dip the bottom of the stem into rooting hormone and shake to remove excess. Wrap the bottom of the cuttings (root ends) in moist newspaper and placed in a black plastic bag to encourage callousing (root development). You do not want to wrap the entire plant, just the root ends that will form the root system. Place the bags in a warm area that stays between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The top of a refrigerator works well. Roots should appear within one to two weeks.

Plant the cuttings immediately after the callous appears. Grapevines callous, develop a white ring around the bottom of the cutting, quickly. Place half the stem into the soil. Twelve-inch cuttings should be planted 6 inches into the ground and 8 feet apart. Water thoroughly soaking the ground at least once per week. Add nitrogen-rich fertilizer, or fish meal, once a week once shoots reach six inches long. Stop fertilizing and reduce water in midsummer. This allows the vines to harden before winter.

Green cuttings

Prepare the soil before taking cuttings. Green cuttings need to be planted immediately. Create a loose loamy soil bed that drains well. Mix soil and compost at a 1-to-1 ratio. Mix peat moss and perlite at a 3-to-1 1 ratio. Place bottomless milk jugs into holes that are 8 feet apart.

Use cuttings from healthy growing shoots taken in early spring. The cuttings need to be 4 to 6 inches long and two to three leaves. Remove all the leave but the topmost. Cut the full size leaf in half. Dip into rooting hormone. Wrap the bottom ends of the cutting in moist newspaper and black plastic. Place in a warm area. Callousing should begin within six to nine days.

Place the rooted cutting into the bottomless milk jug and fill with soil mixture, leaving two to three inches and the top leaf uncovered. Install small wire tomato cage over the cutting. Cover the wire cage with a black plastic bag to create a humid chamber secure the black plastic with a large rubber band. This will keep the cutting from wilting as roots begin to take hold.


Things You Will Need

  • Compost
  • Peat moss
  • Perlite
  • Hand Pruners
  • Rooting hormone
  • Dormant cuttings
  • Green Cuttings
  • Newspaper
  • Black plastic bag
  • Bottomless milk jug
  • Small wire tomato cage
  • Fish meal

About the Author


Currently residing in Myrtle Beach, SC, Tammy Curry began writing agricultural and frugal living articles in 2004. Her articles have appeared in the Mid-Atlantic Farm Chronicle and Country Family Magazine. Ms. Curry has also written SEO articles for textbroker.com. She holds an associate's degree in science from Jefferson College of Health Sciences.