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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - April 22, 2008

From: Newman, CA
Region: California
Topic: Propagation
Title: Growing grapes from seed in California
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can I grow grapes from seed? If so, what is procedure?

ANSWER:

For openers, go to this University of British Columbia Botanical Garden and Centre of Plant Research website on Propagation of grapes from seed. In particular, note this paragraph:

"Grape seeds are not (generally speaking) easy to germinate as they have a very high proportion of dormancy. The only usual reason for growing from seed is following intentional cross pollenation to develop a new variety. I don't have actual figures, but I would guess that over 99% of grape propagation is by clonal methods (cuttings, grafting, micropropagation)."

That makes propagation sound pretty complicated; so we found these two grapes native to California Vitis californica (California wild grape) and Vitis girdiana (desert wild grape). After all, the wild grapes have been growing without clonal methods for lots of years and sure enough, the propagation section in those two webpages make it sound a little easier. Probably the key is, are you just trying to grow grapes, or are you trying to grow a specific variety, a hybrid or cultivar, wines for a vineyard, etc.?

Images of Vitis californica (California wild grape)

Images of Vitis girdiana (desert wild grape)

 

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