looking for Wild Grape Vitis labrusca, V.riparia


Hi –

We have a west/south facing deck with lots of sun all day. We would like to grow wild grape in a flower bed near steps to the deck to give us some shade and fruit. We do not have soil for it to grow directly so we wonder if this plant can live / grow in a container (flower bed)? And where can we purchase it? we check out couple (native) nurseries but can’t find any.


Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners.    Wild grapes are a great idea for your sunny location.   Two species of grape vines native to Ontario come to mind when I think of wild grape:  Vitis riparia (riverbank grape) and Vitis labrusca (fox grape).  You are most likely to come across Vitis riparia along riverbanks in Ontario.  Vitis labrusca are the source of many grape cultivars including Concord and Niagara.  They are known as fox grape due to their “slip-skin”:  their skin easily slips off when squeezed.  Both of these grape species are known to be very cold hardy and adaptable to various soil types.  Their foliage is also resistant to some fungal diseases.   Given their cold hardiness, both of these native grapes will survive the winter when grown in containers.  Choose larger containers to ensure adequate insulation during our cold winter months.   Please read more tips for 4 season container gardening as well as Container Gardening:  A Toronto Master Gardeners Guide

Here’s a short video with basic information on How to Grow Grapes in Containers.  This advice would apply to native / wild grapes as well as other cultivars.

Native Plant Nurseries in our area are listed in this publication published by Credit Valley Conservation.   Hopefully one of these nurseries will be able to provide you with a wild grape vine.

Good luck and hope next fall you’ll be enjoying homemade wild grape jelly!