Whether you already own a vineyard or you're just looking for a unique new challenge in the garden, if you want to learn how to grow hydroponic grapes, you’re in the right place.
Nowadays, growing grapes hydroponically is entirely possible indoors or in a greenhouse. Plus, this method of soilless cultivation takes up less space than traditional farming methods.
It is also more cost-effective and produces higher quality fruit. If you’re interested in learning how to start your hydroponic grape production, this post is for you!
We will walk you through everything that you need to know about how to grow grapes hydroponically indoors. We're going to start with some basic information many people ask prior to undertaking this endeavor.
After that, we'll take a deep dive into how to start your hydroponic grape production - including how to choose the right system, lighting, and nutrients, followed by everything it takes to bring these little fruits from seed to harvest.
Can You Grow Grapes Hydroponically?
Growing grapes hydroponically is a relatively new and innovative way to grow grapes. The idea behind growing them this way is that it cuts down on the space needed and the amount of time it takes for harvesting to occur (though grapes do still take quite some time to be ready for harvest).
Although growing grapes hydroponically is a relatively new concept, growing a vineyard in a greenhouse is not.
Grapevines can become quite large but they can easily be pruned to fit into compact spaces. Plus, they respond well in the controlled conditions of hydroponics and offer fruit with a sweet, intense flavor and smell.
Are Hydroponic Grapes Difficult To Grow?
Hydroponic grapes are not difficult to grow as long as you plan accordingly. A major advantage is that you don’t always have to use grafted plants, which you do outside.
That’s because you won’t have to worry as much about pests and diseases in an indoor, soilless grow. That said, you will need to provide some sort of support.
This way, you can train vines against warso rover supports and give them the support they need in your hydroponic setup.
Why Grow Hydroponic Grapes?
Grapes are not only delicious, but they also have a lot of health benefits. That's why so many people want to learn how to grow these in their own home!
You'll enjoy a reduction in pest problems when you bring the grow indoors & set up your hydro system. Plus, you can grow better, quicker crops.
There are many different ways to grow hydroponically, allowing you maximum flexibility and versatility as a gardener because you can configure your system however needed.
A final benefit of growing grapes hydroponically? You’ll be able to control humidity and temperature - so you likely won’t have to worry about any of the common fruit rot diseases that affect outdoor-grown grapes.
How Long Does It Take To Grow Grapes Hydroponically?
The only downside to growing grapes hydroponically is that the vines can take some time to mature, though it’s still faster than growing grapes in the traditional sense outside.
On average, it can take anywhere from three to five years for grapes to be produced. That means this is a long game - and we'd discourage you from getting started unless you're willing to put in the work over the course of time!
How To Start Your Hydroponic Grapes Production
Ready to get started growing grapes hydroponically? This starts with choosing the right system, as it will form the entire base of your crop.
What Type Of System Is Best For Growing Grapes Hydroponically?
When it comes to growing grapes hydroponically, just about any type of hydroponic system will work - it will mostly come down to personal preference.
Why exactly is that? It allows adequate levels of moisture while also keeping the substrate dry enough between irrigation sessions to avoid root rot.
It also helps produce fruit with the ideal levels of sugar. Hydroponic drip systems feed nutrients to the root zone via drippers, so there’s no aggressive flooding and draining required.
Another option is DWC, or deep water culture. Deep water culture is one of the simplest methods of growing hydroponic grapes, making it an ideal method for novice growers - since it has very few moving parts.
Ebb and flow is also quite common. This system, referred to as flood and drain as well, is ideal for people who are new to growing grapes hydroponically too.
It is often considered a “classic” method of hydroponic growing and there are systems for everyone, whether you want to grow just one or two plants or as many as 40.
Hydroponic Grapes Propagation - Seeds vs Clones
Hydroponic grapes are often grown from hardwood cuttings. These can be taken from healthy vines in the late fall or early winter, ideally from outdoor-grown plants, so that you don’t need to worry about starting your plants from seed.
You’ll place your cutting in well-draining soil mixture and allow them to develop roots in bright, indirect sunlight.
Once roots have formed, the plants can be transplanted into your hydroponic system. This is usually an option by springtime.
You can take cuttings from just about any kind of grape plant, with options varying depending on the color, size, and sweetness of the fruits.
Some good options include Chasselas, an early-season grape, and Black Hamburg, a darker-skinned grape.
Feeding Your Hydroponic Grapes Nutrients
Once you've got your system set up and you've grabbed your cuttings, you're ready to fire up the system. First, though, you'll need to find out how you're fertilizing your hydroponic grape production.
Grapes respond well to hydroponic nutrition, but sometimes they grow too tall, too quickly in the vineyard when fed improperly.
While training can help contain growth, it may be necessary to constantly monitor & adjust EC (electrical conductance). This is a measurement of how much nutrition is circulating throughout your system, and basically speaks to the concentration at which you feed nutrients.
During fruit development, you can use a hydroponic bloom or fruiting nutrient formulation, typically one with high levels of potassium.
This will improve the quality and yields of your harvest. EC should be around 2.0-2.4 for young plants and 4.0 for those that are fruiting.
Be careful about irrigation during the late fruit development stages, too. Too much water or irregular water can cause the fruits to split.
Change out your nutrient solution regularly, at least every few days.
Caring For Your Hydroponic Grape Production
Ideally, your temperatures should be around 72 to 82 degrees without a ton of high humidity. Make sure there is good airflow around the grape bunches.
Once a year, you will need to give your grapes a cold dormancy period. This is part of their natural life cycle and they won’t grow well without it.
To do this, just cut the vine back after fruiting and bring your plant outdoors for the winter. It is also important that you take the time to train and prune your grape vines.
Without doing this, vines will grow too quickly until they are totally out of control. An easy way to do this is with the fan system.
This involves training shoots developing from the main stem up against a wall, with two growing vertically and one horizontally.
You will then cut these back to just two buds per shoot. Additional shoots will form that you can then trim into a more aesthetically pleasing (and more functional ) fan shape.
Although this method is highly effective, it can be quite complicated. Therefore, some gardeners choose instead to use the cordon method of training.
This requires less space and involves just letting one or two stems to develop that you then train into position.
You’ll remove the growing points two buds from the permanent stem and spurs will be produced - these spurs are cut back every year to keep the vine compact.
As they grow, you should also remove any excess tendrils. These can get tangled up with your fruit and make it difficult for the fruits to ripen.
Finally, remember that indoor-grown grapes often require some assistance when it comes to pollination. You may have to either run a fan near your plants or shake the stems occasionally to release the pollen.
How To Harvest Your Hydroponic Grapes
Allow them to ripen on the vine. This will let them get as flavorful and sweet as possible.
If you are growing dessert varieties of grapes, sample a few when they are fully colored - this will give you a good idea of whether they are sweet enough to be harvested.
Some gardeners also use handheld brix meters to determine how sweet their table grapes are, but this isn’t necessary unless you are a serious grower.
To harvest, gently cut the bunches from the plant with scissors - don’t yank or pull as this can damage the stem.
Final Thoughts On Hydroponic Grapes
Growing grapes hydroponically is a great way to have fresh fruit year round. It's easy and fun for the whole family! If you're looking for some more basic information on soilless cultivation in general, we recommend you read our complete guide to hydroponic growing.
If you’re ready to get started, be sure to check out Hydrobuilder’s extensive collection of hydroponic growing equipment.
From growing medium to lights, we have everything you need for a complete set-up to get you from seed to harvest in no time