Home > Uncategorized > Send in the clones

Send in the clones


Grape juice, grape jelly, grape wine, grape wine vinegar.  We use grapes in so many ways, and we never seem to have enough.  So back in the early part of February this year I decided to try my hand at cloning our grape vines.   After a little light reading and a trip to the feed store, I was ready.  Early to mid February is the best time around here to prune grape vines.  It’s past the cold part of the year, so any diseases or pests are dead; and it’s before it starts really warming up, so the sap is still down and the vines won’t bleed.24464289084_03b883d53c_b


  • Pruners- make sure they’re sharp
  • A sharp knife
  • A container of bleach water (a half-capful in a pint jar is plenty strong)
  • Rooting compound powder
  • A bucket of wet sand
  • A plastic grocery bag


Prune your vines like you normally would, and choose your best looking vines to clone.  You want the section closest to the main stem – the fatter part, and make sure they’re about the diameter of your pinky finger or bigger.  If you’ve ever pruned grape vines before you know the huge pile of cuttings you end up with.  You can be picky; make sure there are no diseased or damaged sections.

24976845772_a659f43e14_bCut them down to size – you need 3 or more “nodes” – the bumpy part of the grape vine – on each cutting.  Leave ½ to 1 inch below the bottom node (yes it matters top and bottom).  Then take your sharp knife and scrape just the outer layer of bark off the vine to expose the green part underneath.  Immediately dip this section into your bleach water solution, and then into your rooting powder.  Roll it around and completely coat that green part, and the bottom node too.  The rooting compound has a hormone in it, derived from willow trees t25001317381_f20d359bdb_bhat stimulate root growth in your plant.  You want to coat that bottom end really well.  After you’ve got it coated, stick it down into your bucket of wet sand.  I ended up with about 15 cuttings in each of my buckets of sand.  You can do as many as will fit, or you can even do individual pots if you don’t want to have to re-pot them later; just make sure you cover each one up to the second node with sand.  Then you have to cover the container up.  You need something to keep the humidity extremely high during the rooting process.  I use plastic grocery bags; they’re big enough to go around the tops of the buckets, and stay on nicely.  24727877059_56351b203e_bOnce your container is covered, put it in a warm area, out of direct sunlight.  It doesn’t have to be a dark room, but it can’t be in the sunlight, or you will bake your grapevines.  I stuck them in the shower, since a couple of the buckets had cracks and leaked; kind of a pain to drag them out every time to take a shower, but it kept the floor dry.  Check them every week or so to make sure that the sand is still wet.  You don’t want them to be under water, but you don’t want them to dry out at all.  It’s critical to keep a high humidity level at this stage.25465741232_87fbb6f6a1_b

After about 4-5 weeks, you should begin to notice the buds swelling, and leaves starting to form at one or more of the nodes of the cutting.  You can take the cover off at this stage, but be careful to keep them hydrated.  It’s best to water them every day at this stage; because there aren’t any real roots to speak of yet, and the plant can dry out very quickly thru those new leaves.  If you notice the leaves starting to droop, go ahead and put the vine sections back under their plastic bag tent.

After about another month or so, I should begin to see new growth on my cuttings, and the roots should be starting to form too.  I’ve re-potted mine before this happens, as I don’t want to damage the new baby roots.  25568208300_bc75abdb60_b  I put them in a potting mix with some added vermiculite to help keep things hydrated, and allow the roots room to form.  I’m keeping a close eye on the leaves for signs of wilting, which will tell me that they are getting dehydrated, and I need to tent them to increase their humidity level.  In late May, I hope to be able to plant the started cuttings in the ground.

Hopefully by next summer, we’ll be harvesting some grapes off these cloned vines.  Even if things go extremely well this year, and these start to try and produce fruit, we need to pinch off any fruit that forms, so the plant can put energy into roots.  Next year should be ok for a limited amount of fruit, and after that we should be absolutely swimming in grapes.  I made 64 cuttings, and 61 of them seem to have taken.  So I now have 61 little grape starts with lots of new leaves on them, waiting to take root.  Kind of exciting watching God’s creation spring to new life this time of year.


Until next time…..

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. April 18, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    i love these ideas yall are great

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