Virtues: Concord grapes are easy-to-grow fruits with great sweet flavor and many uses. Eat them fresh or use them for juice, jelly, jam or dessert wine. Large heart-shape leaves and twisting branches lend visual interest in summer and winter.
Common name: Concord grapes
Botanical name:Vitis labrusca ‘Concord’
Exposure: Full sun to part shade
Season: Fall, for fruit
Fruit: Deep purple grapes ripen in autumn. They have a sweet flavor. These grapes develop from small, greenish, ornamentally insignificant flowers that bloom in spring.
Habit: Concord grape vines typically grow to 6 feet long with routine maintenance and annual pruning. Left to their own devices, they may reach 20 feet.
Origins: ‘Concord’ is a variety of Vitis labrusca, a grape species native to roughly the eastern half of North America. This variety was develop in the mid-19th century in Concord, Mass.
How to grow Concord grapes: Site in full to part sun in average to rich soil with good drainage. More sun results in more grapes and sweeter flavor. Plant the vines in early spring, spacing them about 8 feet apart. Prune the vine back to leave just two or three buds at planting; this will encourage strong growth. Remove flowers for the first few years so that the vine puts energy into establishing a strong root system rather than fruiting; this will result in stronger vines and a better harvest in subsequent years. Prune established vines annually in very early spring, removing up to 90 percent of the previous year’s growth. Provide a sturdy trellis or arbor and train the vine up it as it grows by tying it loosely with twine and removing any weak shoots that appear at ground level. Water Concord grapes during hot, dry spells. This is a self-pollinating variety, so it can be grown alone. USDA Zones 5–9.
Image credit: midiman - Flickr: Concord Grapes, CC BY 2.0