If you’re looking for something different to plant in a container this year, consider Pixie grapes, a grapevine that grows only 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 cm) tall. The grape clusters are equally diminutive, reaching about four inches (10 cm) in length. The tiny grapes would certainly be a conversation piece for your patio table.
Pixie is a naturally occurring mutant of Vitis vinifera ‘Pinot Meunier’, the variety used to produce wine and Champagne. Vineland Research and Innovation Centre in Ontario began using the vine, which was developed in the U.S., in its genomics lab to help study genetic traits in grapevines over several generations in a short amount of time. Unlike full-size vines, which may take up to three years to produce grapes, Pixie produces fruit in its first year of growth. However, the research centre along with the president of Sunrise Greenhouses in Vineland, who is a board member of the centre, also recognized the small grapevine’s ornamental appearance would appeal to consumers, too.
According to Sunrise Greenhouses, six-inch (15-cm) pots of Pixie will begin shipping to supermarkets and garden centres in mid-April to mid-May. The plants need full sun and moderately moist soil. Even though Pixie is a dwarf vine, a small trellis is needed for support.
Feed plants three times per season with a low-nitrogen product, such as fish emulsion, stopping in midsummer to slow the growth of the vine and ripen fruit. To overwinter a Pixie grapevine, remove shoots that grew during the summer, leaving two branches for next year’s growth; move the plant into a cool protected location until next spring.