Before you plant a muscadine or scuppernong vine, make sure to purchase high-quality plants from a reputable nursery. I recommend purchasing container-grown vines in 1-gallon or larger size pots. However, you can have success with bareroot plants.
There are basically two different types of muscadines, based on the type of flower they have:
Self-Fertile - These are self-pollinating and do not require a pollinator.
Self-Sterile - These are female types which must be planted near a self-fertile type in order for pollination to occur and fruit to be produced.
NOTE: Make sure to check when you are purchasing vines as to whether or not you'll need more than one plant for pollination.
Best Growing Conditions
Sun - The best and most muscadine berries will be produced when vines are growing in full to mostly sun. However, muscadine vines that receive a little shade will still produce good crops.
Soil Type Preferred - Muscadine vines can grow in a wide range of soil types. Well-drained soils produce the best growth and yields. Avoid soils that are persistently wet during the growing season. Highly fertile soils are not essential.
Soil pH - Muscadine vines will tolerate fairly wide range of soil pH however prefer an acidic soil with a pH between 5.5 to 6.5. It's a good idea to test or have your soil tested to determine pH and nutrient deficiencies. If your local nursery and garden center does not have soil testing kits available, you can buy a soil test kit online here. Or check with your local Extension Service to see if they provide soil testing services. Soil testing kits will includes complete instructions for adjusting soil conditions. Depending on the results of the soil test, you can add lime to raise the pH or soil sulfur to lower the pH (make more acid).
How To Plant A Container-Grown Or Bareroot Muscadine...
Before planting, make sure to select a good site. Full sun is best, but muscadine vines can also be grown in part shade.
- First, muscadine vines will need to be trained to some sort of support to grow upward. They can be grown on a fence or on an arbor or pergola, or you can construct a trellis or arbor before planting. SEE: How To Train & Prune Muscadine Vines
- Check soil drainage before planting. Dig a hole 12 inches deep by 12 inches wide. Fill it with water. If it takes more than 12 hours to drain then you have poorly drained soil and will need to take steps to improve drainage or plant your vines on raised mounds.
- Bare-root only: Soak their roots in water for two or three hours before planting. Trim off broken roots and set the vine into 12-inch deep by 12-inch wide hole, slightly deeper than it grew in the nursery. Cover the roots with 6 inches of soil and tamp down. Fill with the remaining soil, but don't tamp this down. Prune the top back to two or three buds at planting time. Water thoroughly.
- Space vines 16 feet apart along your fence or trellis.
- For each vine, dig a planting hole 12 inches deep and 2 to 3 times as wide as the rootball. Place soil removed from the planting hole around the perimeter of the hole. If your soil is very heavy clay thoroughly mix cpotting soil at a 25% ratio with the native soil removed from the planting hole. If your soil is pure sand you'll need to mix in a good amount of top soil and maybe even a little peat moss to help retain moisture. Avoid using composted manures as a soil amendment when planting muscadines.
- Then gently remove your plant from the pot it was growing in. If the root ball is stuck in the pot either cut the container away or place the plant on it's side and pound lightly on the side of the container. This usually helps to loosen the root ball in the container. After having removed the plant from the container, use a fork tool or your fingers to gently loosen some roots around the surface of the rootball.
- Set your plant in the hole and add some of your backfill mixture if necessary to make sure the top edge of the rootball is at or slightly above ground level, to allow for settling.
- Begin back-filling around the root ball with your soil mixture tamping as you go to remove air pockets. When you have filled the hole to the halfway point you can soak the soil. Then continue back-filling to the top. Do not put any backfill soil on top of the root ball as doing so can suffocate your plant.
- Water your newly planted muscadine thoroughly and then apply a 2-inch layer of pine bark mulch or pine straw. Continue watering regularly for several weeks to support settling-in and new growth...but be careful not to overwater. Muscadine vines do not like constantly soggy soil.