The ‘Pixie Grape’, a dwarf Pinot Meunier

Pixie Grape, nearly ripe

A new, and interesting, addition to my container grape collection this year was a small one, the newly marketed Pixie Grape. The Pixie, a dwarf version of the Pinot meunier, is a creation of Dr. Peter Cousins that is now being marketed in Canada by Sunrise Greenhouses.

Since it only made its debut in March at Canada Blooms, and the little plants were primed to fruit this year, I can’t say with any certainty how well this grape will do overtime or even what hardiness zone it is. However, while the standard grapes I grow, Flame (zone 4) and Interlaken (zone 5), do well in large containers, they still need space and ample trellising that Pixie doesn’t require. It’s clearly fast fruiting, and, in a six inch pot, has produced a plant .5ft x .5ft x 1.5ft in size with several full bunches of small grapes.

Despite the limited information out there on Pixie, it seems worth trying for those looking for a little viticulture in a small space, likely anywhere from a USDA zone 5 to a 9 (but don’t quote me on this). It also can be grown in greenhouses year round, and given its size, can be easily brought in for the winter.

My poorly trellised Flame and Interlaken grapes on the left and the Pixie Grape on the right. If space is in short supply, the Pixie is the way to go.

Update June 29th, 2012: The first bunch has been picked and they were delicious and sweet.

The first ripe bunch of Pixie grapes.

Basic care instructions

Light: Full sun
Water: Keep moderately moist (but grapes don’t like ‘wet feet’)
Fertilizer: Three times per growing season with a low nitrogen fertilizer, stop mid summer to slow vine growth.
Support: Vines require a small trellis for support
Winter: Keep plants in a cool, protected, location
Pruning: Standard for grapes

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30 responses to “The ‘Pixie Grape’, a dwarf Pinot Meunier

  1. Are you another container gardener enthusiast?

  2. What a gorgeous photograph. I had no idea that you could container garden grapes. Verra cool! Thanks for visiting my blog.

  3. I have loving respect fro gardeners. Everyone in my family had a green thumb; except me….lack of ability doesn’t stop me from planting a garden every year and crossing my fingers!

    • Every year I find it gets easier as I learn a little more about what worked/didn’t work the previous season. I grew up with a horticulturist though, and married into an orchard family, so I had a leg up.

  4. Thank you for reading and following my blog. I love grapes… in a bottle. Actually, I do love to eat grapes too mostly organic. I’m looking into Organic wines as well. I will enjoy reading more of your blog. It looks quite interesting.

  5. seamistandmagnolias

    Even though I have citrus trees and thornless blackberries in containers right now, I never thought about growing grapes that way! I look forward to hearing how things progress. Thanks for reading and following my blog, also.

  6. Glad to know about your blog. I have been growing grapes recently and look forward to learning more from the interesting stayathomescientist blog.

  7. Hello, fellow container gardener! Wow, grapes in a container! I have to look into that, for sure. That, and blackberries!

  8. I’d love to plant grapes as well as a million other things! I’m new to vegetable gardening, live in a city with a tiny porch. Thanks for mentioning grapes not liking “wet feet” (I wonder how they feel about people stepping on them to make wine! lol) I just learned about the wet feet and root rot thing recently and my plants are better for it!

  9. Super interesting! Would love to grow grapes in a pot!! WOW!

  10. hi, i just got my hands on some pixie seeds. is there a special way of germinating them? i hope these seeds will end up looking like your plant.

    • I wasn’t aware there was actually any way for the general public to get Pixie grape seeds. If you’ve collected them from fruit, they could have cross-pollinated with something else, so they are unlikely to be true to the mother plant, unless pollinated in a close environment. Germinating grapes from seed is usually not the preferred method of creating a new grape plant. Generally, most grapes come from cuttings/grafting to create a genetic clone and ensure you’ll get the grape you want. Grapes can be grown from seed though – that’s how many new varieties end up getting created – although it’s not easy.

      You’ll likely need a lot of seeds, to ensure you end up with at least one plant – I don’t think grapes in general have the best germination rate.

      First, you need to do cold stratification (give them a fake winter) by putting them in the refrigerator for 90 – 120 days (1 to 5C). Next, they need a warm stratification for 2 days (30 to 36C). Next, you have to mimic a little digestion, so put them in a 0.5M hydrogen peroxide bath for a day (24 hours). Finally comes germination: they need warm temperatures (30 C), place seeds maybe 1/4″ down in well drained, moist potting where they have 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark a day. In three weeks, you should see grape seedlings. You *can* skip the prep work and you might get lucky, but odds of germination go way up if you follow a typically protocol for grape germination.

  11. Because I enjoy your blog, I have nominated you for the Inspiring blogger award. You can find more details here… http://www.dragonfliesandhummingbirds.wordpress.com/awards/

    Enjoy!

  12. Thank you for your advice. I will try it out and let you know what happens in a couple of months :) But do you think i got conned with the seeds? I got some from a friend that he says they told him they are pixie seeds and i also ordered from ebay.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/110896413047?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2648
    Normal vines grow quick when they germinate, right? So if mine stays small its a pixie? Anyway, ill give it a go and let you know. Thanks again for your help.

    • Honestly, you may have been conned. I thought the legality of it was such that anyone who wasn’t affiliated with the commercial growers couldn’t sell any part of the Pixie grape, because of copyright issues. Mind you, that wouldn’t stop a lot of people from just selling the seeds they collected from inside a Pixie grape grape, but those seeds may not produce a Pixie grape. You’ll know next fall if your grape was a Pixie or not.

  13. Thanks for posting this; I’d never before heard of this variety. I’ve got dwarf blueberries & lemon trees in containers on my deck, and now I’m determined to give Pixie Grapes a try.

  14. Thank you for all your infomation

  15. Thanks for visiting my blog. Always nice to meet another gardener. I just visited your blog and looked up to see I’d been browsing for 20 minutes. Fascinating!

  16. Hi, love your blog, nice to have the science to back up the pretty pictures …

  17. Thanks so much for following my blog! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. Good luck with your container garden. The grapes look lovely!

  18. Hello,
    Thank you for visiting my blog and the follow. I love gardening as well, and I will follow you also as you have soooo many interesting tips and information! :D

  19. Pingback: The ‘Pixie Grape’, a dwarf Pinot Meunier | Potted Plant Society

  20. Yummy! I love those dark purple grapes, but they seem to be out of season here in Australia.

  21. I just bought 2 Pixie grapes and am looking for care info and I’m glad I found you. I’m confused on what seems to be conflicting info. You say they can be grown year round in a green house. Will my indoor south window do for winter? Next I find “cool, protected” for winter. Does that mean in my cold room with the geraniums, dahlias & calla lily bulbs? Do they need to rest? Thanks.

  22. Hi, I’m in Ottawa, Canada. Any ideas on how to Winter my grape? I live in a condo so don’t have a cool basement, just 23c throughout.

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