A recent addition to the fruit world is the grape that tastes like everyones’ childhood favorite – cotton candy.
This interesting grape was developed by International Fruit Genetics of Bakersfield, California where two grapes were crossed to produce the Cotton Candy Grape.
With it’s popular taste one question that many people ask is whether it is possible to grow cotton candy grapes themselves?
Could I produce my own cotton candy grape plants?
Well you are always welcome to try, however most grape varieties are developed through years of trial and error and testing, often involving specialist horticulturalists that have access to specialised facilities and equipment.
Many new grape varieties are produced by careful planting of seeds from cross pollinated, known grape varieties.
These are then allowed to grow into mature vines, and it is only when ( and if ) they produce fruit, which can take years, that the taste of the grape becomes known.
So although you could experiment, it would take you a long time and you’d probably need lots of space and patience.
- Ted Goldammer (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 482 Pages – Apex Publishers (Publisher)
Can I just plant the seeds from shop bought cotton candy grapes?
Good thinking, but these grapes are supposed to be seedless, so sorry you might struggle.
However, as they are now being grown more widely with producers in the United States, South America, Spain and other countries that have suitable climates, there have been instances of grapes being sold that contain seeds.
If you are lucky then you may find that some of the grapes that you buy have seeds in them, so, there is nothing to prevent you from planting these seeds to see what results you get.
How do you plant cotton candy grape seeds?
So, you’ve bought some cotton candy grapes from the store and have found that some of the grapes contain seeds.
Your best option is to sow the seeds into pots of well drained compost, water well and keep them in a warm place either indoors or in a greenhouse.
Make sure that you keep the compost moist until the seeds sprout.
This will take anywhere from two weeks onwards.
Once the seedlings are a few inches tall they will need potting on into larger pots.
Harden the plants off so that they can eventually be kept outdoors and, when they reach two to three feet in height, plant them into the ground into well drained soil in a sunny position.
With care, and if you are lucky, your vines will fruit, producing your own, home grown grapes.
Could I grow cotton candy grapes from the stems of shop bought grapes?
You could try and it might be possible. It all would depend on:
The health of the bunch of grapes.
How long it had been sat since harvest.
The conditions that the grapes had been kept in following harvest.
If you are lucky enough to find a store that is selling these grapes then you will need to pick the largest and healthiest bunch available that will provide you with the maximum amount of stems.
You might get lucky with propagation of the grapes but the level of failures will probably be very high.
How can you grow cotton candy grapes from a cutting
If you can find a reasonable bunch of Cotton Candy grapes that has several stems on it then you could try to grow your own vine from the stems.
It’s going to take some time and you may not be successful with your efforts but, if you plant several cuttings, look after them properly and persevere then, you could enjoy your own Cotton Candy grape vine.
To grow grapes from cuttings, you’ll need to select healthy, disease-free plant material to use as your cutting.
You’ll also need to make sure that the cutting is taken from a part of the plant that has not flowered yet, although as you’re going to be using stems from shop bought fruit this will be difficult so go ahead with the stems that you’re able to get hold of.
Using a sharp knife, remove as much stem as you are able to from the bunch of grapes and remove any grapes that may be on the stem, and eat the grapes. ( the eating is not a crucial step but it would be a shame to waste such great tasting grapes).
Once you have your cutting, you can prepare it for planting by dipping it in rooting hormone and then planting it in a pot filled with moistened potting mix.
Keep the cutting well-watered and in a warm, sunny spot, and it should root within a few weeks.
Once it has rooted, you can transplant it to its permanent home.
Caring for your Cotton Candy grapevine
Once your grapevine has been transplanted to its permanent home, you’ll need to provide it with proper care to ensure that it thrives.
Water your grapevine regularly, especially during dry spells. Make sure the soil stays moist but not waterlogged.
In addition to regular watering, your grapevine will also need to be fertilized.
Apply a balanced fertilizer to the soil around your grapevine every spring.
You can also add compost to the soil to help provide extra nutrients.
Grapevines need full sun to produce the best fruit, so make sure to plant them in a spot that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.
If you live in a warm climate, you may need to provide some afternoon shade to prevent the grapes from getting too sunburned.
Finally, make sure to prune your grapevine each year. This will encourage new growth and help keep the plant healthy.
Pruning also helps control the size of the grapevine, making it easier to manage.
Do cotton candy grape vines need pruning?
Yes, cotton candy grape vines benefit from pruning to maintain their health and productivity.
Pruning helps manage the vine’s growth, remove damaged or diseased wood, improve airflow, and promote the production of quality fruit.
Here are some key points to consider when pruning cotton candy grape vines:
Winter Pruning: It is common to prune cotton candy grape vines during their dormant period, which is typically in late winter or early spring before new growth begins.
This allows for better visibility of the vine’s structure and encourages vigorous growth during the growing season.
Selective Pruning: Identify and remove any dead, diseased, or damaged wood. These should be pruned back to healthy tissue.
Additionally, thin out crowded areas of the vine to allow for better air circulation and light penetration.
Canopy Management: Cotton candy grape vines tend to produce a dense canopy, so it’s important to manage the growth to optimize fruit production.
Prune lateral shoots (side branches) to maintain an open canopy and reduce overcrowding. This helps ensure even ripening and proper airflow, reducing the risk of disease.
Spur Pruning: Cotton candy grape vines are often spur-pruned. This involves cutting back the previous year’s growth to create short spurs with two to three buds.
The buds on these spurs will produce new shoots and, eventually, fruit clusters. This method helps maintain a balance between vegetative growth and fruit production.
Training and Support: Pruning is also an opportunity to train the vine along a trellis or support system.
Properly position and secure the main shoots of the vine to ensure they grow in a desired direction. This helps with vine management, sun exposure, and accessibility for maintenance.
It’s important to note that specific pruning techniques and timing may vary depending on the vine’s age, vigor, and local growing conditions.
What climate do cotton candy grapes need?
Cotton candy grapes thrive in a warm and sunny climate, which allows them to develop their unique flavor and sweetness.
They require a long growing season with ample sunlight and moderate temperatures.
Generally, they are cultivated in regions with a Mediterranean climate, similar to the conditions found in California’s Central Valley in the United States.
Cotton candy grapes prefer temperatures ranging from 75°F to 90°F (24°C to 32°C) during the day and slightly cooler temperatures at night.
They also require a dry climate with low humidity, as excessive moisture can lead to fungal diseases.
The grapes need a sufficient amount of water for growth, but proper drainage is essential to prevent waterlogged soil.
It’s worth noting that cotton candy grapes are a hybrid variety, bred to have a distinct flavor reminiscent of cotton candy.
They were developed through selective breeding techniques to combine different grape varieties. As a result, their specific climate requirements may differ slightly from traditional grape varieties.
What type of soil is best for cotton candy grapes?
Cotton candy grapes thrive in well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. The ideal soil type for these grapes is loamy soil, which is a balanced mixture of sand, silt, and clay.
Loamy soil retains moisture while allowing excess water to drain away, preventing waterlogged conditions that can harm the grapevines.
The pH level of the soil is also important for optimal growth. Cotton candy grapes prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil, with a pH range between 6.0 and 7.0.
It’s advisable to conduct a soil test to determine the pH level and make any necessary adjustments. Soil amendments such as lime or sulfur can be used to raise or lower the pH, respectively.
Furthermore, ensuring good soil fertility is crucial for the successful cultivation of cotton candy grapes.
Adding organic matter like compost or well-rotted manure before planting provides essential nutrients and improves the soil structure.
Overall, well-drained loamy soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH, enriched with organic matter, provides an excellent foundation for growing cotton candy grapes.
Do cotton candy grapes suffer from any diseases?
Cotton candy grapes, like any other grape variety, are susceptible to certain diseases.
Here are a few common diseases that can affect cotton candy grapes:
Powdery Mildew: Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that can cause a white powdery coating on the leaves, shoots, and fruit. It thrives in warm, dry conditions and can lead to reduced grape quality and yield if left untreated.
Fungicides and proper cultural practices, such as promoting good airflow and removing infected plant material, can help manage powdery mildew.
Downy Mildew: Downy mildew is another fungal disease that affects grapevines. It causes yellowish or brownish lesions on the leaves, and a fuzzy, grayish growth may appear on the underside.
Downy mildew thrives in cool and wet conditions. Fungicides, proper vineyard management, and resistant grape varieties can help control downy mildew.
Botrytis Bunch Rot: Botrytis bunch rot, also known as gray mold, is caused by the fungus Botrytis cinerea. It can develop in humid or rainy conditions, particularly during the ripening stage.
The disease leads to the decay of grapes, turning them brown and shriveled. Proper cluster thinning, maintaining good airflow, and applying fungicides when necessary can help manage Botrytis bunch rot.
Black Rot: Black rot is caused by the fungus Guignardia bidwellii. It can cause brown to black lesions on leaves and fruit, leading to fruit decay and shriveling.
Black rot is more prevalent in warm and humid climates. Pruning infected wood, removing mummified fruit, and applying fungicides can help control black rot.
Do cotton candy grapes actually taste like cotton candy?
Whenever a company claim to make something that tastes like something else there is always a risk of disappointment, so, to see if the claims are true I managed to find some cotton candy grapes in the supermarket.
It turns out that these grapes are not so easy to get hold of and tend to be very seasonal and limited in supply.
The grapes that I found were grown in Mercia, Spain and, as can be seen from the picture, they look just like normal, green grapes.
But, they do taste different.
The first few grapes have a distinct sweetness, almost like saccharin and they really do have a taste of cotton candy.
It’s actually a little weird to be eating something like a grape that has a taste of confectionary but the claims are accurate and there is definitely a cotton candy taste.
Within the pack a few of the grapes tasted just like grapes but, overall the cotton candy flavor was prevalent.
If you’re curious and would like something different then they’re worth a try.
- California Grown
- Green Seedless Grape Fruit – weight : 2 lbs
What are Cotton Candy Grapes?
Cotton Candy Grapes are a variety of grape developed by cross-breeding different grape types. They are named for their unique flavor which, unlike traditional grape varieties, tastes very similar to cotton candy.
Where do Cotton Candy Grapes grow best?
These grapes thrive in regions with a Mediterranean climate. They prefer mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. In the United States, they’re grown primarily in California.
How long does it take for Cotton Candy Grapes to mature?
Typically, Cotton Candy Grapes take about 110 to 120 days to mature after flowering. This timeline can vary depending on the specific climate conditions.
When is the best time to plant Cotton Candy Grape vines?
The best time to plant grapevines is in early spring, when the threat of frost has passed but the soil is still cool. This gives the vines a chance to establish themselves before the growing season.
What kind of soil is best for Cotton Candy Grapes?
These grapes prefer well-draining soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. It’s important to amend the soil with organic matter to improve its nutrient content and drainage capabilities.
How much water do Cotton Candy Grapes need?
While grapevines are relatively drought-tolerant, Cotton Candy Grapes require regular watering for optimal growth, especially in dry periods. However, overwatering can lead to root rot, so ensure the soil has good drainage.
When is the harvest season for Cotton Candy Grapes?
Cotton Candy Grapes are typically harvested from late July to late August. Harvesting is usually done when the grapes are fully ripened and have reached their unique sweet, cotton candy-like flavor.
How do I know when my Cotton Candy Grapes are ripe and ready to be picked?
Cotton Candy Grapes should be plump and free from blemishes. When ripe, they will also have their characteristic cotton candy aroma.
Can I grow Cotton Candy Grapes from seeds?
While it’s technically possible to grow grapes from seeds, it’s a challenging process that requires careful stratification and patience, as grapes grown from seeds can take up to three years to produce fruit. Most commercial and home growers prefer to propagate grapevines using cuttings or grafting.
How can I protect my Cotton Candy Grapes from pests and diseases?
Implementing an integrated pest management strategy is crucial for protecting your vines. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of pests or disease, and consider using traps, barriers, or natural predators to control pests. For diseases, preventative measures include proper plant spacing for good air circulation, regular pruning, and the use of resistant varieties. If a disease appears, the infected parts of the plant should be removed and destroyed to prevent further spreading.