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Grapevines are climbing plants, meaning that they will climb onto whatever structure they are next to.

While grapevines don’t have to have a trellis, they do need some sort of structure to climb onto. If grapevines do not have a structure to hold onto, they will not grow into strong, healthy plants, so make sure to give your grapevines support early and to re-evaluate whether the support is strong and big enough every year. Grapevines grow fast!

Grapevines have small “arms” called tendrils that will reach for whatever they can reach — even if that’s your grill, a chair or table. Make sure to guide them by securing the grapevine branches with garden tape.

Trellis alternatives

If you don’t want to use a trellis for your grapevines, some other alternatives include pergolas, arches, ladders, old doors or wire strung between some posts.

Grapes on a Pergola

Not only do grapevines provide a plentiful harvest (once they’ve reached 2-5 years in maturity), they can also really a define space. I especially love grapevines included in garden or backyard features like pergolas. They add a beautiful rustic touch and provide shade for most of the summer.