Picking or Growing Muscadine and Scuppernong Grapes

Muscadine and scuppernong grapes in a bowl

If you’ve never tried muscadine or scuppernong grapes fresh off the vine, you’re missing out on a fantastic Southern treat! With their thick skins hiding a burst of the most wonderful juicy grape flavor, these native grapes are worth celebrating.

My grandmother used to make muscadine-fig preserves that would knock your socks off, and I can just eat them by the handful! They’re also frequently made into pies, juices, and very sweet wines.

About Muscadine and Scuppernong Grapes

Muscadines are the oldest native grape in America, first cultivated by Native Americans over 400 years ago. They grow naturally in the coastal plains of the southeast United States, with hardier cultivated varieties grown farther inland. They’re named for their rich, musky aroma, and the flavor is absolutely to die for.

If nothing else, you should try these grapes just for the fun of pronouncing them. Traditionally, the purple varieties are called muscadines, and the bronze varieties are called scuppernongs. However, both colors are in the Muscadine family, so that term is correct for either one.

To further confuse you, there’s also a particular cultivated variety called ‘Scuppernong,’ so it’s a good idea to pay attention when buying vines for your yard.

Finding Muscadine or Scuppernong Grapes

Muscadine and scuppernong grapes in bowlIf you’re lucky, you can find large wild muscadine vines growing up into native trees along the roadside. You might need a ladder to pick them, but it’ll be worth it!

Also, look for muscadines and scuppernongs at your farmer’s market or grocery store around mid to late September. Trust me – all you have to do is rinse them and set them out in a bowl, and they’ll be gone in minutes!

Growing Muscadine and Scuppernong Grapes

If you live where muscadines grow, you may be surprised to learn how many people grow cultivated or wild varieties in their backyards. You can grow muscadine or scuppernong grapes in your yard, if you’ve have:

  • Full sun
  • Well draining, fertile, sandy soil
  • Temperatures that usually stay above 10° F

When shopping for muscadine vines, be sure to pay attention to the plant gender. Some varieties are “perfect-flowered,” which means the vines have both male and female flowers and it can pollinate itself. Other varieties are female only, and they’ll only produce grapes if you plant them alongside a perfect-flowered variety. Popular varieties include ‘Magnolia,’ ‘Thomas,’ and ‘Nobel.’

Muscadine vines can be a little difficult to get started, but once established they’re marvelously drought, pest, and disease tolerant – not to mention vigorous! To get a proper muscadine crop, you may want to read up on proper pruning and trellising techniques. To find out more, read this article on Muscadine Grapes in the Home Garden from North Carolina State.

27 COMMENTS

  1. I have a huge scuppanong vine over my backyard arbor. It is loaded this year, but I noticed in the past the grapes start to dropped in med-July. What can I do to prebent this happening?

  2. I am having the same problem as Christine. It started last year and is doing it again this year. The grapes are dropping and it is mid July. What can I do to prevent this from happening to my crop of scuppernong

  3. I have a scuppernong vine that is loaded with fruit. The fruit isn’t quite ready for me to pick for jelly making but, the squirlls or birds don’t seem to mind eating them green. Can I pick them green and wait for them to ripen inside? I don’t mind sharing but I want more of my scuppernongs this year.

  4. You don’t want to pick grapes before they’ve ripened. The sugars don’t form in the grape itself, but instead come from the root of the vine. You’ll wind up with grapes that go from green to spoiled.

  5. On TV a wine program..grapes were in large clusters hanging
    on the vine but the vines were clean..not a leaf showing.
    just the vine. Is it recommended to clean the vines of the
    leaves during the harvest period. Mine are so full and leafs
    so thick I have to really look deep inside for the grapes.
    Please advise.

  6. My bronze scuppernongs are huge here on the 3rd of August here in south Alabama. Some are getting soft and turning bronze. They are still not fully ripe as of today. Some still have a long way to go. I also have purple muscadines and 95 % of them are still not at full size but some are turning purple. I think picking time varies both because of location and soil quality. I had a ton of concord grapes this year and just finished picking the last batch of them a few days ago. No expert on grapes and muscadines, etc., actually just trying to educate myself as I go along.

  7. I have same problem as some others on here. I have several vines and the fruit starts dropping off in July and August while green. I never get any ripe fruit. Hundreds fall off while green and rot on the ground.

  8. When and how far back do you need to prune muscadine vines? Also my post and wire needs to be replaced because of the weight of the vines. How do I go about fixing this problem?

  9. I’m from southeast Oklahoma. I’ve been picking muscadines since I was a small child. I’ve always made jelly and glazes out of the juice. Oh, what memories.

  10. What is the best tool to use to pick the grapes off the vine that grow high up in a tree. I am having a hard time with this any advice would be helpful

  11. My scuppernong are just producing a few grapes. Last year it was loaded. I have pruned and this year I poured the lime to it, any suggestons?

  12. I have vines for two years and they dont bloom . They came from seeds of the sucppernong. Will they produce fruit ever.

  13. My vines are loaded with scuppernongs but they are small…what can I do to get larger grapes…..my muscadines are large…….it’s Sept.17th and fruit is ready to be picked…..I add 10-10-10 once a year..what else can I do for the scuppernongs?????
    Thank you…….

  14. Hello

    I remember having scuppernong grapes in southern Maryland as a child and was away from them for many years when I move to California. Now that I am back in the south, Mississippi, I don’t know where to find scuppernong grapes and want to start growing some on my property. Where can one get a Vine or a seeds or even find the grapes because people I asked her have no idea what a Scuppernong Grape is and I thought they would be very common.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    Will

    • Hi, William,
      Scuppernong grapes aren’t so common here in southern Alabama, either!
      Your best and easiest bet is to Google Scuppernong Grapes to find any that can be mail-ordered.
      Good luck!

  15. Hello can you tell me how to keep deers from eating your Scuppernongs. I live in Atlanta Ga As well as once you pick them how to preserve them. Thank you. Floyd Mangham

  16. I have at least 12 different varities,, some 40 years old some 1, 2 and 3 years old. . My question is what should I do with the long brown roots that grow on all my vines , on the laterals 5 foot from the ground? Should I leave them or keep them trimmed? Seems like Sweet Genny has more than all others. THANKS BOW

  17. I have a scuppernong vine that is over 50 yrs old from an 80 yr old vine from Alabama.. It produced in the past but went years without care. I have cleaned it up and have it on a arbor. I was not sure how much to cut back but cut it back a lot (it had been mowed down a few times and did not want to send it into shock). It had numerous large vines so I cut all the runners off them. I was afraid to cut the big vines because I thought I might kill it. It has grown wonderfully and filled out the arbor. Only got a handful of grapes. What are your suggestions for cutting it back this winter and what to feed it. My husbands dad used to make gallons of wine from this one vine. No one has seen a grape on it for years until this summer….believe me it has been babied, petted, talked to…LOL!

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