Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

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.

Please Leave a Comment

5 Comments on “Picking or Growing Muscadine and Scuppernong Grapes”

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  1. Christine Says:
    July 12th, 2015 at 11:03 am

    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. Barbara fork Says:
    July 16th, 2015 at 9:30 am

    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. Kay Smith Says:
    August 10th, 2015 at 9:40 am

    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. Jacob Hayes Says:
    August 15th, 2015 at 4:00 am

    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. James Carpenter Says:
    September 24th, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    When is the best time to pick scuppernong grapes? I live in Franklin N.C.

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