Plant of the Month – October


Desert Wild Grape
Vitis girdiana

  • Plant Form: Deciduous vine
  • Water Use: Low, moderate
  • Mature Size: 10-30 ft. tall and wide
  • Exposure: Full sun, part shade
  • Bloom Time: Spring (March – May), Summer (June – August)
  • Native to: Southern California, California Channel Islands
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 0°F

If you are looking for a shade-producing, heat-tolerant, cold-tolerant, fast-growing vine, this is your answer. Desert Wild Grape uses curling tendrils to attach itself to an arbor, ramada, trellis, or fence, and produces small but edible grapes, more filling for birds than humans.

Desert Wild Grape is a fast-growing, deciduous vine that produces small but edible black grapes for birds and people. The silvery-green foliage turns color and drops in winter, but the persistent tendrils remain wrapped around structures it has climbed onto for support. This southern California native is very easy to grow, is heat tolerant, and is a great bird plant for all berry-eating birds of summer. After it becomes established, water deeply just once a month. Prune in winter when it is leafless to train its shape; in spring and summer you may prune any wayward stems at any time. Desert Grape is wonderful on shade structures like arbors, ramadas, or pergolas to create a cool, shady, summer retreat in western gardens. Train to grow up a trellis, fence, arbor, or wall for summer shade, or allow to grow as a groundcover.


Check out our “Garden Tasks” for October