Climbing plants

Scarlet Wine - Planting, Care & Pruning


If you are looking for a fast growing climbing plant, the scarlet wine is the best choice. It is easy to plant and also extremely easy to care for.

© K.-U. Häßler -

Scarlet wine is one of the vines. With its attractive autumn color, the rust-red grapevine lives up to its name. Even if the fruits of the wild wine are inedible for us humans, they represent a feast for birds. The scarlet wine comes from Asia and was first scientifically described at the end of the 19th century. Not least because of the pretty, rust-red autumn color, the scarlet wine is often cultivated in our latitudes. Below you will find out what needs to be taken into account when growing and maintaining the vine plant.

The appearance of the scarlet wine

The rust-red grapevine is an avid climber and can reach heights of up to 25 meters. The felty, reddish-brown shoots are characteristic. The plant lacks inflorescences or tendrils at every third shoot node. The leaves consist of petiole and leaf blade. There are short, pointed teeth on the leaf margin. While the top of the leaves appears almost bare and slightly wrinkled, the underside of the leaves along the leaf veins has a rust-red color and appears felty. The scarlet wine flowers rather inconspicuously. The small, black fruits are about one centimeter tall. An eye-catcher is the magnificent crimson autumn color.

Occurrence and use of the rust-red grapevine

The natural range of the plants is limited to the Japanese islands of Honshu, Hokkaido and Shikoku. Holdings have also been registered in Eastern Russia and the Korean Peninsula. The scarlet wine is mostly found in forests and prefers fresh soil and sunny to shady locations. The attractive wine in our latitudes is mainly used for greening. A free location on fences or arcades is also possible.

" Tip: Free-standing scarlet wine is less prone to powdery mildew.

Red vine leaves for health

The red vine leaves in autumn are not only visually attractive, they can also be used for health. Flavonoids are contained in the leaves. These have a positive effect on the function of the veins. This anti-inflammatory effect is also known from the horse chestnut. Appropriate preparations can be used for mild complaints, such as tired and heavy legs.

When does the scarlet wine bloom?

The flowers of the scarlet wine appear between June and July. These appear rather inconspicuous and are in panicles up to twelve centimeters long. The black berries appear in autumn, which are not suitable for us to eat, but offer the birds a welcome source of food in winter.

Plant scarlet wine

The scarlet wine is an ornament all year round. The plants are fast growing and robust. The deciduous leaves give a flawless impression and are rarely attacked by pests. In autumn, all eyes are on the attractive leaf color. If you would soon like to call this vine, which is generally very rarely cultivated, your own, you can find out here what needs to be considered when planting the rust-red vine.

Find the right location

The rust-red vine thrives in a sunny to partially shaded location. The planting distance should be about five meters. Also note the height of almost 20 meters.

" Tip: A sunny location ensures an attractive autumn color.

If the location is chosen too shady, it can happen that the plant completely misses its magnificent autumn color. A wind-protected location is also an advantage for the scarlet wine. The plants grow quite quickly and can grow three to five meters in height each year. After a few years, you will already have a lush decorative plant.

The ideal location in brief:

  • bright
  • sunny
  • enough space
  • sheltered

The red grapevine as a facade green

A facade decorated with a scarlet wine is sure to be an eye catcher. However, the direct greening of house facades is also to be viewed critically. If the wine sinks up the wall of the house, it can anchor itself in the plaster and will not be easily solved. It can happen that wall damage occurs and entire pieces of wall are torn out. Therefore, use rope systems and appropriate kits, such as this one to give the plants a trellis and to avoid the direct greening of facades.

Choose the ideal substrate

The soil requirements of the plant are rather low. The substance should be fresh and nutritious. Here it is advisable to mix in compost as long-term fertilizer directly during planting. A sandy to sandy-loamy soil is well tolerated. The scarlet wine grows in a slightly acidic to alkaline soil. The potting soil can be kept slightly moist.

The ideal substrate in brief:

  • fresh
  • wet
  • nutritious
  • sandy
  • loamy
  • acidic to alkaline

Planting instructions:

❶ best planting time - spring or late autumn
❷ Loosen the soil and enrich it with organic fertilizer
❸ Dig out the planting hole twice the size of the root ball
Einsetzen Insert the plant
❺ Fill in the substrate
❻ Shake the plant lightly
❼ Tread the floor lightly
Ang Water the plant

A mild day should be selected for planting the scarlet wine. As part of the preparation, the soil can not only be loosened up and weeds and stones removed, but it is also a good idea to mix in compost and horn shavings. So enriched, the substrate becomes a nutrient-rich basis for the good growth of the young plant. If several plants are to be used, a planting distance of at least two meters must be observed. The plants spread quickly and would otherwise hinder each other from growing. Loosen the soil well and take care not to damage the roots when planting.

Hold the rust-red grapevine in the bucket

Bucket keeping of scarlet wine is possible, but has one disadvantage. Plants in the tub will probably not bloom for years and will not produce fruit. In the case of this ornamental wine, however, this can be overcome. The blossom appears rather inconspicuous, the fruits are inedible for us humans. However, the attractive autumn color remains in any case and justifies keeping it in the bucket in any case. While the plants grow abundantly outdoors, this can quickly change in container plants. If there is little substrate available and if it is not renewed for a long time, the vines grow poorly and have smaller leaves than the plants cultivated outdoors.

" Attention: Container plants have a higher water and nutrient requirement than outdoor plants.

Important care tips for wild wine

© joeseo48 -

❍ Watering and fertilizing:

The water requirement of the plants is particularly high during longer dry periods. However, watering should be done carefully, because the plants do not tolerate waterlogging. If the scarlet wine is too moist for a long time, this can attack the roots. If the plants are not converted in a timely manner and soil is exchanged, the rust-red grapevine will probably no longer be saved.

On the other hand, if the plant has less water available, this appears less dramatic. The growth will then fall short of the hobby gardener's expectations. But only in very rare cases will a scarlet wine come in because too little has been enjoyed.

Fertilization should also be done carefully. If compost or horn shavings are mixed into the soil during planting, this already serves as sustainable fertilization. Liquid fertilizer can also be added to the irrigation water during the growing season. Fertilization should be stopped in late summer. Otherwise new shoots would form, which could not mature properly until the onset of frost.

" Tip: Fertilize rather moderately. If the plant is over-fertilized, this is at the expense of the pretty autumn colors.

❍ Cut back:

Since the scarlet wine grows several meters per year, depending on the site conditions, the growth must be slowed down. This can be done with a summer and winter cut. The red grapevine is well tolerated by pruning and you won't mind if you use the scissors several times a year to put the vigorous plant in its place.

" Tip: Before cutting, it should be checked whether the plant has become home to birds. If inhabited bird nests are sighted, the cut must be postponed.

❍ Diseases and pests:

The scarlet wine is quite robust and is rarely attacked by diseases or pests. The greatest danger to the plant is waterlogging. This causes the roots to rot and not infrequently the plant to die.

Occasionally, the following have been observed:

  • Powdery mildew
  • verticillium wilt
  • Mealybug

»Powdery mildew - danger to the plant

Powdery mildew can be recognized by a whitish coating that spreads on the surface of the leaves. In the advanced stage, in addition to the leaves, fears and stems are also affected. The plant will no longer grow as usual. In the case of heavy infestation, the plants can die. So far, however, this has hardly been observed with scarlet wine.

How can powdery mildew be prevented?

  • bright, sunny location
  • nutrient-rich soil
  • constant temperatures
  • protected location

The plant precedes us
The wild wine is smarter than expected. As scientists have recently discovered, plants know how to help themselves to defend themselves against mildew. The fungus usually penetrates the plant through leaf openings. Powdery mildew can discover this through the metabolite nonanal, which penetrates through the openings. Numerous varieties of wild wine are able to exude large areas of nonanal to distract from the actual weak point.

»Verticillium wilt and mealybugs - danger to the leaves

If the leaves of the scarlet wine turn yellow, the suspicion of Verticillium wilt is obvious. The fungus penetrates the plants through the soil and obstructs the water pipes, so that the plant no longer receives enough moisture and nutrients. Those who protect the roots during planting and offer the scarlet wine optimal conditions will hardly have any problems with this fungal disease. The Verticillium wilt predominates in wild wine in dry and nutrient-poor locations.

If white webs appear on the leaves, they are probably from mealybugs. The pests, which are around five millimeters in size, have a proboscis and take the plant juice from the leaves. The result is withering and withering of the leaves. Mealybugs can usually be eliminated with soapy water, nettle stock or garlic tincture without the use of chemical pesticides.

❍ Wintering:

The rust-red grapevine is considered hardy. Vigorous and adult plants come through the cold season without outside help. Young plants are thankful for protecting the sensitive roots. To do this, apply a layer of mulch on the soil around the plant. Container plants are also less robust. You can stay outdoors, but you should move to a protected location and get a protective layer of leaves or brushwood.

At a glance:

care measureexplanation
site selection❍ The scarlet wine feels most comfortable in the sun and shows this by its vigorous growth and an impressive autumn color.
❍ The more shade the plant gets, the smaller the fruit appears and the leaf color also falls short of the hobby gardener's expectations.
Watering and fertilizing❍ Watering requires sensitivity.
❍ Young plants in particular need sufficient water.
❍ Waterlogging is not tolerated.
❍ If there is a lack of water, the plant grows only to a limited extent.
❍ You can fertilize during the growing season.
❍ From August, the scarlet wine should no longer receive fertilizer.
To cut❍ In young plants, only the fresh shoots are shortened.
❍ For older plants, branches that grow too lush are cut back in late summer.
overwinter❍ The scarlet wine is hardy.
❍ A protected location can be particularly advantageous for young plants.
❍ A layer of mulch above the ground serves as root protection for outdoor plants.
❍ Container plants should receive winter protection and move to a protected location.

How can the scarlet wine be propagated?

The rust-red grapevine can be propagated by cuttings and offshoots.

❍ Propagation by cuttings

This type of propagation is simple and can also be carried out by laypersons. The approximately 25 centimeters long cuttings are cut in autumn. These should have multiple eyes. The cuttings are then planted directly in their new location. As the cuttings are not hardy, appropriate protection is necessary.

Alternatively, growing in a plant pot is also possible:

❶ Cut the cutting
❷ put in the growing pot
❸ two buds should protrude from the ground
❹ Use growing soil or a peat-sand mixture
Ang Pour on the substrate
❻ Choose a bright, warm location
❼ no direct sunlight

If the cuttings are planted in autumn, strong plants should have developed from them by spring. After the frost, they can move to their desired location outdoors. Bucket keeping is also possible.

❍ The increase by subsidence

Hobby gardeners have also had good experiences with propagation by subsidence. For this, shoots that reach down to the ground are used. You select a strong and sufficiently long shoot and fix it in the ground. For this purpose, the shoot is covered with substrate and weighed down with stones or the like. The best time for subsidence propagation is in autumn. Vigorous plants form within a year, which are then separated from the mother plant and continue to grow as an independent plant.

The rust-red grapevine as bonsai

Pretty bonsai plants can be grown from old vines of scarlet wine. During the growing season, the plants should be watered daily. Special liquid fertilizers for bonsai plants can also be administered between April and August. The bonsai should be repotted every two to three years. Use extra caution when wiring. The design is upright, possible as a cascade or semi-cascade. In spring, the scarlet bonsai is susceptible to late frosts.