How can there be seedless grapes? How can they reproduce?

A woman buying grapes at the market.
Almost all fruits are becoming seedless due to cultivation through cuttings. Jupiterimages / Getty Images

If you go to a grocery store today to buy grapes, there's a good chance that the only type of grape you can buy is seedless. Nearly all grapevines in production today produce seedless grapes.

It turns out that most fruits today do not come from seeds. They come from cuttings instead. This is true of grapes, blueberries, apples, and cherries — pretty much all fruits except citrus, although scientists are working on that, too. A piece of a vine or branch is cut off, dipped in rooting hormone and then placed in moist dirt so that roots and leaves form. Because they come from cuttings, new grape vines are essentially clones of the vine they were cut from.


Seedless grapes actually do contain seeds at some point. But a genetic error prevents the seeds from forming hard outer coats like normal seeds do.

Seedless Grape Varieties

Seedless grape varieties are immensely popular for their convenience and sweet, juicy texture. One prominent variety is the Thompson Seedless, which produces large and medium-sized pale green grapes that are often eaten fresh or used in the production of raisins. This variety is renowned for its mild flavor and versatility. Here are a few notable varieties of seedless grapes:

  • Thompson Seedless: Known for its versatility, the Thompson Seedless produces pale green grapes and is famed for its milder flavor and juicy texture. They are ideal for eating fresh, making raisins, or even wine production due to their sweet profile.
  • Flame Seedless: Flame Seedless grapes are red, extremely sweet, and very crisp. They are a popular choice for a snack, particularly in the summer months. These grapes are medium to large and grow in large clusters.
  • Concord Seedless: While the Concord variety is often associated with seeded grapes, there are seedless versions available. These grapes are known for their distinct, sweet, and tangy flavor, making them a favorite for jellies, juices, and snacks.

Each variety possesses unique qualities in terms of flavor, color, and fruit texture. Some seedless varieties bear fruit with underdeveloped seeds or seed traces — fortunately, these seed remnants barely affect the eating experience. If you're planning to introduce grape vines into your home gardens, it's crucial to select a variety that aligns with your taste preference and gardening goals.


Growing Seedless Grape Vines

The process of growing grapes starts with planting young vines in early spring, ideally in a location that receives full sun for the majority of the day. Grape vines prefer well-drained soil and benefit from annual pruning in late winter to encourage more compact clusters and higher fruit yields during harvest season. If you're interested in growing grapes for fresh table grapes, then selecting disease-resistant and winter-hardy varieties is vital. These traits help the plants withstand harsh environmental conditions and fend off fungal diseases, ensuring a successful and bountiful harvest of sweet, seedless grapes.


Caring for Grape Vines

Once the grape vines are planted and established, ongoing care and maintenance are required to guarantee optimal fruit production. Regular watering, fertilizing, and pruning are fundamental practices that foster healthy, productive vines. During the ripening period, it might be necessary to protect the fruit from birds and insects, as these pests are attracted to the sweet, juicy grapes.

In the case of seedless grapevines, pay attention to the vines' nutritional needs and monitor for signs of diseases. Early detection and treatment of any issue are crucial for preserving the health and vitality of the vines, ultimately resulting in a harvest of fresh, seedless grapes for eating and enjoying.


Savoring Seedless Grapes

Seedless grapes offer a hassle-free and enjoyable eating experience with their absence of hard, cumbersome seeds. With numerous seedless grape varieties to choose from and proper vine care practices implemented, you can look forward to savoring these delicious fruits, whether straight from the vine or incorporated into various dishes and beverages. Understanding the unique characteristics and care requirements of each variety is essential for both seasoned gardeners and grape-growing enthusiasts just getting started.

This article was updated in conjunction with AI technology, then fact-checked and edited by a HowStuffWorks editor.


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Seedless Grapes FAQ

How many calories are in seedless red grapes?
Ten red seedless grapes are equivalent to 34 calories.
Are seedless grapes natural?
Seedless grapes may occur in nature and then be manipulated by plant breeders.
What are the sweetest seedless grapes?
Red grapes tend to be sweeter than green grapes. Among red grapes, Champagne grapes can be some of the sweetest grapes.
Are seedless grapes good for weight loss?
Seedless grapes are both delicious and low in calories, so you may want to add them to your diet. Grapes are also known for their resveratrol, which is a powerful antioxidant with potential weight loss benefits.