Vitis X californica 'Roger's Red'

Vitis X californica 'Roger's Red'

Vitis X californica 'Roger's Red', commonly known as California wild grape 'Roger's Red', is a captivating cultivar of the native California wild grape species.

With its stunning foliage and edible fruit, this plant adds beauty and utility to gardens and landscapes.

In this comprehensive article, we will explore the botanical intricacies, habitat preferences, life cycle, ecological importance, conservation status, and care guidelines for Vitis X californica 'Roger's Red'.


Botanical Description


Vitis X californica 'Roger's Red' is characterized by its vigorous climbing habit, lobed leaves, and clusters of small, sweet-tasting grapes.

The leaves are typically large, heart-shaped, and deep burgundy-red in color, adding a striking contrast to the landscape.

In spring, 'Roger's Red' produces inconspicuous flowers that give way to clusters of round, purple-black berries in late summer to fall.

The berries are highly attractive to birds and wildlife, making 'Roger's Red' a valuable addition to wildlife gardens and habitat restoration projects.


Habitat and Distribution


California wild grape is native to a variety of habitats, including woodlands, riparian areas, and chaparral, throughout California and parts of Oregon and Baja California.

It thrives in moist, well-drained soils and is often found along streams, rivers, and other waterways.

'Roger's Red' is well-adapted to the Mediterranean climate of its native range, tolerating both drought and occasional flooding.

It is often cultivated as an ornamental vine in gardens and landscapes, where it provides shade, habitat, and seasonal interest.


Life Cycle and Phenology


As a deciduous vine,  undergoes a yearly life cycle marked by seasonal growth and fruiting.

New growth emerges in spring, with the vine rapidly climbing and spreading in search of support structures such as trellises, fences, or arbors.

Flowering occurs in late spring to early summer, with the grape clusters ripening in late summer to fall. The foliage takes on vibrant hues of red, orange, and yellow in autumn before dropping in winter, revealing the vine's sinuous form.


Ecological and Cultural Importance


California wild grape plays a vital ecological role as a habitat plant, providing food and shelter for a variety of wildlife species.

The grapes are highly attractive to birds, mammals, and insects, which feed on the fruit and disperse the seeds, contributing to the propagation of the vine.

Additionally, 'Roger's Red' has cultural significance as a native California plant, valued for its beauty, utility, and historical significance.

Native American tribes utilized wild grapes for food, medicine, and ceremonial purposes, underscoring the vine's importance in indigenous cultures.

Vitis X californica 'Roger's Red'

Caring for Vitis X californica 'Roger's Red'



Plant 'Roger's Red' in a location that receives full sun to partial shade.

While it can tolerate some shade, full sun encourages the best growth and fruiting.



Provide regular water during the establishment period, keeping the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.

Once established, 'Roger's Red' is relatively drought-tolerant but may benefit from occasional deep watering during dry periods.



Plant in well-drained, loamy soil with a neutral to slightly acidic pH.

Amend heavy clay or compacted soil with organic matter such as compost to improve drainage and fertility.



Provide a sturdy support structure such as a trellis, fence, or arbor for the vine to climb and spread.

Train the vine to grow along the support structure, pruning as needed to maintain its desired shape and size.



Prune 'Roger's Red' in late winter or early spring to remove dead, damaged, or overgrown branches.

Thin out crowded growth to improve air circulation and promote fruit production.


By following these care guidelines, you can cultivate healthy and productive Vitis X californica 'Roger's Red' vines in your garden or landscape, enjoying the beauty of their foliage and the bounty of their fruit while contributing to the ecological richness of your outdoor space.

Whether used as a shade provider, wildlife attractant, or edible landscape plant, 'Roger's Red' is sure to delight with its vibrant colors and seasonal interest throughout the year.

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