The Amur grape is an attractive vine which can also be used for ground cover. It grows naturally in areas of eastern Asian where the winters are noticeably colder than in Finland and is claimed to be hardy down to -40C in the heart of winter. However, when growth begins in the spring it is tender to late frosts.
In China the best plants are selected as varieties for wine production. The grapes are said to produce quality though slightly acid wines with aromas of strawberry which appeal to Chinese tastes. In Europe, particularly in the former Soviet Union, Amur grape has been widely crossed with the common grape (V. vinifera) and other vines with the aim of producing commercially useful varieties hardy in the continental climate of eastern Europe. Some of these varieties, such as ‘Zilga’, have been successfully grown in Finland.
At Mustila, Amur grape is grown only as an ornamental, a role it fills excellently. The shape of the leaves is beautiful but their best feature is the autumn colour: the fire-red vine climbing over a lichen-grey or moss-green boulder is an unforgettable sight. Currently the Amur grape grows in several spots in the Arboretum, including Alppiruusulaakso (Rhododendron Valley) and the eastern end of Etelärinne (Southern Slope).