Growing Hops from Rhizomes

    Hop Rhizomes Ready to Plant

    Hop Rhizomes Ready to Plant – Humulus Lupulus

    Growing hops from hop rhizomes is easy and almost foolproof.  Hop plants (humulus lupulus) are a very hardy perennial and once established, will provide all the home brew hops you will need.  Hops are dioecious (male and female) only the females produce hop cones.  When you start with rhizomes, they are female so you don’t have to worry about that.  You can expect a hop yield of half to two pounds of dried hop cones per plant.  If you are into home brewing, growing hops will save you a lot of money and put you in control of your supply and avoid the hop shortage.

    Hops grow best vertically so plant where they will have room to grow – at least 16 feet – but will take what you give them.  Hops can grow to 20+ feet in a single growing season!  The first year the crown is establishing itself so hop cone yield will be much less than following years.  Hops will need rope or twine for the bines (not vines) to climb.  Hop bines cling to the rope by wrapping clockwise (you train them) around the rope or twine and stiff “hairs” hold on to the rope.  It is best to rig the ropes so they can be lowered for harvesting the hop flowers (cones).

    Hops rhizomes should be planted in well drained, fertile soil between 6.0 and 8.0 PH once the threat of frost has past.  Hops require plenty of water, sun and nutrients to sustain their high growth rate.  A good organic fortified soil with decent drainage and lots of sunlight will give the hop rhizomes the environment they need.  During the growing season fertilize with compost tea and other gentle organic fertilizers.

    The hop plants should be spaced a minimum of 3 feet apart – 5 feet apart if different varieties.  Generally hops rhizomes are planted horizontally with the white buds facing up, about 1 to 4 inches deep (I go 3 to 4 inches deep), one or 2 hop rhizomes per mound (I do 1 per mound).  A slight mounding of the soil helps with drainage and does not let the root stock or crown of the plant drown in heavy rainfalls or waterings.

    These are rhizomes, they do self propagate by sending out more underground shoots  (rhizomes).  So if you do not want them taking over your hop garden, you will have to “limit” the rhizome spread by trimming the root stock or crown after 2 or 3 years.  To trim hop rhizomes, just cut a 1 foot radius from the center of the hop plant with a shovel, down 4 inches and pull up the rhizomes on the outside of the circle you cut.  You can take these cuttings and plant elsewhere or give to friends to grow their own hops or sell them.

    I will be posting about this years batch of Nugget, Magnum and Cascade hops from rhizome to harvest so check back at least monthly.  Those are the actual rhizomes I will be planting in the picture above.  You will see the methods and rigging of the ropes I use – there are many ways to do this, I go for ease and efficiency.

    There is still time to do this this season so get to it.  The more friends you get interested in growing hops and homebrewing, the more home brews you will have available to you.  Home brew beers and ales are meant to be shared and is a growing hobby for many.  Join a local home brewing group, join some forums, read some books on growing hops.  You can never know to much.  Hop onboard!

    Where to buy hop rhizomes

    Categories : Growing Hops


    1. Debi,
      9 varieties, you are ambitious! Yes, identification is tough if not labeled or mapped out when planted. I currently only have 3 varieties going – Nugget, Magnum and Cascades. I made a drawing, scanned it and keep a copy in my computer. All 3 when side by side are distinct, but accurately identifying by looks alone is tough. Another challenge is after a few years, the rhizome runners travel 3, 4, 5 6 feet plus from the root stock and can easily mix in with a neighbor hop bine.

      You need to trim rhizomes 12 – 18 inches from the center of the hops crown – dig a circle 3 inches deep and pull up runners on the outside of the circle. Unless of course you are growing a single variety and/or want a hop field.

    2. Debi says:

      Very informative. Ours are presently still inside and under grow lights. I have them in starter pro mix. I pinch back every or every other day with the idea of encouraging energy to the rhizome. We have 9 varieties and the ID tags have faded and this presents the problem of being 100% sure of the identification.

      Thank you for all the great information.

    3. Celeste says:

      Love growing hops and sharing rhizomes.
      Love your site, so I’m linking to mine
      as reference for hops growers, if okay?


      Happy Holidays!

    4. Grow Hops says:

      Depends on the ground warmth/sun, variety, health of the rhizome, how deep it was buried… Generally if it is relatively warm / sun warming the ground it can be a few days to a couple of weeks has been my experience. I know, it seems like forever – it will be worth the wait!

    5. Chris W says:

      Curious. I just planted some Sterling this past weekend. Hate to be a pest, but when should I start to see anything coming out of the ground?

    6. Bev,
      Sometimes they don’t make it. If bines or shoots die and new ones do not show up within a couple weeks, chances are the rhizome died. Bad rhizome, soil PH outside of the 6 – 8 range, hard freeze, not enough or too much water are some of the possible reasons.

    7. Bev Morrow says:

      Name correction from previous sent message. BTW the Wilburton never sent leaves back up after the first of the season’s died. Wondering what happened. Bev

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