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

    8. […] summer I ordered and planted some hop rhizomes; they’re the things you plant in the ground to grow hops. And hops are what you add to beer […]

    9. You didn’t mention how old the hop plants are or when construction starts. I don’t have any experience moving established hops, but I would dig up as much of the crowns as you can (within reason – they can be massive). Then relocate to a sunny location with a plan for trellising them some way next year. The hops should be fairly dormant – if you can wait til the first hard freeze, they will go dormant after that (bines die off) then move them. If you can’t wait go ahead and move them now. You could replant rhizomes but I am not sure about splitting the crown / root stock – may not survive.

    10. CT Marty says:

      I’ve got 3 varieties of hops (Cent., Chinook, N. Brewer) in the ground for harvests now. You can see some results on our website. We’ve harvested about a pound this year and have used in several homebrewed recipes. Great results and really easy. Folllowed some of yourinstructs regarding havesting/ drying. My question is; I now must move my entire bed as I am adding onto house and it is in the path. I will move far away to avoid any construction damage this spring, but how to do?? Do I dig them up now and store in fridge until spring planting? Do I chop up roots and create numerous rizomes from them? If I do should I expect a “down” harvest while they re-root? What to avoid?

    11. Bill,
      You should see something by now or shortly. Has the ground warmed up above 50 degrees where you planted? Does your soil drain where you planted(no pooled water)? Do you have a high clay content(hard soil)?

      Possible problems:
      -dead rhizomes
      -drowned rhizomes(now dead)
      -soil too hard for sprouts to make it to the surface – GENTLY remove some topsoil
      -ground still cold

      Hopefully you see results soon. Wishing you the best.

    12. Bill says:

      First time grower. About 1 month ago, I planted 3 different varieties of hops (rhizomes) about between 3-4 inches deep in South Eastern, MI. The area that I planted them in gets about 8 hrs of late (afternoon) sun each day. We have had plenty of rain recently so I know that lack of water is not a problem but I have not seen any results. Am I just impatient? Any thoughts…
      Thanks, Bill

    13. Jim,
      I am not sure if there is a best mulch – probably one that provides nutrients. The mulch’s purpose is to retain soil moisture and prevent splashing from rain (helps against molds). All I do for fertilizer is top dress the soil with bone meal, blood meal and compost while the sprouts are just coming up then cover with grass clippings (kelp and/or fish emulsion would be good too). You can foliar feed with Miracle Grow or organic liquid fertilizer (before hop cones form) if you wish. If you have decent soil, you don’t need to fertilize. I try and keep it as organic as possible.

      To overwinter, I cover the hop crowns with a thick layer of decomposing leaves that help add nutrients to the soil also. Hope that helps and thanks for the complement.

    14. jim paulson says:

      I like the PA farmer, am getting my rhizomes in late(May 16) had some rhizomes given to me. Weather and other projects didn’t allow for a sooner plant. I am wondering what the best mulch is? Also how often do you fertlize? Want to say what a nice site.

    15. Pa Farmer,
      Not sure how to speed up the process. The below list may help:

      • Prep the soil as early as possible
      • Get the rhizomes in the ground as soon as you can
      • Keep them watered daily the first couple of months (but don’t drown them – not an issue if your soil drains well)
      • Mulch the ground to conserve soil moisture
      • Use compost tea or an organic liquid fertilizer and/or soil inoculant bacterial and fungal

      Best of luck.

    16. Pa Farmer says:

      I am a first year grower and am just getting my Rhizomes (may 15). I have a hillside set up with plenty of sun and live in Southeast Pennsylvania. I intend on tilling the soil with 10 year old mushroom compost to give plenty of nutrients for this first year crown growth. I am concerned about the late start this season and looking for any advice on how to jump start the process in hopes to have a yield this year. I purchased 4 varieties.
      Cascade, Chinook, Perle, & Willamette
      Any suggestions or thoughts are appreciated.

    17. In the refrigerator in a plastic bag with a lightly dampened paper towel – not too wet. They will store fine for up to a month, maybe more. I had hop rhizomes shipped to me in early March last year and they kept just fine until early April when I could get them in the ground.

    18. GA Mike L says:

      Thanks for the comments. I bought my rhizomes yesterday, but can’t get them in until next week. How should I store them?

    19. GA Mike,
      You are on the southern edge (for north of the equator) of the hop growing climate 30 – 55 degree latitude (see map here ==> latitudes that hops grow in). I am in zone 4a, quite different from where you are and I have no experience growing hops in your climate. Some hops do better in hot weather than others. It is best to check with local hop growers and home brew club members for their experience.

      My hops do fine in the high 90’s and at my latitude – 45 degrees, they can handle direct sunlight from dawn to dusk (15 hours at peak summer). I am guessing morning sun would be less stressful than afternoon sun in your heat down there. Check with folks in your area (home brew club members, hop growers, home brew supply stores) – they will have the best advice.

    20. GA Mike L says:

      How much sunlight can they withstand? I have an area that gets sun 90% of the time andgets real hot in the Georgia summer. Should I plan to plant in an area with maybe 50% sunlight?

    21. Chuck,
      You can plant hop rhizomes horizontal or vertical(buds up) – I chose to do it horizontally as well as several of my hop growing friends. When planting horizontally, if the buds favor one side over the other, lay it so the buds point up. Either way works. Dig down at least a foot and at least a foot or two wide to loosen the soil – amend the soil with compost, and/or composted manure and make sure the soil will drain. Mound the soil after you have loosened and amended the soil to prevent the hop rhizomes from drowning. dig a hole in the center of the mound and plant the rhizome 2 to 4 inches deep. You can mulch over the mound (lightly until you have hop bines poking through.

    22. Chuck Lang says:

      Hi thanks great info, I just getting ready to plant my ryzomes. When you say plant them 3-4″ deep, does that depth men to the tip of the new shoot? Mi ryzomes came from NW Hop Farms in Oregon. I just received them. My first attempt.
      Chuck in Tenino Wa.

    23. I have read of several people who do just that – plant hop rhizomes and just let them be the first year to store energy for the next year. I considered it but am glad I didn’t as my hops topped out easily at 15 feet and produced several ounces of hop cones (dried) each the first year. The first year it did take until the end of June to top out – the second year topped out end of May – good for Minnesota. The second year they will start earlier and stronger for sure.

      Your call, first year many people get no cones but I did. Best of luck whatever you decide.

    24. Chris M says:

      I know that in the first year hops are putting the majority of energy into roots. Would it hurt to plant the new rhizomes and let them run wild climbing a fence (and not worry about the PITA of harvest) to minimize effort of trellising?
      I’ve got a nice idea for a trellis but if the rhizomes don’t take for whatever reason I don’t wanna look like the neighborhood moron with a trellis with nothing on it 😀 Then next year once they’re established I’d know it’s worth putting up the trellis.

    25. rob m says:

      nice article . thank you 🙂

    26. Joni,

      It is always a good idea to amend the soil. Make sure the soil drains well. I dig down at least a foot and 2 feet in diameter, their root stock grows like crazy. Have the soil mounded to prevent water pooling around the rhizomes – they can die off from too wet of ground. I would amend the soil now and plant the rhizomes when the highs are above freezing (they would probably be ok in the ground now but generally planted when temps are above freezing (32f)).

      If you have multiple varieties document where you plant them – it is almost impossible to identify after the fact. Same varieties can be planted 3 feet apart, different varieties should be a minimum of 5 feet apart. Hope this helps.

    27. Joni says:

      Thank you for the info – I have some rhizomes given to me by a friend (lucky me) I just rototilled the planting area and am wondering if I should add some soil amendments before planting. Also – we’re looking at high 20 degrees temps here on the Oregon Coast. Should I wait to plant?

    28. I do not speak German, but I believe you are asking about where to get Amarillo rhizomes. Amarillo is a proprietary / trademarked type of hop. Amarillo hop rhizomes are not sold. Only the owner/grower of Amarillo hops can grow and sell Amarillo hops – they do not sell rhizomes at this point in time. They are the only source of Amarillo hops (monopoly).

    29. Lautz Norbert says:

      Hallo bin Hobbybrauer aus Germany: liefern sie auch Germany ich suche Amarillo hopfen Rhizome Bitte um kurze Nachricht:Danke Norbert Lautz

    30. Zan,

      You’re welcome and welcome to the home brewing / hop growing club!

    31. zan says:

      Thanks for the info, so helpful! I can’t wait to start growing and brewing!!!!

    32. Janna says:

      Diddo Erin! Love this website! I wasnt looking forward to coming online to look for this info because I have so much trouble finding what i’m looking for sometimes; but this was awesome! All my questions answered and more. I’m much more excited to grow my hops now!

    33. erin says:

      they were soooooo helpful and informative. im so glad the store by me was sold out and i headed online and found this great company. i will be a returning customer! 🙂

    34. Mine came from via Northern Brewer – they appear to be sold out. They were hard to come by this year, most places did not carry them. It is late in the hop rhizome season and you may have to wait till next year unless you can get some from a friend or rhizome exchange. Good luck – if I come across some, I will let you know.

    35. Curt Braun says:

      I was of the understanding Magnum hop rhizomes were unavailable
      Could you tell me where to purchase them?

    36. Mark Davis says:

      I just got some hops rhizomes, 3 different types, and this site was very informative for the new grower.Thank you, keep it up.

    37. Shawn says:

      Great information about Hop Rhizomes.

    Leave a Reply