Hop Rhizomes In the Ground

    Insulated Magnum Rhizome
    Nugget Hop Rhizome
    Cascade Hop in the Ground

    April 11, 2009 – Well I did it.  I couldn’t wait.  Let’s hope I don’t regret this early hop planting for Minnesota.  I checked all available potential hop garden spots in my yard.  The ground was frozen in every one of them except on the south side of my garage which was my intention and first choice.  The soil preperation I did last fall seems to be working well.  The soil is loose and full of decomposed organic matter (leaves and grass clippings and wood ashes).

    I built mounds and planted the Cascade, Magnum and Nugget rhizomes 2-3 inches deep and mulched over them with a couple inches of leaves to insulate and keep the soil from warming up from the sun.  Where I live, Bloomington, Minnesota will freeze several more times so I am trying to delay the rhizomes from sprouting (I don’t care if the roots grow, I just don’t want the bines to sprout yet and freeze).

    Next weekend I have a wedding, I have to work the weekend after that…  I just didn’t feel comfortable letting the hop rhizomes sit in my refrigerator that long (my vegetables don’t last long  and it has a tendency to freeze now and again) it has already been a couple weeks.  Wish me luck!

    Categories : Growing Hops


    1. Caveman4hire,

      Welcome to the hop growing club! We all know your excitement – it does not fade over time either. Keep them watered (without drowning them). The first year, until the hop crowns/root stock gets established, they require more water. After year 1, the roots are established and they are not as vulnerable to drying out. It is good to mulch the ground to help prevent evaporation (grass clippings, leaves, compost, hay or straw…).

      Touch base with local hop hop growers (local home brew clubs, forums…) as to their experiences with your climate, weather, hop varieties that do well… they will have some good advice. Best of luck and keep us posted on your experiences good or bad.

    2. Caveman4hire says:

      Hey guys I’m a newbie at growing Hops. This is my first growing season, and I’m so excited. I’m growing Kent Golding, Zeus, and Perle. I live in North Carolina, and they are getting plenty of warm sun. My Kent Golding just shot two sprouts up, I feel so excited.

    3. I do not know how cold it gets in northern Illinois over the winter – here in Minnesota, you need to protect hops in the ground and definitely protect them in containers (minus 30 below). I would insulate the containers as best as you can (mulch on top with leaves, straw or hay) and surround the containers with bags of leaves and/or anything else you can insulate the containers with.

      Hop plants crown/root stock and rhizomes will easily grow to the sides and bottom of the containers – not leaving much insulation from the elements. You may want to talk with some local hop growers / homebrewers and see how they deal with container hop plants over the winter. Better safe than sorry.

    4. Leon says:

      I too am growing 3 hops in planters (cascade, goldings, williamette) I am in northern Illinois. I found a great beginning support for them, I cut a piece of fence with 6″x6″ squares and burried it around the edge of the planter. no matter where the shoots come up there is a square for them to grab on to keep them off the soil. I was wondering if I should be concerned about the rhizomes freezing this winter as they are in the planters and cold air circulates around them?

    5. I have yet to come across info on temperature hardiness of hop varieties. If/when I find info on this, I will let you know. Someone visiting this blog may have experience with your type of climate and growing hops. You might try Yahoo Grow Hops group . It is a pretty active, diverse and knowledgeable group on growing hops.

    6. Dan O says:

      I am interested in trying to grow my own hops. I live in Butte,MT and the elevation is 5200 ft. We had frost every month so far this year. Not normally, but it happens. It seems that the cascade variety works in this area, but are there any others that might work?

    7. Steve,
      Congrats on a successful hop season! You want to leave the root stock / crown in the ground over winter – hops are very hardy. After the hop bines die, cut them down and mulch over the the mound over the winter and uncover in the spring.

      Hops are invasive – they will spread out via under ground rhizomes. Many people will dig a 2 foot diameter circle around the crown to chop off the rhizomes (you can plant them elsewhere or sell / give away or trade hop rhizomes to friends and fellow home brewers for beer or different varieties of hops). If you want them to spread further, let them be. Hope this helps.

    8. Steve says:

      Tried growing my own for the first time this year. Planted Cascades and Willamettes. They did quite well and I anticipate having enough for at least a couple styles of homebrew. I don’t know if I am to leave the rhizomes in the ground this winter or dig them out and replant next spring.

    9. James says:

      frozen in the refrigerator… by mistake of course. I planted them about one month ago and now the days are getting longer and warmer they have started to kick into action. I wouldn’t recommend freezing though, as one of them (the smallest) hadn’t come up so i pulled it out and it was completely rotten and soggy inside. Luckily the others are okay and hopefully they grow into healthy plants

    10. James,

      Good to hear. Are you referring to your rhizomes being frozen in your refrigerator or in the ground? Not sure how cold it gets where you are at – I realize it is your winter. Obviously hops and beer/ale is universal!

    11. James says:

      Just thought you guys might like to know the hops have survived being frozen. Lots of little leaves are starting to poke their heads through the soil now. They must be tough little buggers!

    12. I would wait and see what happens – nothing to lose. Are the pots indoors right now or are your low temps above 32 fahrenheit or 0 celsius? New hop shoots or bines will not survive a freeze – bad start for newly planted hop rhizomes. Other than being the opposite growing season between our hemispheres and where in Australia you are would determine if they will survive outside. I would order new rhizomes for your next spring (whenever they become available for your area) just to be safe. Best of luck. Keep us posted on your hop growing endeavors.

    13. James says:

      sorry…. forgot to say i am in australia…. so we are mid winter now. I’ve put the rhizomes in a pot with potting mix… but do you think i should probably cut my losses and just order some new ones?

    14. Not sure why you are hanging on to hop rhizomes this late in the season. To my knowledge, you cannot store rhizomes long term. From everything I have read, you are not supposed to let them freeze. Hops do survive frozen in the ground over winter though. I would get them in the ground as soon as possible or if you are going to plant them later, I would not put much faith in the hops sprouting. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

    15. James says:

      Hey… I put 6 different hop rhizomes in my old garage fridge (wrapped in wet newspaper) and discovered today that they are frozen. Are they stuffed? They still look okay… with some nice green shoots coming through

    16. Thanks. I would think you should have hop sprouts soon. My Magnums took 10 days, Cascade took 15 days. You are in a warmer area than I, should speed things up. For some reason, growing hops is more exciting than growing most plants (maybe it is the fast growth rate or probably beer/ale anticipation!). Best of luck and keep us posted on your hop growing experience.

    17. Mr H says:

      Very cool site. I planted a Sterling, centennial, and Mt. Hood on the 18th. They haven’t poked through yet but I am very excited. I’m in Omaha and I think the weather should be clear from here on out. Good luck

    18. Good luck with your Williamettes! I am thinking about trying a containerized hop plant on the West side of my house. It would get a solid 8 hours of direct sunlight, not quite what the southern exposure does but I have a 30 foot peak on the west side of my house. I just got back in town last night (gone for 5 days for my son’s wedding in AZ). I checked the hop rhizomes and they have not broken ground yet (That’s what I was hoping for). I’ll keep everyone posted with pics and a play by play on their progress.

    19. You should do great with full southern exposure. Good luck with your hops. I will Post pics and any helpful hints I come across along the way.

    20. Dave says:


      Cool blog! I, too, live in the TC (Roseville) and I just ordered two rhizomes, Cascade and Chinook. While I’m waiting for delivery, I just staked out my garden spot…full southern exposure right next to our house.

      It’ll be interesting to compare results.

    21. Lane says:

      Hey, I just found your blog, and have got to say you got some great information. I am trying to grow hops for the first time this year, but since I don’t have a lot of space I am growing them in containers. Glad to see someone has taken the plunge this early in MN too! I planted my Willamette about 2 weeks ago, thinking they would take a couple weeks to sprout. One jumped up nearly instantly and the other popped out just the other day. Since they are in containers luckily the back porch can hold them for a week or 2 more before they go outside. I’m just a little uneasy with not having something for them to grow up in place yet. Hope your hops do well, I’ll be checking back for updates.

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