Planting Hops

How To Plant Your Hop Rhizome

Hops prefer full sun and a well-drained soil. They are a perennial so choose an appropriate location. Hops also can grow to 20+ feet, but can be grown to lower heights or trimmed if desired. 

Your hop rhizome is already sprouted. Plant the woody stem part roughly parallel to the ground about an inch deep with the sprouts facing upward. 

Hops need something to climb on. They are a bine not a vine, so they will grow and cling onto a string or rope or fence or….

Vines, like grapes, have tendrils that hold onto something. Bines only grow in a clockwise direction (no kidding) by attaching themselves with their prickly stem surface. Besides their obvious role in beer making, they make an interesting and fast growing shade plant for a sunny porch or deck area. They will grow upwards of 6” per day (for real). The easiest way to grow them on a string or rope is to drive a stake into the ground near the rhizome, attach the rope/string to the stake, and run the string up to whatever structure and height you have available. When the shoots get to be 18-24” long, train them onto the rope/string by wrapping them CLOCKWISE (no joke) onto the string. If you get confused and train them counter-clockwise they will fall to ground (no kidding!). 

Water frequently, fertilize if you can, and train just two or three shoots to one string. Prune all other shoots off. A mature hop plant may produce 100 or more shoots each year. Keep pruning. Expect your first year growth to be 6-8’, second year 18-22’. In the fall after the first frost, cut the whole plant to the ground. 

Good luck, have fun!