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Old 01-19-2014, 11:49 PM   #1
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Default Plants vs. Rhizomes

I am definitely going to be growing hops this year for the first time. I've had a successful vegetable garden for the last two years, and figure adding hops will be a welcome addition to the garden.

I've found several sources for rhizomes, but I found one online store, High Hops, selling hop plants instead of rhizomes. According to the information they provide, buying plants seems far superior to buying rhizomes... However, they're obviously pretty biased in their recommendations. lol

If I can have a better harvest the first year for just a few bucks more, it would be well worth it for me. However, what do you guys say? Is it better to buy plants instead of rhizomes?

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Old 01-20-2014, 12:08 AM   #2
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I don't think it's that cut and dried that transplanted crowns will be so much more productive than first year rhizomes as they still have to establish a root system, but if you're OK with paying the premium I'd go with the crowns...

Cheers!

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Old 01-20-2014, 01:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max384 View Post
I am definitely going to be growing hops this year for the first time. I've had a successful vegetable garden for the last two years, and figure adding hops will be a welcome addition to the garden.

I've found several sources for rhizomes, but I found one online store, High Hops, selling hop plants instead of rhizomes. According to the information they provide, buying plants seems far superior to buying rhizomes... However, they're obviously pretty biased in their recommendations. lol

If I can have a better harvest the first year for just a few bucks more, it would be well worth it for me. However, what do you guys say? Is it better to buy plants instead of rhizomes?

Yes and no.

It comes down to what you're trying to accomplish.

Generally those selling plants (High Hops is one, Great Lakes Hops is another.) have taken and rooted softwood-cuttings from mature plants (that may or may not be virus/disease-free) and grown them on to produce an entirely new plant. This process ~generally~ takes on the order of several months, but is also variety dependent. That is to say, some varieties seem to root and form a new crown and rhizome structure much easier than others, but some also seem to root even easier and take longer to form those same structures.

Rhizomes are essentially the same idea, only it's coming from an entirely different region of growth. A rhizome has active sites (buds) along the stem that are dormant until its growth is triggered.

Pros-
Plants have generally formed the crown and rhizomes, have generally been vernalized (this is a cold-treatment that induces flowering the following season), have had a period of dormancy that produces vigorous growth (plants need rest too!), have an established root system, and likely flower the first season. Also, the likelihood that your plant survives is much greater than a rhizome.

Rhizomes are cheaper, and have undergone the same period of cold-treatment that promotes both dormancy and vernalization. (This allows vigorous growth and flowering.)

Cons-
Plants are more expensive, they will generally suffer transplant shock (depending on when you're planting), and you still won't receive a full yield the first season.

Rhizomes generally don't grow large enough in one season to flower (a certain amount of growth is necessary to flower), they also need to establish a root system and grow shoots (bottom and top growth), and you likely won't receive a full yield until the third season. Rhizomes are generally planted two to a hill, this generally ensures that you receive at least one plant later on.


Things to keep in mind-
Always buy from a reputable source, rhizomes are not always checked for disease and pests, which can pose issues for you later on. Do the same for plants, and pests can easily transmit diseases and viruses among plants.

Keep costs in mind, you may have to buy more rhizomes than plants, so weigh your options.

Either way, you likely won't receive a full crop, so don't worry if you don't get much in your first season.

Feel free to ask any other questions, I hope I was able to help.

PBJ
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Old 01-20-2014, 02:34 PM   #4
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I inherited 3 plants, sunbeam, Willamette, and Nugget. All crowns. I got great yield first year with sunbeam and nugget, and almost noting off of the Willamette. Same soil, growing conditions, water, sun, everything. It depends also on the varietal that your growing.

I'll probably ditch the sunbeam this year, as it doesn't make a good bitter, flavor or aroma hop (it's an ornamental. Thankfully I didn't pay for it.) it was great though to learn how to grow on. I ended up getting a half pound out of it this season.

Fwiw, I'll be ordering plants from great Lakes this year to replace sunbeam and Willamette I don't think Ill have the patience for rhizomes.

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Old 01-20-2014, 03:01 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by PapaBearJay View Post
Yes and no.

It comes down to what you're trying to accomplish.

Generally those selling plants (High Hops is one, Great Lakes Hops is another.) have taken and rooted softwood-cuttings from mature plants (that may or may not be virus/disease-free) and grown them on to produce an entirely new plant. This process ~generally~ takes on the order of several months, but is also variety dependent. That is to say, some varieties seem to root and form a new crown and rhizome structure much easier than others, but some also seem to root even easier and take longer to form those same structures.

Rhizomes are essentially the same idea, only it's coming from an entirely different region of growth. A rhizome has active sites (buds) along the stem that are dormant until its growth is triggered.

Pros-
Plants have generally formed the crown and rhizomes, have generally been vernalized (this is a cold-treatment that induces flowering the following season), have had a period of dormancy that produces vigorous growth (plants need rest too!), have an established root system, and likely flower the first season. Also, the likelihood that your plant survives is much greater than a rhizome.

Rhizomes are cheaper, and have undergone the same period of cold-treatment that promotes both dormancy and vernalization. (This allows vigorous growth and flowering.)

Cons-
Plants are more expensive, they will generally suffer transplant shock (depending on when you're planting), and you still won't receive a full yield the first season.

Rhizomes generally don't grow large enough in one season to flower (a certain amount of growth is necessary to flower), they also need to establish a root system and grow shoots (bottom and top growth), and you likely won't receive a full yield until the third season. Rhizomes are generally planted two to a hill, this generally ensures that you receive at least one plant later on.


Things to keep in mind-
Always buy from a reputable source, rhizomes are not always checked for disease and pests, which can pose issues for you later on. Do the same for plants, and pests can easily transmit diseases and viruses among plants.

Keep costs in mind, you may have to buy more rhizomes than plants, so weigh your options.

Either way, you likely won't receive a full crop, so don't worry if you don't get much in your first season.

Feel free to ask any other questions, I hope I was able to help.

PBJ
Thanks for such a detailed reply! If I'm understanding it correctly, it seems that the only real downside to buying plants is the cost? And with the recommendation to plant at least two rhizomes per mound to ensure at least one will survive, it seems that downside is completely negated. So, it seems buying plants is the way to go?

Also, I hadn't found Great Lakes Hops. Would you recommend one company (High Hops vs Great Lakes) over the other?
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Old 01-20-2014, 04:56 PM   #6
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Been playing around with hops since the late 80's with most of my plantings being from rhizomes/transplanted crowns. This year I did some bartering with Great Lakes Hops and obtained about 6 different plants. For one reason or another, this took place in June which is seen as kind of late in the season for planting. The vigor and yield of the plants vs. rhizomes really blew me away. I've harvested up to 1/2 pound dried from some first year rhizome cuttings in the past, but the plants all performed much better in their inaugural season.

One tip on getting your rhizomes off to a good start is to leave a set of buds barely sticking out of the ground when planting (there should be at least two rings of buds on a legitimate cutting). Sometime last year, I happened to see a picture of a greenhouse with hundreds of potted rhizomes. Each pot had a portion of the rhizome poking out above the soil (vertical orientation like they weren't planted deep enough). I got to thinking and decided to give it a try. After a week there were numerous buds showing new growth. I think, perhaps, that those buds which were left exposed to the light were able to manage a little photosynthesis quicker than if they'd been kept in the dark (buried). Just an observation, Hop On~

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Old 01-20-2014, 08:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max384 View Post
Thanks for such a detailed reply! If I'm understanding it correctly, it seems that the only real downside to buying plants is the cost? And with the recommendation to plant at least two rhizomes per mound to ensure at least one will survive, it seems that downside is completely negated. So, it seems buying plants is the way to go?

Also, I hadn't found Great Lakes Hops. Would you recommend one company (High Hops vs Great Lakes) over the other?
I've not purchased from either, so I'm not really capable of making a reply. Everything I own I have either propagated myself, or received rhizomes. Though really, I'm sure whoever you go with will greatly appreciate your business.
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Old 01-20-2014, 09:11 PM   #8
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Thanks for such a detailed reply! If I'm understanding it correctly, it seems that the only real downside to buying plants is the cost? And with the recommendation to plant at least two rhizomes per mound to ensure at least one will survive, it seems that downside is completely negated. So, it seems buying plants is the way to go?

Also, I hadn't found Great Lakes Hops. Would you recommend one company (High Hops vs Great Lakes) over the other?
This is what I get for being a "budding" plant scientist.
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Old 01-20-2014, 10:30 PM   #9
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With proper management and proper soil when you plant them you can have good yields on the first year.

I only planted 6 tiny rhizomes, 2 of each type in the same hill an inch apart in case one died. I ended up getting over 1# of dry hops off those 3 plants...my cascade vines were easily nearly 30 feet long.

Once i started fertilizing them properly and consistently with MG during the growing and Super bloom during the flowering they took off.

This was my first year cascade, it hit the eaves which are about 20 feet, went left towards the other rhizome for another 5-6 feet over to the other plant, then i had to get out there and loop the vine back to the right and it went another 2-3 feet. As you can see it got so heavy it pulled the top rope down a good 2-3 feet. Thank god i drove like 24" garden stakes into each end or it would have torn my entire setup down. The rope was straight when the season started lol...made me realize i need another eye bolt in the middle to loop the top rope through.

Based on everything i read here i felt like i was way over watering them, i had the sprinklers on for 10 minutes every other night during the summer, or every night on the few 100+ days we saw....but they all seemed to do very well so im not going to change my attack this year!

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Old 01-22-2014, 04:15 PM   #10
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Also, I hadn't found Great Lakes Hops. Would you recommend one company (High Hops vs Great Lakes) over the other?

This may help your decision if you're looking for plants: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f92/grea...crowns-334560/
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