hop plants vs rhizomes

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oceandan85

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I'm new to hops growing and have been considering buying plants from highhops.net
They say on their site its superior than starting from rhizomes because of a higher success rate and better first year harvest . Can anyone confirm/deny this? Anyone have experience with this supplier?
 

2BeerSpeer

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Check out Great Lakes Hops, I just purchased 8 crowns from them and they are huge....Got them planted and can't wait till spring! These are the different assortments they offer...they also have a FB Page and there customer service is great!

hop assortments.jpg
 

oconnor1981

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Well I have only been growing hops for the past 2+ years but I have been gardening for years. I started hop growing by ordering 5 rhizomes through Freshops. I went with a Zues, Nugget, Cascade, Willmette, and Galena. The Galena did not make it but in my second year I got nearly a pound from each of the other rhizomes. I had intended on expanding last Spring by adding a couple new varieties but never got around to it. That is until July. I ended up ordering a Centennial and Horizon through High Hops, Windsor, Colorado, Hop Plants, Brewing Supplies, The Windsor Gardener . They are the only ones that had hop plants, rhizomes, or anything for growing hops that late in a season. I planted them and did not have very high expectations of them growing well. I'll honestly say I don't know if they will survive the winter..Just my gut feeling. Here is why. I think all these "hop plants" are is a 1/2 or 3/4" clipping of a hop rhizome that is grown in a little cone. Also they are twice the price of rhizomes offered by Freshops. This is in no way a rip on High Hops but the fact is the bigger the rhizome or starter plant the better luck the plant will root and grow. I should have done my research. I don't know what your growing season is Maine but we usually get our gardens in from May 10-June 1st. I would recommend going with rhizomes and getting them in the ground (mounded) on May 1st or so (in MN). We are a zone 4 so adjust appropriately. Do not pre-plant them indoors or anything like that. They will do alright their first year even with proper water, fertilization, light, and care.
 

oconnor1981

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Sorry to banter too much but if you look on this forum you might find hop growers in Maine that will give you rhizome clippings to start your hops. Remember smaller rhizomes results in a slower start but if you give them a couple years they'll take off. Every year I have to prune my rhizomes back an inch or two on each end of the crown.
 

B-Hoppy

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Sorry to banter too much but if you look on this forum you might find hop growers in Maine that will give you rhizome clippings to start your hops. Remember smaller rhizomes results in a slower start but if you give them a couple years they'll take off. Every year I have to prune my rhizomes back an inch or two on each end of the crown.
I think a few more years of growing hops may change your tune. It's not the 'size' of the rhizome, but the 'magic' it performs is what counts. Plants are just that, they're not 'parts' of rhizomes but cuttings of the growing stem and are quite different than rhizomes. Grow lots of hops and pay attention and take good notes and see what happens from year to year. That's the only way to learn. Not meaning to come off sounding mean or anything but plants are living organisms and every growing situation will present unique problems/conditions that will determine the final outcome. So I'd better shut up now before the last IPA determines how I finish this. Have at it, and remember to 'B-Hoppy'!
 

oconnor1981

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Well to be more clear; If you order a rhizome through a hop rhizome distributer you will usually get a rhizome that is 4-6 inches long. The technique on planting them varies from person to person I'm sure. I planted my rhizomes horizontal in a mound. This provides adequate drainage. The hop bines grow vertical and horizontal out of this rhizome. Usually you will cut back all the visable bines except for the the 2-3 strongest shoots. These are the shoots you will grow vertical or horizontal. These are the shoots that will make up your growth and will hopefully produce cones and then flowers over a growing season.

I've chosen to follow suggestions that the crown needs yearly maintainance (as most plants do) to allow them to be as fruitful from year to year. Otherwise they will get tired; My hops havent done this but I've seen this out of perennials. If you cut off a 2" end of the crown on each end these crowns can be planted and will grow. I suggest using a root stimulator to get them going but they will grow.

Rhizomes are only like 5-6$ through freshops.com and about the same through home brew supply venues. They have been the method of allowing the average gardener to grow them for years. I'm certain the aforementioned company has been around a very long time and will back the quality of their product. Some of the new outfits selling "hop plants" such as highhops.net are selling them for like $10.95. They come in a plastic cone that is about 6" long and about 1" in diameter. I planted two of them as stated before and over 2 1/2 months of the growing season they remained alive but did not grow one bit. Maybe they will come back stronger next year. I realize they are a living organism and size does not always matter but how can I expect to get 2-3 healthy bines from each plant when they barely have a hair thin shoot coming out of them now. Maybe I'll be quite surprised this Spring but I am planning on pre-ordering two rhizomes to replace these dead plants. If not then I'll have two additional hop plants. Also the outfit I ordered these through has not been around too long from my understanding and I have no idea if they'll work with me to replace the plants if they don't make it.

The Great Lakes company that another member posted above is a pretty descent company. They have their hands in the production/distribution of a lot of different things grape plants, currants, raspberries, etc. I assure you their hop plants appear to have a much better chance of succeeding than the ones I ordered.They are usually 15-20 dollars though and when I've seen them available they have a limited quantity and only 1 or 2 variaties (Nugget/Northern Brewer). They may have a method of allowing you to order them though. I've only seem them at gardening centers and the ones I usually see are in gallon pots. My only slight of this company is that having your hands in growing everything makes it difficult to focus on quality of each product. I planted three grape vines and two currant plants from Great Lakes last year. Not one of the plants produced a fruit. I'm a patient man so I can wait but it goes without saying that I also got a couple grape vines from a vineyard distributer. These vines produced a ton of grapes and my thoughts are that this vineyard has its focus on one sole product and ensures they are pushing out a quality/fruitful product.

I'm admittedly a novice hop grower at best but sometimes common sense is better then years of experience, and as Bhoppy stated the best you can do is take notes and remember what works and doesn't work. Money aside I would still go with the rhizomes over plants. They are proven, and they usually come from hop farms that have been around for years.
 

Labratbrew

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oceandan85 said:
I'm new to hops growing and have been considering buying plants from highhops.net
They say on their site its superior than starting from rhizomes because of a higher success rate and better first year harvest . Can anyone confirm/deny this? Anyone have experience with this supplier?
A buddy and I bought 50 hop crowns from great lakes... They were $9 a piece and we decided to go with 5 different varieites they were exactly like they advertised. Let me tell you...THEY ARE AWESOME! If you ever have questions then shoot them an email! They are VERY knowledgeable regarding hop plants. and furthermore I plan on buying more for them in the future!
 

friday

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I wouldn't call that a crown, that's a starter that's been grown in a little container for the first year.

Is it a good deal? I think so, I'm going to buy one or two.

Will you get faster production? Yes but not by much if you pant a rizome correctly.

Here's the deal, I know how to grow hops and I get about 3 out of 4 to go, but on the perle variety I'm 0 for 3. If it's a harder to find hop go with a starter and don't mess around. If it's something like a cascade then no, you can get them for a dollar a rizome.

With hop planting it's not how much you pay for the plant, it's the hole you put it in. If you pay 5 bucks for a rizome put another 5 bucks into the hole.

So in summery yes I would buy a harder to find strain at 9 dollars, but on the other ones just wait till spring and and you can get rizomes for cheep if you ask. It's how you plant them that's important.
 

2BeerSpeer

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I'm new to this and just got my crowns 4 weeks ago so I can't say what kind of harvest I will get, but i bought 8 different kinds and the smallest one was twice as big as the crown in the pic i posted earlier. I'd say 5 of them had the main roots over a foot long and as big as my pinky finger and they all had several buds on top of the crown! I ordered 7 varieties Cascade,Centennial,Chinook,Columbus,Magnum,Mt Hood, and Nugget...when they got here I had 8, They sent a Brewers Gold and it had a tag on it that said "lucky dog" "freebie"! The best part is I ordered Hop Starts and they upgraded my order for free...said it was a little late in the year to plant starts so they sent crowns and fall planting instructions! I'm not sure how many varieties they have now but a month ago they had over 20 and you will save 10% buying them through their FB Page!
 

Jagdad

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Not to start a claymation death match or anything....:rockin: just the facts . . .
GLH is a propagator that primarily supplies commercial hopyards. They grow certified planting stock. (Are rhizomes certified? no) They do not grow Raspberry,Currants, ETC. Their field grade plants are not comparable to highhops starts. They are the only supplier that will post pics of what they actually ship. (if you want plants the size of HH, GLH will sell them to you all day long at $3 bucks, no guarantees). They produce 33 varieties year-around because they export also. (just because they don't list it on Ebay, doesn't mean the variety is unavailable) Check out their FB page. Commercial quanties are priced as low as $3.50 FOB. which is very competitive compared with Summit Labs smaller product @ $2.85
This Post-whipping by rhizome suppliers just shows they can't really compete. (Also, GLH could easily sell rhizomes if they chose too.:)) Anybody who really thinks a little piece of a rhizome with no roots or plant structure can really compete with a whole hop plant the first year, is just blowing smoke:drunk:. You get what you pay for - certified healthy commercial grade plants or rhizome sticks . GLH is, as their customers say- "the real deal". (checkout their Ebay customer comments)
Yes - rhizomes are cheaper, and Yes -if you are willing to wait an extra season while rhizomes redevelop a new hop plant;(and if you can get the varieties you want by preordering;) by all means go for the 'somes. Fresh hops and Northwest"s are the best out there. GLH's intent is simply to supply the best hop planting stock available and grow the renewed interest in hops.
 

Greatlakeshops

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Thanks for the defense guys! And if anybody knows a way to ship a big hop crown for less than $10.95 USPS let me know.
 

B-Hoppy

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Thanks for the defense guys! And if anybody knows a way to ship a big hop crown for less than $10.95 USPS let me know.
Give it to me and I'll piggy-back it on a candy shipment! Happy Holidays man!
 

oconnor1981

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I have now looked at GLHs FB page and I have my companies mixed up...there is a similarly named company in MN that I have bought a lot through and they sell good products however they have their hands into growing everything and thus are not the best available for any one product. GLH appear to put out superior products to what I've previously seen available for plants.

My question is this...other than the instant gratification of a plant with growth/greenery how are they better than a decent size rhizome. Including my hops and other perennials I have had greater success with root stock than plants because the rootstock adapts to the new soil venue and don't have replant shock issues like a plant.

I'm not trying to start an argument just trying to get more experience/knowledge from other hop growers and producers...and I likely have to add a couple varieties to my garden this next Spring. For the sake of seeing for myself ill have to go with some GLH plants to see how they compare to rhizome stock I've gotten in the past.
 

Labratbrew

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oconnor1981 said:
I have now looked at GLHs FB page and I have my companies mixed up...there is a similarly named company in MN that I have bought a lot through and they sell good products however they have their hands into growing everything and thus are not the best available for any one product. GLH appear to put out superior products to what I've previously seen available for plants.

My question is this...other than the instant gratification of a plant with growth/greenery how are they better than a decent size rhizome. Including my hops and other perennials I have had greater success with root stock than plants because the rootstock adapts to the new soil venue and don't have replant shock issues like a plant.

I'm not trying to start an argument just trying to get more experience/knowledge from other hop growers and producers...and I likely have to add a couple varieties to my garden this next Spring. For the sake of seeing for myself ill have to go with some GLH plants to see how they compare to rhizome stock I've gotten in the past.
I'll let you know how mine grow in late summer!
 

2BeerSpeer

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From what i've read there is little chance for the crown to go into shock as the plant is dormant...I wish I'd took pics of mine before i planted them so you could see how big these guys are! I'll let you know how the first year goes!
 

Greatlakeshops

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A big difference in GLH's stock from a lot of others is that I operate a clean stock program like the National Clean Plant Program set up by the Feds. All our plants (and growing methods) are licensed and inspected by the USDA. I am a CIP -continous improvement program- grower/supplier.

Also, as a dedicated propagator,(I am not a field producer) I continually select for the best performing plants of each variety IN EACH CROP CYCLE. If I see a superior plant of Cascade, for example, that has better crown structure, bud break, better yield -I will use that plant as a propagation mother plant. (Right now I have 2 "new" Cascades that perform better than the "standard".) This is a big diff compared to a field grower who simply cuts rhizomes from the same plant year after year and sells them as a sideline. Many home growers don't really care about this; but a commercial grower who is trying to make money with the best yields possible sure does!
Certified stock takes a lot of testing, time, money, and effort to grow and maintain. (GLH doesn't get to offset its production costs with a harvest of hop cones, either.) And I chuckle every time someone says we just stick a cutting:D In a nutshell, that's why GLH hops cost more than the run-of the-mill hops. I guess it comes down to - Is a pedigreed pooch worth more than a mutt? Answer: Depends on the buyer . . .;)

Some people also wonder why GLH participates in a home brew site - The answer is simple. I see value in having the discussion to put forward more accurate information about growing hops. I hope GLH's presence here encourages others to participate in adding to HBT's site as being the "go to" site for good, accurate info. Brew on!
 

B-Hoppy

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I more than totally agree. There's a big difference from reading information from various sources and actually having hands-on experience about a subject. And, there's a big difference from having hands-on experience (without an agricultural background), and having hands-on experience AFTER being educated in that particular subject. Many things become very clear when you specialize in an area of growing that are difficult to explain to someone who doesn't have either the hands-on experience or the ag. background. Thanks for trying to bring it all together!
 

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