Hops Growing Problems

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Active Member
Feb 21, 2010
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Flat Rock, NC
I've got a couple first year hops growing. Fuggles and Willamette.

I have them running up 20' lines next to my porch. They both started out fairly strong, and look good.

One problem I've had, is that something is eating the leaves. I've used a couple different types of organic pesticide on them, but to no avail. I pretty much gave up after a while and decided to let nature take its course. Both sets of hops have lost I'd say 1/16th of their leaves (eaten away).

The Willamette are doing great... they're a bit over 7' tall, and growing noticably every day.

The Fuggles however have just stalled out, and have stayed around 6' for about two weeks now.

Any idea on why a hops plant would stall out like that? Before they stopped growing, they were growing super fast too...

I hit them with a little bit of miracle grow a while back, but other than that, I've just let them enjoy the good soil I planted them in....

Still new to all this... any advice is welcome.
First year growth is not what you might expect. My second year plants are three times the hight of the first year. I use an organic fungicide/pesticide spray I picked up at HD. There are a lot of pests out there that can cause you problems. Pictures of the plant/leaves and bugs can help a lot.

Salute! :mug:
Depending on the soil they are in, the fact that they stopped growing might be a sign that you need more fertilizer/plant food. Hops are hungry and pull up a lot of nutrients. But as they are first year hops I would want to know a lot more about your growing conditions before suggesting more fertilizer; don't kill 'em! Also, the different types will behave differently. What kind of nutrients have they had? What's your soil like?
Might need fertilizer. I use Schultz' liquid 10/10/10 diluted once a week. I like the liquid as it's easier for first year plants to get those nutrients. Don't over do it but light applications seem to give good results.
One of my hops was eaten by snails. That might be the case with yours. There are a few options to keep them away. I used eggshells and coffee grounds and my hop took off. Now it's about 2 feet. Check early in the morning your plant for snails. During the day you will hardly see them, unless it rains.
I would suggest using organic fertilizer if you want to feed the hops, some good organic fertilizer would be bat guano or earthworm castings, not to mention compost (that you added your spent grain to I hope). As far as the pests are concerned, try to identify the pest, if its a caterpillar or similar pest I would suggest using BT (bacillus therengensis) I am sure I misspelled the species name but that should be enough to find it. If it is another pest I would recommend dusting the base of your plants with diatomacous earth, its basically little dead organisms that are made of stuff similar to glass and will cut the bugs up before they can get to your precious hops. Hope that helps, good luck!
Thank you all for the advice. I ended up being called out of town for work, so, I ended up just letting them go, and waiting to see what happened.

All the fuggles are exactly the same height as when I posted this thread. But, an interesting developement occurred.

One one bine, in 4 different places, at junctions where two leaves sprout off the bine, a new shoot is growing, and wrapping up the string. One shoot is already 4 inches long.

The willamet are growing like mad though... they're a good 2 feet taller than they were when I innitially posted this.
I have stuff eating my leaves, but I don't worry about it as the hops have been in for several years and they are well established. All my hops are up to the top of the wire support of 21-1/2 feet except for the Goldings. You will find that the native hops such as Willamette are much more vigorous than the imported hops.

You must like Fuggles as Willamette is a hybrid of Fuggles.
I just had a friend who was growing both. She cut some off for me, so I thought I'd give a go at trying to grow them.

Personally, I haven't used anything but pellets in any of my brews.

If I get anything from these hops, I intend on giving them away to friends who also brew.
my EKG have stalled for a month now at 1-2", still a healthy green though.

i heard a theory from someone on here that when first years stall for a while, theyre just growing more roots down below.

not sure if this would be the case for your Fuggle though..

just a thought.


If it makes you feel better, I've got 17 different types growing. My Fuggle hit 6' tall, and stopped growing. They are getting "bushier", but not taller. Looks healthy, very thick, but it won't break 6'. Next to it, my 1st year Newport is maybe 22' tall. I keep scratching my head and reminding myself to not compare different types of hops.
Well I have a 1st yr Mt. Hoods had a very similar problem to you. They were the first out of all my 1st year rhizomes to grow, and grew noticeably every day, and were much thicker, overall healthier looking bine. Then about 2-3 weeks ago they started to get eaten by bugs, tip snapped off, and they stopped growing for about 2 weeks at4 ft tall. I picked a few leaves, sprayed sme inseciticidal soap a few times, and a few days ago I notice they're sprouting side arms which I'm told is where the flower buds gros, so all seems well with patience :)
If you can see it, look to see if the growing tip has been damaged. I had one of my first year bines do that, shot up to about 5 feet in a week, and then nothing. I looked and saw the growing point had been bent, probably a bird crunched it while landing on the twine. After the side arms came out I trained them up the twine, but it looks like that is as tall as that bine is getting this year.
I'm having that problem with my kent goldings. Getting bushy but no real heights its still only a foot tall. What ended up happening with y'all's?