Lack of side arms on 3rd year centennial

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nanobrau

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Growing a centennial in zone 10A in a half barrel planter. It loves growing straight up (it’s about 12 ft to the wire), but side arms seem small and only growing on the upper third of the bines. Is this normal?

Admittedly I’m light on the fertilizer. I added one large dressing of compost in the winter and one small one a few months ago.

Watering is automatic every other day.

We’ve had some 85F+ heat waves this year. I guess this could have stunted the plant, but the frequent watering should negate that (hopefully).

Pest activity is low. So which is the more likely culprit? Needs more fertilizer, less heat, different watering schedule?
 

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madscientist451

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How many are in the planter? Did you use potting mix from a big box store? Does the planter have drainage holes? You could do a soil test, but when they go dormant, I'd probably get another planter, divide what you have to give them some more room, and go on you tube for some tips on soil mixes.
Here's a link to some more ideas:
 
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nanobrau

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How many are in the planter? Did you use potting mix from a big box store? Does the planter have drainage holes? You could do a soil test, but when they go dormant, I'd probably get another planter, divide what you have to give them some more room, and go on you tube for some tips on soil mixes.
Here's a link to some more ideas:
Just one in the planter. I mixed the soil myself using a combination of garden soil mix, compost, and bone meal from a soil supplier. I did drill drainage holes before filling the planter. I have a cheap soil pH meter and it did not indicate any issue (but I don’t know how accurate it is).

Thanks for the link. I may reposition it to get noon shade next year.
 

B-Hoppy

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Take a look at the average temperature for July in the region of the US where the majority of the country's hops are grown, I think your problem is other than temperature: Yakima July Weather, Average Temperature (Washington, United States) - Weather Spark

Here is data for temps in a location also growing a large percentage of our hops: Salem July Weather, Average Temperature (Oregon, United States) - Weather Spark

Also Parma Idaho where many acres are planted: Parma July Weather, Average Temperature (Idaho, United States) - Weather Spark

Day-length is a huge factor in hop production - not to mention yours are growing in containers which impose a multitude of stresses on the plants not found in those growing in the ground.
 
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nanobrau

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The StackPath link above sort of conflicts with that temperature information which I can’t figure out. It suggests shading the hops a little but if temperature in zone 9/10 is not an issue then why would some shade help?
 

scrap iron

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Growing in containers will limit growth some. I guess they might need fertilizer. If you have some Miracle- Grow all-purpose plant fertilizer around for the garden, I would use some. Not too much though, don't want to burn them. It takes almost a week to start seeing results.
I have read an article that stated Miracle-Grow all-purpose is well suited for hops. I used some on my 5 yr old hops planted in the ground about every 2- 3 weeks and I have 2-foot side arms on 2 varieties. I live in zone 6 so I can't comment on zone 10 but they may need shade in the late afternoon in your environment.
 

mashpaddled

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You shouldn't see sidearms on the lower part of the plant. They only grow about six feet and above, about the same height as cone growth.

I also grow in half barrels and my plants looked a lot like this the first couple years I had them in barrels. They barely grew. The barrels leak water in every direction and dry out too quickly. The plants aren't getting enough water and the roots are getting too hot. My solution was to bury the barrel up to about six inches out of the ground. That contains the root system but you'll keep more moisture in the barrel and keep the roots cooler. You might want to drill some holes in the base for drainage and eventually a tap root will grow down. Having done the same I am getting dense growth and a good amount of cones.
 
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nanobrau

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I took a fresh look at my hops today and it looks like the side arms are roughly 6" which seems really short. And you're right, they're only on the upper part of the plant. I took the time to give it a combination of stuff I had on hand: 5-10-10, compost, and garden soil.

I've considered burying the planter, but considering how many times I've moved it in the past couple years I'm hesitant. The taproot you mentioned, is that guaranteed to not produce a rhizome outside of the planter? I've already had to remove raspberry plants and that was not fun.
 

Homebrew Harry

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I have a Centennial that is making lower side arms like crazy. When the bine got about 12' tall it stopped growing upward as it was already flowering early for some reason.
 
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