Jerry Wayne Odom Jr.

Growing Hops In The South

I planted some hops rhizomes in Baton Rouge

My friends and I have been brewing beer for about a year now. We've been experimenting with different recipes and techniques for making the most wonderful stuff in the world. In early 2008 I came across Fresh Hops website and read all about people growing their own hops. I love hops in how they smell and all the different varieties of these spicy plants.

Growing Hops In The South

I was unfortunately pretty bummed out when I read that hops most likely won't produce any cones South of the latitude 30 due to the days not being long enough to produce enough light for the plants to produce. I decided what the hell and went ahead and purchased some rhyzomes and a bunch of fertilizer over at the home depot. I planted four different varieties of hops for my experiment:

  • Brewer's Gold - To the far left in my pictures. High bitter
  • Fuggle - Second from left. Aroma hops with lower alpha
  • Nugget - Second from right. Very high alpha at 11%+. Lots of growth to be expected.
  • Golding - To the far right in pictures. Traditional English hops. Medium alpha at 6%
  • Results Of Hops Growing Experiment After 4 Months:

    The hops initially didn't grow that fast. I'd read that the rhizomes spend much of their first year establishing roots so I didn't expect much. So far the Brewer's Gold and Nugget have produced by far the most growth while the Fuggle and Golding have been struggling a bit.

    Hops Cone Production

    At this point I actually have suprisingly seen hops cones produced by the Nugget.(see pictures). I walked out to check my plants out and there are around a dozen small cones on the tops. The roots of the Nugget at the base of the vines look much better than the other three types.

    Update February 2012

    So it's been a few years since all the writing above this. The Brewer's Gold and Nugget have survived but the Fuggle and Golding perished. The subject of rhizomes came up with the local home brewers club and I asked if anyone had any success getting cone production.(I have never had any luck with mine other than a handful of hops). One brewer has successfully had hop cone production in Baton Rouge! First of on varieties he had success with cascade and magnum. He suggested using about a foot of hardwood ash under the cow manure/soil mixture you plant the hops in. He also suggested that they not be in full sun all day since in Louisiana that can be a killer. I plan on retrying another couple of rhizomes sometime in 2012/2013

    Hops Rhyzomes Prior To Planting:

    hop roots

    Hops Garden In April

    hops garden

    August 2008 Hops Growth - You have to look close at some pictures for the little green cones

    beer hops
    beer hops
    beer hops