I have now 4 hop varieties in my garden: Cascade, Saaz, Styrian Golding and Chinook. I ordered the rhizomes in December 2014 and planted them in March 2015.
The first year I did not expect a big harvest, but I have to admit that I got quite some nice hop bells in September 2015. Especially the Cascade had given quite a good harvest and I used that hop fresh in a hoppy saison version (Saison Maison) as aroma hop in the late boil.
In 2016 I got some ‘real’ harvest and also used that one in some of my beers, but then as a dry hop. I air-dried the hop bells and then used them in the boil. I actually bought a herb dryer now to make sure I have a good quality dry hop which I can vacuum pack afterwards. But that is a story for another time.
Now I want to show you how easy it is how to create new hop plants from your existing hop plants. I got the question from a friend who wanted some of my hops to plant it in his own garden. That is how I started to look up how you can multiply the hop plants in my garden. There is basically three ways:
- you multiply the hops by taking some part of the rhizomes
- you use the fresh shootings and put them in water to create new roots
- you use the fresh shootings and plant them immediately in fresh earth
I tried all three of the ways but only succeeded in the last two. My first attempt to multiply the hops by taking rhizomes did not succeed as I believe my plants are not old enough and it is quite difficult to find the rhizomes under the ground. I also was affraid to harm my hop plants in this way.
That is why I tried the two other options as soon as the first shootings came up. I read that the first shootings are hollow and therefore will break easily when the hops bells are forming in late summer. That is why you need to cut them out to let the next round of shootings survive and take over. They are much stronger and therefore better suited. They are also giving more yield.
After I had cut the first shootings, I tried the method of putting them into water and let them root. It took at least three weeks, but after that, the shootings clearly rooted. It took another month before they really started growing wild.
I was so happy to see this :-). Now I only need to plant them out and hope they are growing.
I also tried the second method, trying to immediately plant them in fresh earth. I did not think this method would work, especially because I had 6 seedlings, but only two survived. However, those two are also growing after at least 4 weeks of waiting.
So, yes, it is possible to multiply the hops in your garden. It is actually quite easy. Just take the first shoots and put them either in water or in fresh earth and off they go. I hope now that my friend can use them and that they will form beautiful new hop plants giving delicious hop bells in autumn :-).