Hop Rhizomes FAQ
When will my order ship?
The specific shipping date is determined by hardiness zones. We will start shipping to southern zones once we can harvest rhizomes, usually around mid-April.
I just got my order. Now what?
Check out our Guidelines for growing hops at home (PDF)
I just got my order, and there is mold on my rhizome! Are they ruined?
Rhizomes are shipped moist so they do not dry out and unfortunately mold may form. Luckily, this does not mean the rhizomes are ruined; in fact, these rhizomes may even be healthier than most (see below). Many seeds and hardier plants can be treated with bleach solutions to kill the spores, but don’t do this to your rhizomes – they are too sensitive to the hypochloric acid in bleach.
One important point of interest is that many roots, like rhizomes, may have white colored ‘mold-like’ growths on them. This is not mold but actually symbiotic bacteria that assist the plant in converting free nitrogen into usable forms. The growths are not thick, should be white to off white (green/blue is most likely a mold) and should converge into concentrated areas of varying size called a nodule. These rhizomes are sort of like winning the lottery as these rhizomes theoretically will have a competitive advantage because nitrogen is one of three important macronutrients. True molds on roots have also been shown to offer similar advantages to many different plants. The rhizomes – the part of the plant that helps the plant survive from year to year – are actually rather resilient to moderate stress and as long as they are afforded the care any rhizome deserves should produce a healthy plant, whether there is mold or not.
My rhizomes are puny little sticks! Are they doomed?
There is large variation from rhizome to rhizome and from variety to variety. A large rhizome does not guarantee a large, healthy plant. The small rhizomes should sprout faster due to a more efficient conversion of starches due to the higher ratio of surface area to volume. Little difference will be apparent in the grown hop bine. The large ones sprout slower but grow faster. This results in some hop flowers reaching maturity slightly sooner or slightly later but the quality of the final product should be the same. There is of course also variation from variety to variety. Cascades are often very small compared to other varieties and of course, the theme that emerges is that the quality of the rhizomes can not be truly assessed until they are planted. Virtually any rhizome will grow a healthy plant if afforded adequate care.
My rhizomes are dried out! Are they dead?
Rhizomes are the hardiest part of the hop plant and is designed to survive moderate stress. As the rhizomes ship they are subject to varying temperature and conditions that are not under our control, which may result in drying. The rhizome should be firm but not brittle. If it is flexible and seems like it will bend without breaking the rhizome is as healthy as we can ask of it. If it seems brittle, like it would break, it probably did not have the healthiest journey. They can be easily saved by misting with water and storing in the fridge until planting. This should help them re hydrate so they do not experience a shock from moisture when planted. Be sure to keep them well watered, well-fed, and they will pull through. Of course, the only accurate way to assess a rhizome is to plant it and observe the growth. Rhizomes are designed to help the hop plant survive year to year so are quite resilient and persistent.