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Hops Non-Harvest

Hi looking for some advice - I planted Cascade and Centennial hops this year here in North Carolina. I got pretty good vine growth, two shoot from each maybe 15’ high. But no cones. I read several places not to expect much the 1st year so I’m not surprised. I’m assuming at this point I will not get any cones but is it still a possibility?

What I would like to how is what are the best things I can do to prepare the plants for next year. Should I cut the vines off now or let them wither as it gets colder (not for a few months here). When would be a good time to fertilize and what is best to use?

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Disclaimer: I am no expert on hops and this is my first year growing them, but I have been gardening for a while.

My centennials had cones (and a ton more from the rhizome that I thought wasn’t going to make it than the more robust rhizome) but my willamette hasn’t shown any signs of cones - I don’t expect anything, but I have shorter growing season than you do as I’m in NJ.

Some people cut their vines down to make it easier to harvest, but I did a horizontal trellis and plan to leave the vines so they collect as much energy as possible for next season. I know that hops like rich soil, and I think compost is always the best food for plants. I don’t know that I’d bother giving them anything now unless you’ve never fed them, but definitely would top dress with compost at the first signs of life in the spring. I also amended the soil with greensand and rock phosphate for availability in future years, but that’ s probably not necessary (I have other plants at the base of the hops as I’d read they like shaded roots). In another couple months I’ll also cover the soil with shredded leaves as a mulch for the winter.

Keep them up for another month or two. When it starts to get cold, cut them down.

Let them die with the frosts and let them pull back the nutrients from the vines.

Trim back to ground level when the vines are completely brown and withered. For me that would be late Nov/early Dec.

A little loose mulch in early spring can’t hurt. I wouldn’t disturb the soil in fall and potentially expose the root system.

Yours should be more vigorous the second year and going forward. When they grow in the spring cull back all shoots except what you want to grow. For me 6 shoots per plant. The 6 shoots will be more vigorous in their growth.

NC can be very hot, don’t forget periodic watering.


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