ARIZONA, NEW MEXICO & TEXAS
We're at the 33rd parallel. Hops are said to grow between the 35th and 55th, whether north or south, so I'm about 100 miles out of range. I've been attempting to grow them here for about 4yrs now. I've attempted both in the ground and containers, having more success with containers just because I can move them around a bit if necessary. Last year was the best year I've had as I actually got a crop. I ended up with 1.75oz after drying. I've never been able to get actual hops growing before just the vines.
The biggest issue I've had is getting them to survive over the winter. They either get to much water or not enough but always end up rotting in the ground. This last year I grew 5 different varieties; CASCADE, CENTENNIAL, CHINOOK, NUGGET and MAGNUM. Magnum by far did the best. I've tried centennial every year and it seems to do well here, that's why I stick with it. Cascade did really well here too. All these varieties did well here until it hits about 105F, then growth practically stops. Once it gets over 110F and stays there for a bit you'll start to lose them. If hops are grown in the areas they're supposed to be, they need all day sun, but I've found here in PHX, they need shade all afternoon, and lots of water. I watered everyday, usually about 1 gallon per container. I had 2 plants sitting on a Southern exposure, and the other 3 on an Eastern exposure. They all did equally well concidering the East side got full afternoon shade and the South got heavily filtered afternoon shade from a mature mesquite tree. I also tied the lines up to the roof line, so for the South side they ran up 8ft and the East side ran along a slope, so about 8ft up to 15ft. Once they all hit the roof line, I cut them off and they all sent out shoots sideways and filled in a bit. They had a 50/50 mix of potting soil and homemade compost. They were also heavily mulched with alfalfa.
It has been very challenging, especially the over wintering, if I can get them to survive into a second year and get stronger I think they could do well here. Its getting them established that's been tough. I will also mention that if they don't make it this winter I'm not going to spend anymore time trying to grow them here, its been a lot of time/effort and I'll have to accept that they weren't meant to grow in PHX.
Growing hops in Tuscon under shade cloth.
Hi, I wanted to give you my information about growing hops in southern Arizona.
I've been buying rhizomes from you and growing hops here in Tucson for about 5 years.
The varietals I've had the best luck with are Cascade and Chinook. I've also tried Kent Golding, Fuggles, Liberty, Hallertauer, Pride of Ringwood, and I forget what else.
The Cascade and Chinook are the only ones that have really thrived. but i've gone through a lot of different locations and strategies.
I've discovered that the key to growing hops here is shade.
For a few seasons I would always see hops grow up to a certain height and then in the middle of the summer start to burn at the top, no matter how much water i gave them.
Now I have a trellis about 14 feet high that I put 40% shade cloth over the top of. This seems to tone the Arizona sun down to about the intensity that Pacific Northwest sun would be, and the hops do much better.
The rooted rhizomes also make a huge difference.
Thanks for your great work!
best wishes, Steev, April 2016
Here's how the hops are doing at 1 month in the ground. The cascade has two bines about 1 foot each. The centennial has one strong bine at about 16", and two more that only came up an inch. The Chinook had only 1 bine come out of the ground, and it is around 18". The magnum is doing the worst, with one bine about 5" high, and two more that are about 3/4". I think the problem with the magnum is a bug infestation that happened just as it broke the surface. I have the bugs under control, and the hop is alive, however its growth is severely stunted. The Newport has 1 bine at 10" and another around 5".
I am growing in containers due to poor soil here. I am in southern Arizona and the elevation is over 4000 ft. Our hottest days have been into the low 90s, and its only getting hotter. I trained the bines onto the twine early due to the high winds here. They've been getting water nearly every day, however I'm going to back it off a little bit, as the soil is very moist, and I'm having overwatering issues on my other vegetables. I hope this information helps. I'll send another update in a month or so. - Alex
I bought my first hops from another source in 2010. I tried the following hops (planted North to South)
2 Crystal (replaced Centennial)
4 Mt. Hood
Spouse failed to water; Centennial died; others grew up to ~ 4'.
Bought Crystal from you to replace Centennial; other site not selling Your rhizome looked good; shoots were just forming when planted. Looked great when opened; day later mild mold showed; not worried as had same last year.
Photos today show Cascade going nuts, others (Magnum & Willamette) doing well. Wondering if Cascade is that much more hardy or if soil stayed warmer near north fence.
FYI: This area produces most of the US's cotton. Semi-arid. Much grows well here with irrigation if acidic soil not preferred. Winters much milder here than even TX Panhandle, which itself is milder than Great Plains.
Last year's plantings broke ground same time oak trees budded a couple weeks ago.
Fully confident hops will do well here. Planning a 12' tall horizontal cable from which to hang twine, 2 bracts per plant, plants 5' apart. Expect to have nice shade from afternoon heat.
I appreciate your good service and interest.
Coincidentally, tonight I went to local homebrew club meeting to show photos. Met a fellow who has had superb results for about 6 years with Cascade & Chinook; he said his Kent Goldings did poorly. He said the stalks grew up to about two inches in diameter at the base.
I noticed in my last order of hops that you are compiling information about how well hops grow in different climates. I live in Houston Texas and I have ordered Zeus, Brewers Gold, and Cascade hops. I just received the Cascaded rhizomes so I don’t have any info, however the Zeus died as soon as temperatures reached the mid-90s. My Brewers Gold have thrived in the Houston climate. This will be the third season for them. I’ll let you know how the Cascades do this year.
San Antonio, TX
Just got the Chinook rhizomes you sent, thanks. My hop experience in San Antonio is that Chinooks do better than centennial and magnum (my magnum's actually bit the dust last year in a record hot and dry summer). Centennials get a faster start and vine well but produce poor yield. The Chinook are slower to take off, and must be picked continuously for a couple months in mid summer. Ideal planting time is in early to mid February, as the plant will have a hard time keeping up with the heat if planted later. Yields are better in cooler, wetter years, but you'll need a lot of vines in order to support your home brew operation, regardless. My best yield so far was: about 3-4 oz per Chinook vine (dried). - Walter
Howdy, I am in Waco, TX. Ordered some Cascade rhizomes last year and they took off, one rhizome even produced flowers! I ended up getting about a pint baggie full. Before anyone gets too excited, however, I must state that I had to reorder this year. I am not sure if it was the heat, the drought, or my brother-in-law continually mistaking them for Virginia creeper and weed-eating them (no doubt a combination of all of the above), but both vines were dead by the end of August. I'll try a few things differently this year (including tagging and labeling the vines!) and see how it goes. I do think you have a good product, just not sure yet if hops will really adapt to this area. We shall see! Thanks!
***Update from Dana: The vines are still alive, amazingly...of course it's almost November but it still gets in the 80's during the day. They did not really produce this year, just a sparse dusting of stunted flowers. I will be interested to see if/how well they bounce back in the Spring.