Hops, the dreamy vine that finds its fame in the beer brewing industry, are surprisingly easy to grow.

Their charm does not stop at brewing; hops plants provide visual appeal with their lush green foliage, making them a versatile addition to your garden.

When properly cared for, hops can thrive in a variety of climates, producing a plentiful bounty each season. By learning the essentials of planting, watering, and pruning, you can successfully cultivate your own hops.

Let’s delve into the nitty-gritty of growing and caring for hops plants.

Annual Vegetative Calendar for Hops

Hops, known for their use in brewing beer and for their vigorous climbing habit, are an interesting and productive addition to the garden. To ensure a successful harvest, follow this annual vegetative calendar tailored for hop care.

Spring

MonthTasksDescription
MarchSoil PreparationAmend the soil with compost or well-rotted manure to enrich. Hops thrive in well-draining, rich soil.
PlantingPlant hop rhizomes in a sunny location, with the buds pointing upwards, about 1-2 inches deep.
AprilWateringBegin watering the newly planted rhizomes, keeping the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.
TrainingAs shoots emerge, start training them onto supports or trellises. Select 2-3 strong shoots per plant.
MayMulchingApply mulch around the base of plants to retain moisture, suppress weeds, and keep roots cool.

Summer

MonthTasksDescription
JunePest & Disease MonitoringMonitor for pests and diseases, treating as necessary to prevent damage.
JulyWatering & CareContinue regular watering, especially during dry periods. Fertilize lightly if growth seems sluggish.
AugustContinued TrainingKeep training new growth up supports. Manage lateral growth as needed to encourage vertical climbing.

Fall

MonthTasksDescription
SeptemberHarvestHarvest hop cones when they are papery and aromatic, typically in late summer or early fall.
OctoberPost-Harvest CareAfter harvest, cut back bines, leaving about 2-3 feet of growth to die back naturally.
NovemberWinter PreparationApply a thick layer of mulch around the base to protect the crown through the winter.

Winter

MonthTasksDescription
DecemberRest PeriodHops enter dormancy. No active care needed, but ensure mulch is in place for winter protection.
JanuaryPlanningPlan for the upcoming growing season. Consider any adjustments based on last year’s growth and production.
FebruaryEarly PreparationCheck supports and trellises for repair or replacement. Order any needed supplies for the spring.

Caring for hops involves a mix of regular maintenance tasks such as watering, training, and pest management, along with seasonal adjustments in care to ensure healthy growth and a productive harvest. By following this vegetative calendar, you can enjoy the benefits of homegrown hops, whether for brewing, decorative use, or for their aromatic properties.

Adjust care routines as needed based on your local climate conditions and the specific needs of your hop varieties.

How to Grow Hops

Starting a hops garden at home might seem a daunting task, but with a few practical tips, it’s absolutely doable.

Understanding the plant’s needs and the ideal growing conditions can set you up for success.

Let’s take a look at the process of growing hops in detail.

  • Selecting Hop Rhizomes: Your journey begins with selecting hop rhizomes, which are segments of root taken from a mature hop plant. When buying, look for healthy and plump rhizomes. Remember, different hop varieties cater to different brewing needs.
  • Planting the Rhizomes: Rhizomes should be planted in early spring, as soon as the threat of frost has passed. Dig a hole about 4 inches deep, place the rhizome horizontally, cover it with soil, and then water generously.
  • Caring for the Plants: Hops plants love the sun and need well-drained soil. Water them regularly but avoid overwatering to prevent root rot. Provide a sturdy trellis or similar support, as the plant will quickly begin to climb.
  • Feeding the Plants: Hops are heavy feeders and will benefit from regular feedings of a balanced fertilizer. It’s particularly important during the first few years of growth.
  • Harvesting: Hops are usually ready for harvest in late summer to early fall. The cones will feel papery and will leave a yellow powder when touched.

Where to Grow Hops

Just like selecting the ideal hops variety, deciding where to grow your hops is pivotal to your gardening success.

Understanding how the location affects the growth of hops plants can lead to a plentiful yield.

  • Sun Exposure: Hops plants thrive in full sun. They need at least six to eight hours of sunlight a day. Make sure the selected site has ample sunlight to ensure healthy growth and bountiful yield.
  • Soil Quality: Hops prefer well-drained soil with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5. Enrich the soil with organic matter to improve its texture and fertility.
  • Vertical Space: Hops are climbing plants that can grow up to 25 feet in a single season. They require plenty of vertical space. A sturdy trellis, fence, or similar structure is essential to support this vigorous growth.
  • Water Accessibility: The site should have easy access to water, as hops require regular watering, especially during dry periods.
  • Protection from Wind: While hops can withstand a variety of conditions, they do not fare well against strong winds. Choose a site that offers some protection from the wind to prevent damage to the plant.

With the correct conditions and care, growing hops at home can be a rewarding venture.

It’s not just about the hoppy aroma or the promise of homebrew, but the joy of watching these vigorous climbers flourish in your garden.

How to Care for Hops Plants

Hops plants (Humulus lupulus) are not only a beautiful addition to your garden but also a valuable ingredient for homebrewing beer.

If you’re interested in growing hops plants and want to ensure their health and productivity, here are some essential care tips.

How to Plant Hops Plants

Before diving into the care instructions, let’s briefly touch upon planting hops plants. Hops plants require a suitable location with 6-8 hours of sunlight per day.

The ideal positioning can be determined by monitoring your garden’s sunlight exposure throughout the day. Once you’ve found the perfect spot, prepare the soil by loosening it and ensuring good drainage.

Adding aged manure or compost to the soil before planting can provide valuable nutrients.

To start growing hops, you can either plant rhizomes or root cuttings. Rhizomes are the preferred method, as they have a higher success rate.

Plant the rhizomes horizontally, about 2-4 inches deep, and space them 3-5 feet apart. It’s also crucial to provide a strong trellis system for the bines (hops’ vines) to climb on, as they can grow over 25 feet tall and weigh over 20 pounds.

How to Care for Hops

Now, let’s delve into the care requirements for hops plants:

  • Watering: Hops plants need regular watering, especially during dry spells. Aim to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Applying water directly to the soil rather than overhead watering can help prevent fungal diseases.
  • Mulching: Applying a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plants can help retain moisture, suppress weed growth, and regulate soil temperature.
  • Fertilizing: Hops plants are heavy feeders and benefit from regular fertilization. Before planting, incorporate well-rotted compost or aged manure into the soil. In subsequent years, you can use a balanced fertilizer or one specifically formulated for hops according to the package instructions.
  • Supporting: As hops plants grow, their bines need sturdy support. Install a trellis system or use tall poles and strings to guide the bines upward. Gently train the bines to grow vertically and secure them to the support structure as needed.
  • Pruning: Pruning hops plants is essential for maintaining their health and productivity. In early spring, remove any dead or damaged parts of the plant. As the growing season progresses, trim back lateral shoots (side branches) to redirect the plant’s energy towards the main bines. This will promote better airflow and light penetration.
  • Pest and Disease Control: Keep an eye out for common pests such as aphids, spider mites, and Japanese beetles. Monitor your plants regularly and take appropriate measures, such as using organic insecticides or insecticidal soaps, to control infestations. Proper spacing between plants and good airflow can help prevent fungal diseases. If necessary, apply fungicides labeled for hops.
  • Harvesting: Harvest hops when the cones feel somewhat light and dry. Cut down the entire vine at harvest time and remove the cones by hand. You can use fresh hops for wet-hopped beer or dry them for later use. Dry the cones in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight, until they become papery and brittle.

By following these care guidelines, you can enjoy a healthy and productive hops plant in your garden.

Whether you’re a homebrewer or simply appreciate the beauty of these plants, growing hops can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

Hops Plants Pruning and Propagation

Hops plants (Humulus lupulus) are not only popular for their use in brewing beer but also for their attractive vines in gardens.

To ensure the health and productivity of hops plants, it’s important to understand proper pruning techniques and propagation methods.

Here’s a comprehensive guide on pruning and propagating hops plants.

How to Prune Hops Plants

Pruning hops plants is an essential practice to maintain their vigor and promote better yields.

Here are the steps to prune hops plants effectively:

  • Timing: Pruning hops plants should be done in late winter or early spring when the plants are dormant before new growth emerges. This allows the plants to focus their energy on developing healthy new shoots.
  • Remove old growth: Cut down the previous year’s bines (vines) completely, as they will not produce new growth or yield hops again. Use pruning shears or a sharp knife to remove the bines at ground level.
  • Select healthy bines: Choose the healthiest and strongest bines to train for the new growing season. Aim for about 3 to 5 vigorous bines per plant.
  • Training the bines: As the new bines emerge, gently train them to climb the trellis or support system in a clockwise direction. Secure them to the support with twine or clips as needed.
  • Prune lateral shoots: Throughout the growing season, monitor the lateral shoots that emerge from the main bines. These shoots divert energy from the main bines and should be pruned to maintain airflow and prevent overcrowding.

How to Propagate Hops

Propagating hops plants can be done through various methods, including rhizome division and stem cuttings.

Here’s how to propagate hops plants:

  • Rhizome division: In early spring, when the hops plants are still dormant, carefully dig around the base of an established plant to expose the rhizomes. Use a clean, sharp knife to divide the rhizomes into sections, ensuring that each section has healthy buds or “eyes.” Plant the divided rhizomes in prepared soil, following the planting instructions for hops plants mentioned earlier.
  • Stem cuttings: Take stem cuttings from healthy, disease-free hops plants in early spring. Select a young, non-flowering shoot and cut it just below a node. Remove the lower leaves and dip the cut end in rooting hormone. Plant the cutting in a container filled with a well-draining potting mix. Place the container in a warm, bright location and keep the soil moist. Over time, the cutting will develop roots and can be transplanted into the ground.

Pests and Diseases

Hops plants are susceptible to certain pests and diseases that can impact their health and productivity. Common pests include aphids, spider mites, and Japanese beetles. Regularly inspect the plants for signs of infestation and take appropriate measures to control the pests, such as using organic insecticidal soap or introducing beneficial insects.

In terms of diseases, hops plants can be affected by powdery mildew, downy mildew, and root rot. To prevent these diseases, ensure proper spacing between plants for good air circulation, avoid overhead watering, and provide adequate sunlight. If necessary, apply organic fungicides as a preventive measure or consult with a local gardening expert for specific recommendations.

By following proper pruning techniques, practicing propagation methods, and effectively managing pests and diseases, you can ensure the health and productivity of your hops plants.

Buying Hops Plants

If you’re interested in growing your own hops plants (Humulus lupulus) for brewing or simply for their attractive foliage, you may be wondering where to buy them.

Buying hops plants allows you to choose from a variety of cultivars and start your own hop garden.

Here’s some advice on buying hops plants and where you can find them online.

Advice on Buying Hops Plants

When purchasing hops plants, there are a few important factors to consider to ensure you get healthy and productive plants:

  • Variety selection: Determine which hop varieties you’re interested in growing based on their flavor profiles, aroma characteristics, and brewing suitability. Popular hop varieties include Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, and more. Each variety has its own unique attributes that contribute to the flavors and aromas of different beer styles.
  • Plant health: Choose reputable suppliers or nurseries that provide healthy and disease-free hops plants. Look for plants with robust root systems and well-established shoots. Avoid plants with signs of pests, diseases, or damage.
  • Plant type: Decide whether you want to buy hops plants as rhizomes or potted plants. Rhizomes are underground stem cuttings that can be planted directly in the ground or containers, while potted plants are already established and ready for transplanting.
  • Shipping restrictions: Check if there are any shipping restrictions on hops plants in your region. Some states or countries have regulations to prevent the spread of certain pests or diseases. Ensure that the supplier can ship to your location without any legal issues.

Where to Buy Hops Plants Online

There are several reputable online sources where you can buy hops plants. Here are a few options:

  • Great Lakes Hops: Visit the Great Lakes Hops website to explore a wide selection of hops plants, including unique varieties. They offer field-grade plants for purchase, and shipping typically begins in mid-April. Check their website for availability and ordering details.
  • Burpee: Burpee, a well-known gardening company, also offers hops plants for sale. They provide bare-root hops plants of various popular varieties such as Cascade, Mt. Hood, Centennial, and Brewer’s Gold. Visit their website for more information and ordering options.
  • Essentially Hops: Essentially Hops is another online retailer specializing in hops plants. They offer bare-root hop plants and rhizomes in different hop purpose categories like aroma, bittering, and dual varieties. Check their website for availability and ordering details.
  • Hops Direct: Hops Direct is a family-owned hops provider with a long history of hop farming. They offer a range of hop varieties and provide hops plants for brewing enthusiasts. Visit their website for more information on available varieties and ordering options.

Remember to research each supplier, compare prices, and read customer reviews before making a purchase.

It’s also a good idea to check local nurseries or garden centers that may carry hops plants.

Hops Varieties

Hops (Humulus lupulus) are an essential ingredient in brewing beer, providing aroma, flavor, and bitterness.

There are numerous hop varieties available, each with its own unique characteristics that contribute to the diverse range of beer flavors.

If you’re interested in brewing your own beer or simply exploring the world of hops, understanding the different hop varieties is crucial.

Hops Varieties to Grow

Growing your own hops can be a rewarding experience, allowing you to experiment with different flavors and create personalized brews.

While not all hop varieties are available for home cultivation due to patent restrictions, there are still plenty of options to choose from.

Here are a few popular hop varieties that you can consider growing:

  • Cascade: Known for its citrus and grapefruit tones, Cascade is one of the most popular hop varieties used in craft brewing. It imparts a pleasant aroma and moderate bitterness to beers.
  • Chinook: With its citrus, pine, and spicy undertones, Chinook is a versatile hop variety that thrives in hot and dry climates. It is often used for both aroma and bittering purposes.
  • Centennial: This hop variety is prized for its bittering abilities and lemon notes. It adds a pleasant citrusy flavor and aroma to beers.
  • Crystal: Crystal hops offer a delightful woody aroma and are known for their lower yield. They contribute to the flavor and aroma complexity of beers.
  • Ahtanum: Ahtanum is an aroma hop cultivar with unique characteristics, including citrus (grapefruit), earthy, and floral aromas. It is often used for its aromatic properties and moderate bittering.

These are just a few examples of the wide range of hop varieties available.

When selecting hop varieties to grow, consider your personal preferences in terms of flavor and aroma, as well as the specific brewing characteristics of each variety.

Remember to check local regulations regarding the cultivation of hops in your area, as well as the availability of specific hop varieties for home growers.

Reputable sources, such as certified hop producers, can provide disease-free rhizomes or plants of the desired hop varieties.

FAQs

What type of soil is best for Hops?

Hops prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. The soil should be loose, not too compact, and made up of a good mix of sand, silt, and clay. Hops thrive in light-textured, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0-8.0. If drainage is a problem, you may build mounds using the surrounding soil or use a naturally mounded site. Adding compost or well-rotted manure to the soil can help improve its nutrient content.

How much sunlight do Hops need?

Hops require full sun, at least 12 hours of direct sunlight per day, to grow and thrive. Plant them in a location that receives ample sunlight throughout the day. In hot climates, they may benefit from some afternoon shade to protect them from the intense sun.

How often should I water my Hops plant?

Hops plants require moderate moisture levels and should be watered deeply but infrequently. Water the plants thoroughly once a week, providing enough water to moisten the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Avoid overwatering, as excessive moisture can lead to root rot. Hops plants are relatively drought-tolerant once established.

How can I fertilize my Hops plant?

Hops plants require regular fertilization to promote healthy growth and abundant cones. Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer every four to six weeks during the growing season. Organic options, such as compost or well-rotted manure, can also be used to provide nutrients to the plant. When growing Hops plants for their cones, a high-phosphorus organic fertilizer can support the development of abundant and fragrant cones.

Can Hops plants be grown in containers?

Yes, Hops plants can be grown in containers, making them suitable for small gardens or patios. Choose a container with good drainage and fill it with a well-draining potting mix. Place the container in a location that receives ample sunlight. Container-grown Hops plants may require more frequent watering and fertilization compared to those planted in the ground.

How do I plant Hops plants?

Plant Hops plants in the spring or early summer. Choose a location that receives full sun and has well-draining soil. Dig a hole that is slightly wider than the root ball and just as deep. Place the plant in the hole and backfill with soil, tamping it down gently. Water the area thoroughly. Mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture and suppress weeds. Prune any damaged or diseased branches.

How do I care for my Hops plant after planting?

Water the plant regularly during the first year and during prolonged heat or dry spells. Prune any damaged or diseased branches as needed. Mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture and suppress weeds. Fertilize the plant regularly with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer or organic options like compost or well-rotted manure. When growing Hops plants for their cones, a high-phosphorus organic fertilizer can support the development of abundant and fragrant cones. Hops plants require a trellis or other support structure to grow properly.

Are Hops plants susceptible to any pests or diseases?

Hops plants can be susceptible to pests such as aphids, spider mites, and Japanese beetles. Regularly inspect the plant for any signs of pests and take appropriate measures to control them, such as using insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. Hops plants can also be affected by fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew or downy mildew. Proper care, including providing good air circulation, avoiding overwatering, and maintaining proper hygiene, can help prevent these issues.

When do Hops plants typically produce cones?

Hops plants typically produce cones in late summer to early fall, depending on the specific variety. The exact timing can vary depending on the growing conditions. The cones are usually harvested when they are dry and papery to the touch. They can be used fresh or dried for use in brewing beer or other beverages.

How can I prune my Hops plant?

Pruning Hops plants is typically done for aesthetic purposes or to remove dead or damaged branches. It is best to prune them in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Use clean, sharp pruning shears to make clean cuts. Avoid heavy pruning, as Hops plants have a delicate structure and excessive pruning can negatively impact their shape and overall health. Regularly removing any dead or damaged branches can help maintain the plant’s health and shape. Hops plants require a trellis or other support structure to grow properly.

Additional Resources

Here are some additional resources to learn more about growing and caring for hops:

We hope that these resources provide you with helpful information, and we hope that this blog post was useful to you.