A Hops Plant, while often associated with home-brewing beer and ale, isn't only embraced for it’s beverage-friendly capabilities. Its hanging vines can also be draped as a decorative landscaping accent, for a sweet, cottage-like look. Plus, it delivers a distinctive, citrus-like aroma (one you'll recognize from your favorite beers!).
But if you are excited at the idea of brewing your own beer, you can use the cones to concoct a more flavorful, home-grown brew.
Finding the Right Hops Plant
Though there are more than 80 different types of Hops, we find that these two lead the pack in terms of care, appearance, and functionality.
The Centennial Hops Plant is an ideal choice for northern gardeners. It's very cold-hardy (down to growing zone 5), with thick, abundant, thick growth. You can train the vines to grow over a structure, such as a trellis or pergola. Some people even use the soft hop pods to fill eco-friendly pillows!
The Cascade Hops Plant is favored among beer enthusiasts for it’s citrus-like flavor and fragrance. The Cascade variety is more friendly to southern regions, ripening around August. These vines will require a system of supports to thrive.
You'll want to plant these in groups to get the best effect - and the greatest Hops yield! Take a look at some different ideas for implementation, and see which best suits your needs.
How to Use Hops Plants
These utterly unique plants are romantic and practical - a rare combination to find. Even when the showy, pale-green Hops cones are not on display, you’ll appreciate the lush greenery and textured vines. When cultivated well, they provide excellent shade - particularly for high fences or pergolas.
If you are planning to use your Hops plant for home-brewing, it's easy to grow them in rows for harvesting in the fall. Because most Hops plants share a flavor balance of bitter and spice, you can enjoy a versatile ale collection of your own creation.
Caring For Your Hops Plants
Hops plants are usually pest and disease free, so you won’t need to plan for much defense. However, they can reach fairly substantial lengths and heights, so providing ample space and support is vital.
Tall planks, poles, or other supportive elements will be useful for training and supporting your Hops plants. For the best annual display and the most Hops cones, you should keep them in full sunlight. They have excellent drought tolerance, which is beneficial in both hot and cold climates.
Hops plants will die down to the ground every year, so be aware that you will likely need to recultivate and care for them according to this cycle.
Rich, organic soil will support the deep and rapid growth of your Hops plant. The first season will likely require more water than will be typical in following years. Slow growth is also common in the first year. If you are consistent in cutting back old stems in the winter, you’ll see improvement the second year.
Cheers to You
Strong, resilient, and versatile, the Hops plant is the landscape addition you’ll quickly become obsessed with. You can brew special home-grown beers, create shady, romantic garden corners, or decorate that backyard fence. Get your Hops plants today!