Hops(Humulus lupulus) is a deciduous perennial vine that grows 15 to 25 feet (4.57-7.62m) tall and will climb a lattice, arbor, or other structure. The dense foliage creates a quick visual barrier during the growing season, and the green papery flowers attract butterflies to the garden in late summer.
So what are the hops growing zones? In USA plant tolerance zones 3 to 8, hops are hardy.
Now that you have a general idea of what hops are, it’s time to decide what varieties you’re interested in growing.
Of course, some hops will grow better depending on your location, elevation, and a few other factors, but with proper care, almost all varieties should grow well if you are between the 30th and 50th parallels.
If you are like me and are a home brewing activist planning to use hops in your homebrew, then the beer you grow will be related to the type of beer you plan to brew and what flavoring role those hops will play in the brewing process. Different varieties will produce reticulocytes with very different flavor profiles, as well as alpha and beta acid content.
While most varieties will flourish if you are in a temperate region, there are some variables you should consider when deciding on various hops.
If you are only growing hops for their aesthetic value, then you are really free to choose any variety you like. I recommend that you choose a variety that will bring high yields and flourish in your area.
If your area has a short growing season, you may want to plant vines that can grow faster so you can enjoy the plants for as long as possible.
CHARACTERISTICS OF HOPS
In the hardiness range of hops, winter temperatures usually drop well below freezing in USDA zones 3 to 8.
During the winter, the leaves wither back to the ground while the roots remain alive under the soil. The hardness of dormant roots is difficult to reduce to 20°F (-6.66°C), but new growth is susceptible to frost. Sow too early in the growing season and a late frost may kill the plant.
During the growing season, snake-weed thrives in a temperature range of 40-70°F (4.44-21.1°C).
These plants can tolerate a variety of rainfall levels, with as little as 12 inches (30.48cm) of rainfall per year and areas with up to 53 inches (134.62cm) thriving.
Hops are usually drought tolerant and have a deep root system that will tap into the water table from 5 feet (152.4cm) below the soil. In areas where the water table is deep and precipitation is limited, you will need to water your hops.
Roots and Water
In areas where the water table is below 5 feet (152.4cm), water will jump up when the top 1-2 inches (2.54-5.08cm) of the soil starts to feel dry.
Water slowly and deeply to allow water to penetrate around the roots. Hops have both deep and lateral shallow roots. Lateral roots extend 8-12 inches (20.32-30.48cm) below the soil line, while deep roots extend downward 65 inches (165.1cm) deep.
Discover Hops: a versatile and vigorous vine (not a vine)! Hops are famous for their flavoring.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HOPS
1. Where do hops grow?
Hops can grow all over the country and they grow strong in the mildest climates (zones 3-8 on average).
Well-drained, nutrient-rich soil is a must, as roots are key to the production and longevity of the hops plant. Mulch to protect the roots from cold damage and you’re in good shape!
2. What is the best time to plant hops?
Spring. As soon as your soil has thawed and is ready for use and the threat of frost has passed, you are ready to plant your hops.
Remember, spring and summer are when hops really grow – even in the first year! The first year’s hops spend most of their energy rooting, so while you may see some cones, the second and subsequent years are when production really begins.
Bare root hops can be used as rhizomes in wood chips. After planting, these plants will disperse roots and shoots as they grow, which will then develop into new snakeweed.
Plant these rhizomes a few inches deep about 4-6 inches (10.16-15.24 cm) and be sure to cover with a few inches of mulch after planting to reduce weed growth, protect the root zone and retain moisture so you don’t have to water as often. You can plant vertically with the buds facing upwards or horizontally if you are unsure of the direction the buds are pointing.
Potted hops are also available and can be planted like any other potted plant. Simply carefully remove the pot, spread out the roots, and place the plant in the pre-digged planting hole, leaving enough room for the roots to grow. Backfill the soil, tamp gently with your hands to remove air pockets, and water thoroughly.
3. How often do I need to water my hops?
Since service is vegetative and green, it does require regular watering, but do not plant in areas where drainage is poor or water tends to collect.
Many hops growers prefer drip or soaker hoses to distribute water evenly to the hops box without worrying about over-or under-watering.
The exact amount of water varies depending on location, weather, and soil type, so watch and observe how quickly the soil dries out each day so you can determine how often to refill your hop bucket.
4. Does the hops bin need to be pruned?
Hops only need to be pruned at harvest/post-harvest to prepare the plants for overwintering. You can also prune weaker growth to leave room for stronger bins to flourish.
Hops bins will die later in the season from frost. Protect all remaining growth by pruning it back to about 3-4 feet (91.44-121.92 cm) and burying it under 4-6 inches (121.92-182.88 cm) of mulch or digging trenches to bury it underground.
Expose in the spring after the threat of frost has passed and prune to healthy buds to stimulate growth for the growing season.
5. Do I need to fertilize my hops?
Hops bins prefer nutrient-rich soil, so mulch and compost are a good way to keep nutrient levels elevated in cultivated areas.
If needed, use a water-soluble fertilizer with a high nitrogen and potassium content, as hops bins tend to use these nutrients the most.