Hop Garden

    Hop Garden Starting to Flower

    Hop Garden Starting to Flower

    A hop garden is mesmerizing to watch grow.  Each day there is new growth and never a boring watch.  You will find yourself checking them every day, it is that addicting.  Although these hops bines have topped out their trellises, they are now spreading lateral shoots out from the hop bines and growing wider.  I call these guys the 3 amigos – Nugget, Magnum and Cascade.

    These hop plants are also starting to flower.  It starts with the hop burrs or florets.  The burrs or florets are comprised of spiny looking styles.  This is when the female hop flowers are receptive to hops pollen.  As the hop flower matures the styles will fall off.

    Hop Flowers Forming from Burrs / Florets

    Hop Flowers Forming from Burrs / Florets

    The flowers fill in with petals and lupulin glands becoming hop cones.  They look like green pine cones.  Some hops are round and some hop cones are long depending on the hop variety.  Hop Cones are the harvest we are after (unless grown for shade / cover).  You can expect from 1/2 to 2 pounds of dried hops per plant (after a couple of years).  First year hops expend a lot of energy on establishing the crown or root system.

    As you can see here, hops like to go high.  The Magnum hop bine is 15 feet tall.  The cascade and Nugget bines are over 20 feet tall.  You can’t see it in the above photo but there are hop bines looped around hose hangers (an experiment in bine height with limited vertical real estate – see some other posts on this blog and you will see it).

    Start planning your hop garden now for next year.  Select a site, work the soil – dig at least a foot down and 2 feet in diameter.  Amend the soil with compost and other organic material – grass, leaves…  make sure it is mostly soil and organic material is well mixed with the soil.  Figure how you will rig the hop bines (to a pole, a deck, up the side of a building… you have til next spring to actually worry about it).  Start reading up on growing hops and you will be well on your way to a successful hop garden.

    Categories : grow hops


    1. Southern exposure is not necessary as long as your exposure has at least 6 hours of direct sunlight minimum. Hops love lots of sun unless you are in the lower latitudes (30 – 35 latitude or lower) in desert or tropical areas where hops do not do well. Southern exposure is a preferred / general rule. I have a Fuggle container hop plant I grew this year on the west side of my house and it did fine (15 feet+ tall).

    2. DanK says:

      Is a southern exposure necessary? Unfortunatley my barn backs up to woods on the south but has good exposure on the east, north and west ends. This is in upstate NY.

    3. Hops says:

      Sojourner Sanctuary – not sure on what a good companion plant would be for hops. All I know is the hops will take over everything if you let them.

    4. Sojourner Sanctuary says:

      Can you recommend any native perennials that are good companion plants for hops?

    5. DobroD,

      Thanks. I think I am doing pretty well growing hops (first year) compared to a lot of blog and forum posts I have read. I think the best thing I did was to prepare the soil the previous fall. The hop rhizomes have a perfect environment to thrive – loose soil, organically supplemented…

      The experiment of looping the hop bines on hose hangers allowed additional growth, but as of yet, those looped hops bines are not sending out lateral shoots (maybe later?). Anyway, next year I will come up with another hop trellis idea.

    6. DobroD says:

      These look great for first year hops! Second year is a dramatic difference. I just harvested my first cones for a summer brew ( ). Thanks for providing such great information.

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