Grow hops plants yourself - care and information on hop harvesting

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Hops - Humulus

The Humulus lupulus is one of the cannabis plants (Cannabaceae) and the pretty cones can quite well as herb infusion have a calming effect. For the garden, it is above all a visual enrichment, often it is used as a screen or shade dispenser. He clings to everything that is offered to him. His hop cones are beautiful to look at, even if they do not lure in bright colors. Although the Humulus almost completely disappears in winter, it returns every spring.


If you want to plant hops as a visual screen, it should be noted that most varieties are perennial, but retire in winter to the hive. It offers a charming, dense privacy in the period from June to September.
The hops are native, robust and adaptable to their respective location. Still, he loves sunny and warm. A southwest, southeast location would be optimal for him. The more you focus on your location preferences, the less you will be dealing with diseases and pests, the more easy it will grow and bloom.
When selecting the location, it is important to note that it spreads rapidly not only aboveground, but also underground.
Another important location condition is a rank help.


The trellis can be made of wire or rope. A trellis of wood or iron can give the hops a nice shape. With every construction you should keep in mind that the hop plants are very vigorous, 7 to 9 meters in height are not uncommon. The scaffolding must not be too small and must be stable enough.
During the growth, it will always be necessary to help the hops with its tendrils. The Humulus is a right-winder, so always put it in a clockwise direction so that you do not get confused. In fact, the growth stops if he gets the wrong twist.
If hops are supposed to green a facade or a wall, then you have to give it trellis support around which it can wind. For this he leaves no traces or damage to the masonry such as ivy or wild wine.
Tip: Particularly decorative trellis aids are rose arches, which are set one or more ways.


Because the hops are very fast growing, they also need a nutrient rich soil. The optimum pH is 6.0 to 6.6. He also prefers a deeply loose, tends to moist soil. Both extremes, heavily compacted soils that tend to dryness are less well suited.

to water

Hops - Humulus

For its rapid growth, the hops also need a lot of water. Regular watering is mandatory. With a mulch layer you can make sure that the soil keeps the moisture a bit better. When the summer is very dry, make sure that the soil does not dry out. The hops can survive, but the growth this year suffers greatly.


Above all, hops need enough nitrogen for their lush growth. Nitrogen-deficient soil can be supplemented naturally with nettle. In the spring you work around the plant well matured compost or animal manure. During the growth phase in the summer, additional organic fertilizer supplements, preferably once a month, can be added until mid-August. A vegetable fertilizer is well suited.


In winter, the humulus retreats by itself, that is, the upper parts stunt. But the rhizome is hardy and does not need to be specially protected in the field. New shoots will grow again in April. Then it is high time to relieve the Rankhilfe from the dead remnants of the previous year.


Autumn and spring planting is possible. The hops really do not pick up until they are well rooted; in the first year you can not expect too much growth. Here is an autumn planting may be more advantageous.
The hops-young plants are sold by the nurseries mostly in small containers in a stature height of up to one meter. Hops can also be sowed relatively easily in the summer, especially the one-year ornamental hops varieties.
Whether planted or sown, a trellis should be attached with the same. If it has to be let into the ground, it does not destroy the young roots afterwards, when it becomes necessary.
The plants or seedlings from the seed are then planted in the spring. Two to three little plants can share a climbing aid. Between the trellis aids you can leave well up to two meters distance.
When planting, you give the hop plant a good amount of ripened compost, because it needs lots of nutrients for its fast growth.Of course, if you like it, you can add compost or horn meal over and over again during the growth phase.
Tip: When planting hops, note that it tends to spread very far and quickly underground as well. Therefore, a bucket culture is sometimes quite beneficial.


Hops - Humulus

Hops can also be raised in planters, but only outside. Maybe a good idea for a blind in the summer, on the terrace or for the balcony. When it comes to container culture, one has to make sure that the hops get enough nutrients for their rapid growth.
  • Planter should be at least 18 cm in diameter
  • use high quality potting soil
  • Use a climbing aid of at least 1.50 meters at the same time
  • Sparsely repot when the roots barely give room for substrate
  • Repot in spring
  • Regular fertilizer feeds with full-nutrient fertilizer once or twice a week
  • Watering: do not allow waterlogging and do not dry out
  • In the bucket hops needed a winter protection
  • wrapping a bucket with a fleece or a straw mat, he will survive the winter outside well


Every year in April new shoots emerge from the winter-hard stick of the hops. For each purpose, you can decide for yourself whether to stop all shoots or to remove them except for a few shoots. If a high specimen plant is desired, only a few shoots are left standing.
In autumn, the humulus can be shortened to half a meter. During the winter you should leave the withered stems in such a way and remove only in the spring. Because this allows the nutrients to retreat into the rootstock.
Otherwise, in the summer during the growing season, the hops are not further cropped. Disturbing tendrils can be removed and you can gladly help him with the tendrils (always nice in a clockwise direction).


The most promising and common methods are the division of the rootstock and the multiplication by shoots:


The division can be made in the fall or early in the spring. For this purpose, you get the root ball out of the ground and divide it carefully, without damaging the root system great. Both parts are then reused at their desired location.


For propagation through shoots one cuts off about 10 cm long end of shoots over the year. These can be placed directly in a potty with Aufzuchterde. Spray regularly, preferably cover with foil or a plastic bag, much humidity is now desired. When the first sprouts are visible, they have already formed roots and can be planted in the ground, depending on the season.


A sowing of hops is rather not common. Mostly it is propagated vegetatively, so you can be sure to maintain the properties and especially the sex. In some hop-growing areas, sowing is even prohibited, as it could grow male, low-yield or susceptible plants, which would then negatively impact existing crops.
If you still want to try it (in regions without professional hops cultivation):
  • Sowing in March
  • Kaltkeimer, the seed needs some time cold exposure
  • If necessary, three weeks of refrigeration storage are enough
  • Sowing in potting soil
  • Sprinkle seeds, lightly press and cover with a thin layer of soil
  • needs warm temperatures for germination

Diseases and pests

Hops - Humulus

If you do not grow your hops over a large area and as a crop you do not have to worry about special diseases and pests. The usual can happen if it is too humid or too dry:

Genuine and wrong mildew

Almost every climate has its own mildew. The real one appears mostly in hot dry summers. The downy mildew likes it wet and rainy. There are about 100 types of this fungal disease. The best advice to combat is to trim the affected parts of the plant as soon as possible and to spray regularly with stinging nettle or horseradish, especially in spring.

Aphids, hops aphids

Almost every plant genus has its preferred species of aphids. Bad weather or poor care calls her on the scene. The tried and tested motto here, in time to detect the infestation, remove plant parts and spray with nettle stock.
With the removal of the old shoots in the spring you also catch many of their clutches. So kill the cut for safety's sake and do not give to the compost.

hop wilt

This dreaded fungal infection occurs predominantly in non-resistant hop varieties and persistent waterlogging. The fungus clogs the water veins of the plant, causing it to wither and eventually die. There are no remedies for this disease and unfortunately the whole hop plant can only be disposed of.
Tip: Insects such as soft bugs, cicadas, earth fleas, thrips and robberies may like the hops, but do not harm him.


From real hops (Humulus lupulus) many varieties are available in the nurseries.The specialized trade offers many forms of cultivation for the professional cultivation of hops, which should rather not be so interesting for the private garden. Here are some attractive hop varieties for the garden:
Gold hops (Humulus lupulus 'Aureus')
He is not as strong as wild hops. The shapely leaves grow dense and light green in summer. In the trade you will get only male plants. That is, the gold hop does not form cones, but shines through its magnificent foliage. He prefers half shady locations.
Japanese ornamental hops (Humulus japonicus or Humulus scandens)
This ornamental hops are annual and spread by sowing. The Japanese ornamental hops were bred primarily because of its attractive foliage. The female plants still produce bright green fruits in September. The Japanese ornamental hops are well suited for half shady to shady locations.
Hops 'Golden Princess' (Humulus lupulus 'Golden Princess')
The 'Golden Princess' loves sunny. For that it grows fast and high, up to 6 meters high. Their flowering starts very early in the year. The female plants then show magnificent, conspicuous hop cones, distributed over the entire height.
Dwarf hops 'Gimli' (Humulus lupulus 'Gimli')
This dwarf hops are perfect for the bucket culture, although it can reach a good three to four meters in height. It is especially resistant to powdery mildew. From August, the female plant forms very large hop cones, but the leaves are slightly smaller.
Tip: Only the female plants form the typical hop cones. Whether it is a female or a male specimen, can only be recognized at flowering. Depending on the variety, you should first ask in the nursery, which sex it is in the plant.


The Humulus is not exactly considerate as a neighbor. It is very large both above and below ground and crushes most neighboring plants. Therefore, perennial climbers that are lignified and that are not cut back to the hive in the fall are more likely to be hibernating.
But a charming arrangement can be planted with annual, also vigorous climbing plants, for example with the morning glory (Ipomoea) or the sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus)


Only the female hop plants are suitable for harvesting. Because only they form after flowering the fruits, or cones containing the coveted Lupullin. A hop harvest for beer is quite a complicated matter and is described in detail in the relevant literature.
But maybe one or the other likes to harvest a few cones for a soothing tea in the evening. The best time is in August to September. To see if the Lupullin has already formed, take a still closed pin and open it. He should then contain a yellow powder and smell aromatic. When the time comes, you can harvest the cones and prepare them directly for a tea with hot water. For making tea you can use both fresh and dried hop cones.
The hops are definitely suitable for impatient gardeners who want to have a quick green. However, you have to tirelessly provide enough nutrients and water during the growth phase. The soil and the neighborhood should be well monitored over the years. The humulus also likes to spread surprisingly in less desirable places.


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