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Hops

(Humulus lupulus) Deciduous. Zones 4-8.
With a surge in microbrewing and home brewing, Hops has enjoyed a revival with home growers and farmers. Hops is an easy-to-grow ornamental vine that can climb vigorously beyond 20 feet with proper support. Grown on a pergola, trellis, or arbor, Hops can provide a fast-growing privacy screen and welcome shade in summer.

Hops was once known as willow wolf, as it would grow wild over towering willow trees. French monks were the first to grow wild hops plants in 822 AD and Germans began brewing with Hops as early as 1150 AD.

One Hops plant will produce 1-2 pounds of seed cone or “hop.” Its long, rough vining stems are either male or female - the female shoots produce cones and the male shoots display yellow-green five-petaled flowers. The flowers themselves are deliciously fragrant when in bloom and irresistible to butterflies. Cones are ready to harvest in September when they become dry and papery.

Hops is not just for beer! Wild hops plants have long been used to ease anxiety and stress and as a mild sedative , it works well as a natural sleep-aid. It is wonderful in herbal tea blends to promote rest or in a soothing eye pillow..

Hops prefers full sun or part shade and moist soil, but is easily grown in average well-drained soil. Its most important requirement is plenty of space and something to climb! Hops vines can be pruned to the ground in the Fall - perennial roots send up new growth in Spring.