Hops (Humulus lupulus) are perennial vines that grow from underground rhizomes. The male and female plants are separate and the cones produced by the female plants are referred to as hops. Beer producers use this fruit in the production of beer for its color, taste and aroma. The hops vine thrives best in certain U.S. Department of Agricultural Plant Hardiness Zones.
Hops vines grow optimally in USDA Zones 5 to 9. The commercial production of hops is concentrated in the western United States, namely Washington, Idaho and Oregon, as dry weather reduces humidity related diseases such as powdery mildew.
Plant hops in moist, well-drained soil with a preferred soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Select an area of full sun that is somewhat protected from high winds, as the twinning vines achieve mature heights of up to 25 feet and need support from trellises. Hops have a water requirement of about 1 ½ inches per week.
Start your hops with seed or rhizomes planted in early spring after the last frost. Or, start the seed indoors six weeks prior to the last frost date in soil temperature of about 70 degree Fahrenheit. If you are using rhizomes, keep rhizomes cool and dry until ready to plant. Space plants 2 to 3 feet apart.
- Rutgers Cooperative Extension; Growing Hops in the Backyard; William Bamka, Ed Dager
- "Care Free Plants"; Reader's Digest Association; 2002