The Q&A Archives: LOOKING FOR HUMULUS vines

Question: I am looking for Humulus vines not for brewing but for landscape purposes. Can you suggest anyone who has them and who would ship to Alaska? Please help me out if you can. Thank You for your time. Paige Manning

Answer: I'm afraid hop vines won't grow well in your corner of the world. The hop plant Humulus lupulus L. is an herbaceous perennial, producing annual vines from an overwintering rootstock. In the spring and early summer, vines grow rapidly, winding around their support in a clockwise direction and clinging with strong, hooked hairs. They reach their ultimate height of 15-25 feet by the end of June when, in response to shortening daylength, vines stop growing vertically and produce sidearms which bear the flowers. The hop is dioecious, having separate male and female plants. Only the females produce the cone-shaped "hops" used in brewing. The male plant serves only as a pollenizer, but is not essential for the female plants to produce hop cones. Hops are heterogeneous and new plants coming from seed could be either male or female. The rootstock is an underground structure consisting of both rhizomes (with buds) and true roots (without buds) which may penetrate the soil to a depth of 15 feet or more. During the first year little growth and few flowers are produced because the plant is establishing its root system. A normal crop of hops should be expected the second year.

The hop plant produces best under specific climatic and soil conditions. A minimum of 120 frost free days are needed for flowering. Direct sunlight and long daylength (15 hours or more) is also needed. As a consequence of daylength and season length, hop production is limited to latitudes between 35 and 55 degrees. The hop plant requires ample moisture in the spring followed by warm summer weather. In dry climates the hop plant will produce best if supplemental irrigation is provided.

If you have a greenhouse, you could try growing hops from seed. There are many seed sources on the internet.

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