Gardening

Grow hops and enjoy craft beer

Today the production of craft beer is fashionable and that is why we talk about hops, one of the main ingredients of beer. Few know that this plant hides great virtues: in ancient Rome it was used to relieve digestive disorders while in China it was used to cure tuberculosis and leprosy.

Originally from eastern Europe, today it is widely cultivated in Europe but also in Asia and the United States. Here’s how to do it.

What kind of plant is hops?

Image – Wikimedia/ H.Zell

It is a climbing and rhizomatous plant without tendrils whose scientific name is Humulus lupulus.  It reaches a height of up to 12 meters long and has a half-life of 50 years. There are male plants and female plants that can be distinguished by the type of flower, the former being gathered in panicles and used to make beer, and the latter being light green and in the form of catkins.

It belongs to the cannabinaceae family and has stems that twist into different supports. The leaves are dark green and have serrated lobes. Due to its characteristics, it is ideal for decorating walls.

Hop cultivation

If you want to have a copy, we recommend you provide the following care:

Location

When thinking about the location, you can place it both in the sun and in a semi-shady place, always near walls or lattices so that it has where to climb. But you must bear in mind that its growth rate is very fast, so it is not advisable to plant it together with other vines, as it would not allow them to develop well.

Irrigation

Image – Flickr/ Matt Lavin

Unlike other species, hops are a plant that constantly needs humidity and that is why it is important to pay attention to watering, especially during the early stage and until they are adults. Once it has developed it can live with less water.

Earth

It depends on where you have it:

  • Garden: The best soil for this plant is one that is deep due to its double root system. On the other hand, it must have good drainage so as not to flood. Avoid clay soils and those that are very alkaline, as hops adapt better if the soil is slightly acidic.
  • Pot: use large containers, about 40cm in diameter, filled with substrate for acidic plants (you can get it here ). To prevent it from getting lost through the drainage holes, it is interesting to cover them with a piece of shading mesh (on sale here ). In this way, the plant will have a substrate with its nutrients for a longer time.

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Apart from giving you water every time you need it, it is very important to pay it. You have to think that, no matter how fertile the land or soil where it grows, these nutrients are used up from the first moment the roots begin to absorb them. To avoid problems, it must be paid throughout the growing season, that is, from spring to summer (you can until autumn if you live in a mild climate or with late frosts), with organic products such as compost, mulch, guano, egg and banana peels, and so on.

Of course, if you have it in a pot, use liquid fertilizers (like this one ) following the instructions specified on the package. This way the drainage will continue to be good, which would not happen if you used powdered fertilizers.

Multiplication

Hops multiply by seeds and rhizomes in spring. Let’s see how to proceed in each case:

Seeds

The step by step to follow is as follows:

  1. The first thing to do is put the seeds in a glass of water for 24 hours.
  2. The next day, discard those that float, as they most likely will not germinate.
    Another option is to plant them in a separate seedbed, just in case .
  3. Next, fill a seedling tray (get it here ) with acidic plant substrate and water thoroughly.
  4. Next, plant a maximum of two seeds in each socket, and cover them with a thin layer of substrate.
  5. The next step is to water again, this time with a sprayer, to moisten the surface.
  6. Finally, put the seedling inside a tray – it is without holes – and place it outside, in semi-shade.

This way the seeds will germinate in about two weeks.

Rhizome separation

To separate them you must first dig them up a little with the help of a hoe. Then it is only a matter of cutting with a previously disinfected knife a piece of rhizome of about 10-15cm minimum length, and planting it in a pot with vermiculite. To help it root, water it with homemade rooters.

Pruning

During the first two years after sowing it is not recommended to prune it, since it needs that time to have a good development and become stronger. But then, after the third, you do have to trim the stems that are getting too long, and remove the stems that weaken, break or dry out.

It is advisable to leave a minimum of three guides, but if you have several specimens and the plants very close together, two will be enough.

Planting or transplanting time

In spring, when the risk of frost has passed. In case of having it in a pot, change to a larger one when roots grow out of the drainage holes.

Rusticity

A great virtue of hops is that it withstands temperatures down to -20 degrees Celsius. However, it prefers climates that are not so cold, although they are humid.

With all of these requirements met, you can likely grow hops at home to design a very personal craft beer.

What is hops good for?

Ornamental

It is an ideal climber to cover walls, walls, or lattices. It grows at a good pace, so that in a short time you can have that area that you like so little is covered.

Properties of the Humulus lupulus

It has relaxing properties. It is consumed in the form of tea, made with 10 grams of dried leaves per liter of water, at a rate of 2-3 cups a day. Side effects such as dizziness or loss of attention can occur, but are rare and more associated with long-term use.

Contraindications

It should not be taken if you are being treated with sedatives, antidepressants and/ or relaxants. And anyway, first of all it is always better to consult a doctor.

What did you think of the hops?

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