Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hops on the bine

You might remember a previous post that showed a healthy sprout that was new to our yard.  That sprout was one of six hops rhizomes planted in mid April, and all six have been growing steadily ever since.  The two plants on the left side of the photo below are the Cascade variety, and the four on the right are Willamette.

The Willamette rhizomes were more dormant than the Cascade when planted, and have lagged in growth so far, but all the plants appear healthy and vigorous.  I've had to prune several sprouts so that each rhizome only has two or three bines left to grow, and several of the bines have lost their leading central stem and have adapted by pushing lateral branches upward.  I've followed the common practice of stretching a wire for the bine to grow on, and it didn't take much coaxing to get the plant to wind itself around the wire clockwise while climbing ever higher.

This photo shows one of the Cascade plants that is over 11 feet long.  Cones have developed in the last week, but the main bines continue to stretch forward and shoot out branches.  None of the Willamette plants are displaying cones yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if they popped out in the next two weeks.

Here's a zoomed-in view of a few of the cones in an early stage of development.  Dozens of these little flowers have emerged in just a few days, and I anticipate it will be entertaining to watch them grow and develop.  I'll do my best to document as much of the cone development as possible.  Thanks for visiting!


  1. Will your family be using the hops for anything other than as yard decoration? I ask because I'm not aware of any use for hops other than in beer. I'm curious what other common uses are out there.

    I suppose I could find out very quickly via Google, but what's the fun in me doing the work in answering my own question. ;-P

  2. Jeremy, our entire harvest of cones has been promised to a friend that will use them in beer brewing.

    I didn't know until recently that hops are used to a lesser extent in some soft drinks, and according to pfaf.org, the plant has several medicinal uses.

  3. Our best growing vines down here are poison ivy, and it's not good for anything! I'll be interested in seeing how your plants develop.