Golden Hops
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Michi and Manfred
Posted on: January 24, 2005

My husband and I will be trying Golden Hops for the first time this year. We saw some microbrewer growing it on his deck and we fell in love with the foliage and the whole plant itself. We won’t be using it to make beer (not now anyway) but we will be growing it as a decorative part of our deck, which has a nice pergola. I usually grow morning glories or pole beans and even cucumbers, but we want something different.

However, we don’t know much about hops and we would like to know the best type of hops to grow for our purpose (golden, Japanese, etc)?

Golden hops is a hardy perennial. Japanese hops is an annual and must be reseeded each year. More than likely golden hops is what you are looking for.

How many plants do we need to cover a good part of the deck (it’s a very large and high deck)?

This is hard to say with certainty because much depends on your local conditions. Also, hops does not cover a wide area; rather it climbs up whatever support it can find. If it can go up it will do so instead of spreading sideways so unless you supports are configured in a way to encourage lateral growth over your deck, it will just keep growing up.

Are they easy to train?

With pruning you can get hops to branch a bit, but mostly people just let it go where it wants.

Will they damage the wood?

No; at least not excessively. Hops merely wraps itself around its support -- it does not penetrate in any way.

Do we have to cut them all the way back in late fall?

Not necessarily. The vines will die down to the ground in northern zones. But you may find the dead vines to be a bit messy over winter, so you could cut them back. But we never do that at Richters; we find that new growth in spring quickly covers the previous year’s dead vines.

Will they attract wasps? (friends of ours grew grapes one year and regretted it as they couldn’t sit on their deck the whole summer due to wasps....)

Wasps are attracted to sweet fruit such as grapes so I can see how they may have been a nuisance for your friend. But hops do not offer a comparable attraction to wasps.

We will be ordering from your catalogue or on-line along with some Lacinato Kale (culinary purpose). When would be the best time for delivery of the hops (I think the Golden variety comes in plants)?

Hop plants are shipped starting in May. Orders placed prior to then will be shipped in order as order are received and when plants become available.

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