Hops are a perennial plant that will grow bines annually from the root stock. This particular hop plant is Cascade. Cascade hops are an aroma-type cultivar very popular in craft brewing, known for their unique floral, spicy, and citrus character and balanced bittering potential.
Choose a well-drained growing site that gets considerable sunshine (6-8 hours per day) and preferably sandy- or silt-loam soil. If planting 2+ plants side-by-side, allow 24”-36” of spacing.
Dig a planting area that is approximately twice the width and the same depth as the container. Place in the center of the hole, backfill with soil, and water thoroughly.
Hops grow on bines, so it will need a climbing support such as a pole or trellis. A 14’-15’ trellis is sufficient for home use, but if maximum cone production is not desired, a shorter height is fine.
As soil temperatures warm, hops bines will begin to spread along the ground. Once bines are a few feet in length, wrap several bines clockwise around the climbing support to train the bines.
Plants can be fertilized with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. An easy wasy to fertilize individual hop plants is to sprinkle a tablespoon of either 46-0-0 or 16-16-16 fertilizer near the plant every two weeks from April through mid-July.
Hop plants require consistent moisture throughout the growing season, but be careful not to overwater. During the heat of summer, it is important to deliver consistent, even moisture at the base of the plant.
Hops are generally ready to harvest late-August through mid-September. You can tell if a hop is ready for harvest by feeling that the cone is just starting to dry out, and smelling the inside of the cone for a less vegetative and more pleasant “hoppy” aroma. Hops can be used in beer brewing fresh after picking, or dried and sealed in an airtight container and refrigerated until brew day.
After the hops are harvested or when the vine begins to discolor in the fall, the entire vine can be cut at the base of the plant and composted. The root stock will lie dormant throughout winter and begin to grow next spring.
It is also very important to drink a hoppy Bale Breaker beer while tending to this particular hop plant to ensure it grows to its full potential. Cheers!