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I fancy growing my own hops - for decoration in the house, rather than brewing (though what's the betting my OH can't resist th homebrew urge). Has anybody grown them with any success? The area I have in mind is a sunny willlow-screen covered fence, 8ft tall, 35ft long and the soil is very well drained and limy. I could add some drip irrigation if necessary. Any advice on cultvation, buying the right (female) plants and how best to support them would be gratefully received. Cheers dears! Bx
Hi Aunty Betty, I grow hops(green and yellow leaf). They are ever so lucky to grow. in fact they self seed and take over the garden! I decided to grow them for the same reason as you and am glad I did as I found the dried hops in the GC expensive for a plant that is so easy to grow. An added bonus is that the bees and butterflies love them and blue tits and robins enjoy the seeds in the winter. I have the hop plants clambering up an apple tree and up my pergola. They die down in the winter and new shoots appear in sprung. If you live in Surrey I could send you a few plants, otherwise they are often awailable in GC in the spring. Good luck and enjoy, as even the slugs don't attack them!
Do be aware though that the dried stems look really awful in Winter and will not compost or shred easily.
Also do be aware that 8 feet high will not contain them, my yellow leafed one regularly reaches the upper storey of the house every year - and is laden with flowers just now. It dies down completely in the winter, removing the old stems is not difficult, then regrows the whole lot again come Spring. It does spread out from the original root site, I cut the stems I don't want as low into the ground as possible, but it is still gentlly spreading - now about 3 foot across and probably 20 foot high - it's gorgeous and the bees etc. love it oo.
PS Your willow screen fence might grow as well!
I'm in North Yorkshire unfortunately Jat. Thanks for the thought, though - much appreciated! Not too worried about getting rid of stems - this is for the top of my (disused) railway embankment - the back of which is so steep and covered in scrub and hawthorns that we only use it to dump all our green waste down, where it happily composts over a period of years! In the meantime, its good rummaging ground for hedgehogs and toads and not much else. I'm wondering if I should put up some horizontal wires, starting very low to the ground to try to accomodate its hugeness? The soil is good for the first 6inches or so, but then you're into the limestone from which the embankment was built... I can whack out a decent hole but would prefer to plant a bare rooted plant so I don't have to. Any thoughts on whether its really necessary, or will a tougher getaway just limit quantity of the plant rather than quality, d'you think? Does anyone grow these successfully in containers? If they do, then i'm thinking i'd probably get away with a smaller hole! Tough rooted plants do get down to decent depth, its just a bit of a struggle for them initially I think. Whaddya'll reckon - worth a punt?