Humulus Lupulus or Common Hop Humulus Lupulus is our familiar Common Hop. Grown over a trellis or twined in a hedgerow it’s an unusual alternative to honeysuckle or clematis. The Common Hop is well known as the ingredient that gives beer its bitter taste and as a sleep aid to combat anxiety, but it’s also a pretty, deciduous climber for the garden.
Common hops have long, twining stems that reach up to six metres and sprout large amounts of green lobed and coarsely toothed leaves in early spring. Each leaf is particularly large measuring up to 15 cms in length. During late summer female hop flowers bloom in cone-shaped yellowy-green clusters all along the thin strong stems. It's these female flowers that develop into fruits that are called ‘hops’and used for brewing. During the winter months, common hops die down to the ground and will regrow the following spring.
Height And Spread of Humulus Lupulus Common Hops is a long and thin climber that will reach up to 6 metres and spread over 1.5-2 metres. It needs support to clamber up such as a trellis or obelisk as it doesn’t have suckers or tendrils.
How Hardy Is Humulus Lupulus Common hops are native to the UK and Europe so they are able to withstand our sub-zero winters if they are planted in well-drained soil. Once established, common hops are relatively pest-free and give enough twining support are hardy enough to leave to their own devices.
How To Use Humulus Lupulus Common hops are a great alternative to clematis, honeysuckle and jasmine particularly if your soil is less than perfect. Hops look bright and fresh growing over an archway and scrambling their way through a hedge. Their flexible stems are perfect to twine into a fence line and give summer cover to a seating area without destroying the lawn, and because their flowers arrive in late summer pairing common hops with an early flowering clematis provides an extended flowering season. A good choice for a wildlife garden too as pollinators enjoy the hop flowers and cover provided by its large shady leaves.
How To Care For Humulus Lupulus Common hops are hardy but prefer a sheltered position and lots of sun. It will tolerate partial shade but a great flower display is achieved in a sunny spot. Ensure the ground doesn’t dry out and tie back stems to the support as hops lack suckers or tendrils – it is a ‘bine rather than a ‘vine’. In winter when the foliage has fallen, cut common hops back to root level and wait for it to re-emerge in the spring.