Hops (Humulus lupulus) seeds, organic [WA, ID NO]

Family: Hemp (Cannabaceae)

Hardy to Zones 4 to 8

Herbaceous perennial dioecious vine growing to 30 feet in a season. Native to the Europe and Asia. A vigorous grower at sea level or in the mountains, these are widely employed as fast summer shade and make luscious, dangling, bright green strobiles that are used in the manufacture of beer. Traditional usage (TWM): Sleep inducing. Yes, it is true, we do not deny that hops planted from seed will give both male and female plants of variable potency (alpha). The most vigorous female plant with the most aromatic and bitter strobiles may be chosen out as a new strain of hops. You can name it after yourself if you want! Propagate your favorite lady by cloning, through making root cuttings. Plant prefers full sun and regular watering. Give plenty of compost or rotted manure (Humulus lupulus = “humus wolf”). Provide trellis. Sow seed in the fall for germination in the spring, or sow in a cold frame or cold greenhouse from fall to very early spring, with germination in the spring as the soil warms. Alternatively, give 30 days cold, moist refrigeration (mix seed with moist coir or peat moss in a sealed jar or plastic bag in the fridge) and then plant in a warm place, with germ in 1 to 3 weeks. Our tests showed rampant germination after 30 days outdoor treatment (winter) and 12 days in a greenhouse, an induction period of 42 days until germination. Work up in pots and transplant out 3 feet apart. Unless you want to make seeds, pull up the males.

Packet contains 20 seeds
1 g contanis ~270 seeds
5 g contains ~1,350 seeds
10 g contains ~2,700 seeds

Certified Organically Grown

Plant of the Week: Hops, Golden Hops

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Hops, Golden Hops
Latin: Humulus lupulus ‘Aureus’

Golden Hops is a fast growing herbaceous vine that can grow as much as six inches a day. (Image courtesy Gerald Klingaman)

Yellow-leaved plants intrigue me because – if the shade is just right – they become beacons in the garden, casting their bright cheery color and supporting all the surrounding plants. But if the shade is off just a bit, the plants look like some anemic blob suffering from some ill-defined nutritional problem. Golden hop (Humulus lupulus ‘Aureus’) is one of the vines that got the golden color thing just right.

Hop vine is a member of the marijuana family and is native to a wide swath from Europe to Central Asia. It is a fast growing herbaceous vine that dies to the ground in the winter. The size of the clump expands laterally several feet by way of underground rhizomes. All parts of the leaves and stems are covered with tiny prickles that, while not really threatening, can cause rash and skin irritation if handled extensively.

Hops begin growth early and climb by twining the stem around some support, making several inches of growth a day. ‘Aureus’ is the original golden-leafed hops vine and it is capable of making 10 to 15 feet of growth in a single season. ‘Summer Shandy’ is a new Proven Winners introduction that is a bit more restrained, making only 6 to 10 feet of growth in a season. The leaves are bright gold in the spring but fade to light green by midsummer. The green-leafed forms used commercially in beer making are even more aggressive, growing as much as 25 feet during the season.

The hop cones are used commercially as a bitter and preservative in beer brewing. (Image courtesy Gerald Klingaman)

Hops leaves are usually three lobed with serrate margins and 3 to 4 inches in length. Plants are dioecious with only female plants typically grown. Even though they may not have their male sexual partner, female vines will set the inch-long inflated “strobiles” which appear in late summer and dangle from the vines like ear bobs.

Hops have been grown since Roman times in gardens and cultivated as an agricultural crop since at least the 8th century in Germany. Hops add a bitter bite to beer and serve as a natural preservative. Hops seem to have a mild sedative effect and are used in various homeopathic remedies. Several words have entered our lexicon due to the long history of growing and using hops in beer making. Hopping mad and hophead are examples but it is likely that the alcohol content of the brew may have more to do with the described condition than the hops used in the brew.

Hop vines are best grown in a moderately moist, highly organic soil. Plants are hardy from zones 5 through 8. In northern areas they can be grown in full sun but in more southerly climes some afternoon shade will reduce the likelihood of leaf scorch and quick loss of the golden coloration. Golden hop vine makes a nice color contrast to cover garden structures, pillars, fences, tree trunks and the like.

Because it climbs by twining its stems it will not climb a brick wall and needs a trellis support. Some prefer to cut the vine to the ground in the fall when it is first killed by frost while others leave it up and enjoy the dangling strobiles during the winter season. The strobiles, which are harvest and dried in late summer, can be used for making your own home brew.

By: Gerald Klingaman, retired
Retired Extension Horticulturist – Ornamentals
Extension News – August 8, 2014

The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture does not maintain lists of retail outlets where these plants can be purchased. Please check your local nursery or other retail outlets to ask about the availability of these plants for your growing area.


Separate male and female flowers on separate plants (dioecious). Female flowers are clustered at the tips of stalks arising from leaf axils and at branch tips, with 10 to 50 pairs of flowers in a cluster, each pair subtended by a green to yellowish bract, mostly blunt at the tip and dotted with yellow glands at the base. Female flowers have 2 long thread-like styles and no petals. Female clusters are up to ¾ inch long, with a series of rounded, hairless bracts around the base.

Male flowers are in branching clusters arising from upper leaf axils and at branch tips, with 20 to 100+ flowers in a cluster. Male flowers have 5 spreading sepals, 5 short stamens with creamy yellow tips dotted with yellow glands, and are short-stalked.

Leaves and stems:

Leaves are opposite, 1 to 6 inches long, the largest leaves as wide as long or nearly so, sharply toothed around the edges, broadly heart-shaped in outline. Most leaves have 3 to 7 lobes, the lobes with sharply pointed tips; some leaves are unlobed. The dominant number of lobes on a plant depends on the variety (see Notes below) but is usually 3.

The upper leaf surface is mostly hairless, the lower surface variously softly hairy along the veins, sometimes also on the surface. Yellow glands dot the lower surface. Leaf stalks are usually shorter than the blade. Leaf nodes are minutely hairy. Surrounding the stalk at the leaf node is a pair of leafy appendages (stipules) that are more or less triangular, soon split down the middle, and eventually wither away.

Stems are branched and green. Stems and leaf stalks have scattered downward-pointing hairs that grab onto trees and other structures and allow the vine to climb.


The floral bracts enlarge and create a cone-like structure up to 3 inches long, holding the yellowish, gland-dotted seeds. The cones ripen to straw-colored then brown and persist through winter.


Common Hops is a confused (or confusing, depending on your point of view) species. There are currently 4 recognized varieties, though a recent study recommends changing them to 4 separate species, one of which is European in origin and the rest native to North America. They are distinguished from each other by, among other things, the density of hairs along the leaf midrib and density of glands on the lower leaf surface (10x or greater magnification recommended). Start counting.

  • The European var. humulus (H. lupulus) is the hops cultivated for beer making, the resinous dots giving it its distinctive aroma and flavor; it has 15 to 25 hairs per linear cm on the midrib and fewer than 20 glands per square cm on the surface, where the other vars have 25 or more glands.
  • For var. neomexicanus (H. neomexicanus), there are more than 30 glands per sq. cm and the largest leaves have 5 or 7 lobes, where 3 lobes is more common for the other vars.
  • For var. pubescens (H. pubescens), leaf hairs are spreading, the leaf midrib has more than 100 hairs per linear cm, hairs are on the surface as well as veins.
  • For var. lupuloides (H. lupuloides), leaf hairs are appressed, the leaf midrib has 20 to 75 hairs per linear cm.

The DNR currently lists both var. pubescens and var. lupuloides present in Minnesota. There are no Bell Herbarium records for var. pubescens and the DNR does not currently list any specific counties for it, but more than half the existing records have no var designation at all and at least some portion are likely the European species. With this state of things it is not surprising the national distribution map is not distinguishing the native and European vars. Maybe some day it will be sorted out. Of note is we encountered Hops in Aitkin County that had predominantly 5 or 7 lobes, which is apparently atypical for either pubescens or lupuloides but not neomexicanus., though there are currently no records of neomexicanus in MN. That site is worth a revisit.

The invasive Japanese Hops (Humulus japonicus, a.k.a. Humulus scandens) is very similar to Common Hops, and is distinguished by hairier stems, leaf stalks mostly longer than the blade, leaves with 5 to 9 lobes (none unlobed, few 3-lobed near the stem tip), stiff leaf hairs, and stipules and floral bracts with a fringe of hairs around the edge. Japanese Hops is also an annual, where Common Hops is perennial.

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Humulus Lupulus ‘Aureus’ (Golden Hop) is a great climbing plant. It is very easy to grow. It grows very quickly and so if you want to cover a pergola this will do the job. It also has large golden leaves that positively glow in the sun. In the autumn the leaves turn even more golden and the golden hop becomes covered in small cream coloured, unusually shaped flowers.

Looks great when growing with a purple-leaved ornamental vine or a purple-flowered clematis.

Growing Guide for Humulus lupulus ‘Aureus’ (Golden Hop)

Easy to grow and tolerates most soils but grows much better when the soil is not too dry. It grows in full sun and partial shade but if it is too shady the leaves will be green rather than their beautiful gold colour.

The golden hop is fully hardy but it is best to cut back hard at the end of winter to get lots of vigouous new growth. Mulch in spring with well-rotted compost.

Humulus lupulus ‘Aureus’ has received the RHSs Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

To propogate cuttings can be take in spring and summer though once established you will find it sends out its own shoots into the garden which you can cut at the point where roots are put out and plant in another area. Beware though, this ability does make it a bit of a thug if you do not keep a close eye on it.

Growing your own hops is fun and easy!

Growing your own hops at home is fun and easy! Brewing a beer with hops you grew yourself adds another great layer to this hobby we love so much.

We are currently taking pre-orders for hop rhizomes. We have 11 different varieties that were chosen for their ability to grow well in our climate. Order yours as soon as possible to get the best selection. They will be in the store for pick up the first week of April.

Below is an article from BeerSmith.com that describes the process and shows just how easy it can be.

Location for Growing Hops

Select an area with plenty of sun. Hops need at least 6-8 hours of sun a day, so the South facing side of your home or an exposed site is a good location. Hop vines (called bines) can grow to over 25 feet and weigh over 20 pounds, so vertical space for a trellis is important as well.

Hops prefer well-aerated soil that is rich in nutrients and has good drainage. If you are going to plant several varieties, keep them well separated in your garden. Hop roots will spread quickly and take over the garden unless you separate them and trim the roots each season.

Hop Planting and Care

Hops should be planted in the Spring, late enough to avoid a frost. Fertilize liberally before planting. Plant your hops in a mound and aerate the ground by turning it over several times to aid drainage, enhance growth and prevent disease. Place the rhizomes about 4 inches deep, and make your mound of soil about a foot high to aid drainage. Place the root side of the rhizome down. Cover the mound with some straw or light mulch to inhibit the weeds.

The hop bines grow vertically and require some kind of trellis. Your trellis could some heavy rope or twine going from ground level to your roof, or a few poles securely mounted in the ground. If using rope, select rough twine-like rope so the bines can grab onto it. Keep in mind that the hop bines can be 25+ feet long and weigh 20+ pounds. The trellis should be strong and secure.

Hops also enjoy lots of water and sunlight. In the dry climates or the heat of summer, they may need to be watered daily. Once the hops begins to grow, select the best bines and wrap them around your trellis to train them. You will need to train the hops for a few days, but eventually they will begin growing in a clockwise direction from east to west around your trellis. Train the best shoots and trim the rest off.

Harvesting and Drying your Hops

Your hops will continue to grow throughout the summer, and will be ready to harvest by late summer. The harvest in the first year may not be huge, and in fact it could be very small – hops don’t reach peak yield in the first year.

To determine when to harvest, you need to examine the cones. Mature hop cones will be dry to the touch, springy, have a very strong aromatic hop odor, and leave yellow lupulin powder on your fingers. Check the cones every day or two, and when you think they are ripe, pick one and open it. It should be filled with thick yellow-gold lupulin powder if it is fully ripened.

The hops may not all ripen at once, but you need to harvest each as it ripens. Dry the hops out in a warm dry spot in your house, and keep them away from sunlight. Sunlight can seriously damage picked hops. A paper bag is a good place to store them while drying. The hops should dry out in a week or two. After that, place them in a sealed bag and store the hop cones in your freezer. Remove as much oxygen as possible from the bag to avoid oxidization.

Maintenance of Your Hops

Cut the bines back to 3 feet or so after harvesting. The winter frost will kill off the bines, after which you can cut them back further and cover them until Spring. When Spring comes, take a spade and cut around the rhizome to trim the roots back to about a foot. Trimming the roots will prevent the hops from consuming your entire garden, as they tend to spread rapidly. Add some fertilizer, fresh mulch and a new trellis and you will be ready to grow hops for a fresh new season.

A properly cared-for hops garden will keep you in fresh hops for years to come.

Note: Hops can be dangerous for dogs to consume so please don’t feed your pets hops.

7 Steps to Growing Your Own Hops

Good hops aren’t hard to find. Chances are your local homebrew store carries at least a dozen varieties, probably many more. And even if it doesn’t (or if you don’t have a local homebrew store), Internet commerce offers the promise of hops delivered right to your door in as few business days as you’re willing to pay for. But with a little planning and some TLC, you can also grow your own.

Growing your own hops is a rewarding and surprisingly easy way to make your brew uniquely yours. A full treatise on planting a hops garden can easily occupy several volumes, but to get started, you need to master only seven simple steps.

1. Buy your rhizomes in March or April.

Think ahead. What hops do you want to grow? Some retailers offer presales as early as January, but preordering usually isn’t necessary unless you’re after a particularly in-demand variety (keep in mind, though, that many of today’s most popular cultivars—think Amarillo, Citra, Mosaic, and Simcoe—are patented, proprietary, and not for sale). In many cases, you can simply put your name on a list at your local store, and someone will call when the rhizomes arrive. Once you receive your baby hops, keep them in the refrigerator until it’s time to plant.

2. Plant the rhizomes once the ground has thawed and your area has safely passed beyond the specter of winter.

You can start scoping out possible sites for your hops now. If you’re still enjoying a mild fall, you can even begin some ground preparation. Choose a south-facing location that receives plenty of daytime sunlight, ideally one that is slightly elevated and drains well.


Come spring, place rhizomes of the same variety about 3 feet (1 meter) apart and keep different cultivars at least 6 feet (2 meters) from one another. Bury each rhizome about 6–12 inches (15–30 cm) deep, oriented horizontally.

3. Nurture your growing plants with frequent light waterings.

Your goal is to provide enough water to help the plant establish its roots, but not so much that the rhizomes start to rot. Once the first shoots break the surface of the soil (2–4 weeks after planting), things will start moving quickly—it’s not uncommon for plants to grow up to a foot (30 cm) per day at the height of summer!

4. Support the hops bines as they grow.

Hops prefer to grow vertically. Effective support methods range from simple lengths of sturdy twine to sophisticated trellis systems. Just make sure that whatever you choose is strong enough to hold a full-grown, heavy plant: Commercial hops farms feature trellises as tall as 20 feet (6 meters).

Find more about brewing with fresh hops, brewers who are using foraged ingredients, and pumpkin beers in Issue 8 (August/September 2015) of _Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. _Order your back issue today.

5. Harvest your homegrown hops when they are ready.

By late August or early September, the cones will lighten in color and begin to dry and feel papery. These visual and tactile clues are your indication that it’s time to harvest, though a more scientific approach is to conduct a dry matter test (see “Harvesting Your Homegrown Hops”). Once you’ve made the decision to harvest, simply snip the top of the twine that the plant has climbed and lay the bine flat on the ground (if your hops grow on a trellis, you can leave the bines in place as you harvest the cones). Pick the cones from the bine and either use them straight away (within 24 hours) in a wet-hopped beer or dry them for future use. Leave the bines attached to the plant until the first frost, then cut the plants about a foot (30 cm) above the ground and discard the bines in preparation for winter.

6. Dry your hops immediately if you plan to save them for later.

A food dehydrator can do the job, but many home growers build makeshift racks to handle the harvest. You can alternate window screens, air filters, or chicken wire with single layers of hops and blow air over the rig with a box fan. You’re aiming for brittle, papery-feeling hops cones with stems that snap when bent. A warm garage is an ideal location in which to dry hops because it’s out of the sun but hot enough (without being too hot) to encourage rapid dehydration.

7. Store your dried homegrown hops as you would (or should) store any other hops.

Vacuum seal them to keep oxidation at bay and freeze them to preserve freshness. Well-stored hops should remain good for at least a year. But if you brew as frequently as we do, there’s no way they’ll last that long.

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