Humulus, hop, is a small genus of flowering plants in the family Cannabaceae. The botanical name of hops is Humulus lupulus. The hop is native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. They are used primarily as a bittering, flavouring, and stability agent in beer, to which, in addition to bitterness, they impart floral, fruity, or citrus flavours and aromas. Hop most likely originated in China, Southern Caucasus and Siberia, or Mesopotamia, from where it spread to Japan, America, and Central Europe.

The hops plants have separate female and male plants, and only female plants are used for commercial production. The hop plant is a vigorous, climbing, herbaceousperennial, usually trained to grow up strings in a field called a hopfield, hop garden (nomenclature in the South of England), or hop yard (in the West Country and United States) when grown commercially.

Table of Contents


15 - 20 feet

Approximate pH

6.0 - 7.0

Growth Nutrition of Hops

The three most important nutrients for hops growth are nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. These are considered macro-nutrients, and are among the 17 essential nutrients for general plant growth.

Varieties of Hops

For brewing purposes, hops are readily broken into three categories: bittering, aromatics, and dual purpose. Like the notes of a delicate sonata or the application of spicy mustard to a well-grilled bratwurst, each has their part to play in creating your beer’s flavor and aroma.

Bittering Hops

Flavor, schmavor. High in alpha acids and low in essential oils, these hops are bred to bring the bitter. European varieties are often higher in alpha acids than new world hops, and so are used to a greater extent for bittering. This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, however, as Tomahawk. Columbus or Zeus, nugget, and bravo hops are excellent bittering hops produced in the United States.

Bittering hop varieties include:

  • Admiral

  • Bravo

  • Brewers Gold

  • Chelan

  • Columbus

  • Comet

  • Galena

  • Green Bullet

  • Hallertauer Taurus

  • HBC 682

  • Herkules

  • Magnum (Germany)

  • Magnum (United States)

  • Merkur

  • Millennium

  • Newport

  • Nugget (Germany)

  • Nugget (United States)

  • Pacific Gem

  • Pacific Sunrise

  • Southern Star

  • Summit™

  • Sun

  • Target

  • Tomahawk®

  • Victoria

  • Warrior®

  • Zeus

Aromatic Hops

Higher in oils than their bittering kin, these hops introduce notes of grass, fruit, earth, honey, flowers, and spice to your beer. In general, hops from North America tend to be more aromatic than their European counterparts, although noble hops are an obvious exception.

  • Ahtanum®

  • Amarillo®

  • Aramis

  • Aurora

  • Blanc

  • Bobek

  • Brewers Gold

  • Cascade

  • Citra®

  • Crystal

  • East Kent Goldings

  • Ekuanot™

  • Falconer’s Flight 7C’s®

  • Falconer’s Flight®

  • Fuggle

  • Gold

  • Golding (United Kingdom)

  • Golding (United States)

  • Hallertau

  • Hallertauer Mittelfrüh

  • Hallertauer Tradition

  • HBC 472

  • Hersbrucker

  • Hersbrucker Pure

  • Huell Melon

  • Liberty

  • Lublin/Lubelski

  • Mandarina Bavaria

  • Mosaic®

  • Motueka

  • Mount Hood

  • Pacific Hallertau

  • Pacifica

  • Palisade®

  • Riwaka

  • Saaz

  • Saaz Triploid B

  • Santiam

  • Saphir

  • Savinjski Golding

  • Select

  • Spalt

  • Spalter

  • Spalter Select

  • Strisselspalt

  • Styrian Golding

  • Summer

  • Sussex

  • Sylva

  • Tahoma

  • Tettnanger (Germany)

  • Tettnanger (United States)

  • Tradition

  • Triplepearl

  • Triskel

  • Ultra

  • Vanguard

  • Wai-iti

  • Whitbread Golding

  • Zythos®

Dual Purpose Hops

Flexible and balanced, these hops can be used to add bitterness in the boil or added after for flavor and aromas. They come from a variety of sources around the world.

  • Bitter Gold

  • Bramling Cross

  • Celeia

  • Centennial

  • Challenger

  • Chinook

  • Cluster

  • Dr. Rudi

  • Ella

  • First Gold

  • Fuggle

  • Galaxy

  • Glacier

  • Hallertau Aroma

  • HBC 431

  • HBC 438

  • Helga

  • Herald

  • Horizon

  • Hüller Bitterer

  • Kohatu

  • Loral®

  • Marynka

  • Mount Rainier

  • Nelson Sauvin

  • Northdown

  • Northern Brewer (Germany)

  • Northern Brewer (United States)

  • Opal

  • Orion

  • Outeniqua

  • Pacific Jade

  • Perle (Germany)

  • Perle (United States)

  • Phoenix

  • Pilgrim

  • Pioneer

  • Polaris

  • Premiant

  • Pride of Ringwood

  • Progress

  • Rakau

  • Simcoe®

  • Smaragd

  • Sorachi Ace

  • Southern Brewer

  • Southern Cross

  • Southern Promise

  • Sovereign

  • Status

  • Sterling

  • Sticklebract

  • Super Alpha

  • Super Pride

  • Super Styrian (Aurora)

  • Waimea

  • Wakatu

  • WGV

  • Willamette

Recommended Varieties to Grow

  • ‘Willamette’ has vigorous bines that yield small to medium-size cones. The hops are aromatic with fruity notes.

  • ‘Nugget’ has pale greenish-yellow flowers in late summer. It is winter hardy to Zone 2. The hops have a strong aroma with herbal notes.

  • ‘Centennial’ is a great classic hop with nice citrus tones and clean floral taste. It’s often used in pale ales and IPAs. It has medium-size green cones that can be harvested in August.

  • ‘Cascade’ produces well in hot southern regions. It is fast-growing and has medium-sized green cones. The hops have unique floral, spicy and citrus character.

Planting Hops

When to Plant Hops

  • Plant in spring after the last frost.

  • Hops need a minimum of 120 frost-free days to flower and produce a good crop.

  • During the first year, the plant is establishing its root system and only a few flowers are produced. In the second year, the plant will produce a normal crop of hops.

Choosing and Preparing a Planting Site

  • Hops need a strong trellis system for the bines (the technical term for hops’ “vines”) to climb on. Bines can grow to over 25 feet and weigh over 20 pounds.

  • Soil needs to be loose (well-aerated by turning over several times). It should also be well-draining; hops don’t like to have consistently wet roots.

  • Add aged manure or compost to the soil before planting.

How to Plant Hops

  • Commercial hops are propagated via root cuttings or rhizomes, not from seeds. This ensures that desired characteristics are carried forward. Nurseries may carry hops, or they can be ordered online.

  • In the home garden, hops are best planted in hills. Space the hills at least 3 feet apart. In large-scale operations, they are often grown in rows and allowed to twine up wires (see picture below).

  • Plant two rhizomes per hill with the buds pointing up and the roots of the rhizome down.

  • Dig a hole that’s about twice as wide as the pot and as deep.

  • Place the plant in the hole and backfill. Be sure to plant the hops plant no deeper than it was in its pot.

  • Water deeply at the time of planting.

  • Cover the hills with some straw or light mulch to control weeds.

Growing Hops

How to Grow Hops

  • In the first year, hops plants may require frequent light watering to help them get established.

  • Mature plants will benefit from regular watering if rainfall is sparse.

  • Hops need plenty of water, but should not be water logged. This is why well-draining soil is important.

  • In the first year, the focus should be on allowing the plants to develop their root system, so refrain from pruning or removing any foliage or bines. After the plant is established, select 2 to 6 bines from each hill and train them up a support. Unused bines can be pruned off or stuck into the soil and allowed to produce rhizomes for new plants.

  • Train the bines to climb on a trellis or other support system. Hops can be grown by wrapping the bines around twine or wire that has been staked in the ground and attached to the side of a building, fence, or other support. Bines naturally twine clockwise, so be sure to wrap them in the right direction!

  • Make sure to support the lateral branches to prevent tangling.

  • Most flower cones are produced on the upper part of the lateral branches and should be ready for harvesting in late summer.

How to Propagate Hops

  • At the end of the season, bury a few healthy bottom bines in the soil for propagating new plants in the following spring.

  • Bury the bines in a shallow trench and mark their location.

  • In spring, dig up the bines and cut them into pieces about 4 inches long. Make sure each new cutting has an eye or bud.

  • Plant the cuttings in hills.


When to Harvest Hops

  • Harvest hops at the end of the growing season—usually late summer.

  • Squeeze the flower cones to see if they have started to dry out.

  • Let the bines dry on the support system or cut them down and lay them down on the ground to dry before pulling off the cones.

  • Finish drying the cones on screens in the sun or in a well ventilated room.

How to Store Hops

  • For the freshest flavor, store the dried cones in airtight containers or vacuum-sealed bags in the freezer or refrigerator until ready to use.

Pests and Diseases


Red Spider Mite The plant has Red Spider Mites it will start to look unhealthy, with a dusty appearance on the underside of the leaves. The mites are not visible to the naked eye, but may be seen with a magnifying glass. Take a pinch of dry soil and sprinkle it on to the underside of the leaves of the hop plant. The fine dust will stick to and reveal the webbing of the mite.

Hop Damson Aphid Also known as Phorodon humuli apterae, these aphids are 1-2mm in size, with a shiny white to pale yellow-green colour and three dark green stripes on their abdomen. They are visible from spring to autumn, when daytime temperatures exceed 15°C, and continue through the growing season. They can cause major damage by remove nutrients and moisture from plants. They also secrete a sugary honey dew frass, the perfect growth medium for sooty mould (see below).

Damaged leaves may curl and wilt, while heavy infestations can cause defoliation. Cone feeding can cause wilt like symptoms in the cones and browning.

Damson hop aphids overwinter as eggs on Prunus species (plum, cherry) and in May winged females are produced and travel to hop plants where as many as 10 generations may occur in a season.


Diseases of Hops Plant Poorly drained soil can lead to fungal diseases affecting hops.

  • Black root rot – One such disease of hops plants is called Black root rot or Phytophthora citricola. This fungal disease causes water lesions on the roots of the plants, blackened or yellow leaves, and wilting stems. This hops plant disease is easily mistaken for Verticillium wilt or Fusarium canker.

  • Fusarium canker – Fusarium canker, or Con tip blight, forms cankers at the base of the bine accompanied by the sudden wilting of the bines when flowering or when temperatures soar. The leaves at the cone tips become brown and the interior of the hop cone browns and dies.

  • Verticillium wilt – Verticillium wilt causes yellowing of the leaf tissue along with swollen bines whose interior tissue becomes discolored. Verticillium wilt is most prevalent in nitrogen rich soils.

  • Downy mildew – Downy mildew (Pseudoperonospora humuli) causes stunted, brittle shoots. The hop flowers brown and curl and the underside of leaves become mottled with brown lesions and a yellow halo. The plant damage will look much akin to that caused by an early frost.

  • Gray mold – Gray mold fungus, or Botrytis cinerea, creates cone tip lesions that turn from tan in color to dark brown. This discoloration may spread for the cone tips to the entirety of the cone, becoming a gray fuzzy mold. Gray mold fungus thrives in high temperatures combined with high humidity and does not present itself in dry weather conditions.

  • Powdery mildew – Powdery mildew (Podosphaera macularis), as its name suggests, causes white powdery fungus to develop. The symptoms first manifest as pale green to yellow spots on the top of the leaves along with white blotches on the stems and cones. Shoot growth is slow and the shoots also become covered with the white mildew. This disease thrives with high wind conditions and little sunlight.

  • Crown rot – Red crown rot fungus, or Phomopsis tuberivora, is a red to orange discoloration on the interior tissues of the plant. This hops plant disease results in uneven root growth, yellow leaves, and climbing stems lacking in lateral branching.

  • White mold – White mold, or Sclerotinia wilt, leaves water soaked lesions on the stem below the soil line. Leaves yellow and gray lesions appear out of the water soaked lesions while a white fungus appears on the diseased tissues. This disease thrives in conditions of poor air circulation and when it is wet and cool.

  • Sooty mold – Sooty mold causes a flat black layer of mold on the leaves and cones, resulting in wilting bines, leaf death and reduced cone quality. This mold grows on the sticky honeydew left behind by aphid infestations. Aphids feed on the underside of hop leaves, leaving this sugary honeydew in their wake which in turn promotes fungal growth. Treating this hops plant problem means tackling the aphids with insecticidal soap.

  • Mosaic virus – Another aphid borne disease is mosaic virus or hop mosaic virus, one of the most detrimental hops plant diseases. This disease causes yellow and green leaf mottling between the leaf veins and overall stunted growth.

Treating hops plant problems that are fungal in nature requires the use of a fungicide. Also, to thwart mildew, keep the lower portions of the hop garden weeded and pruned back to allow light and air to penetrate. Using drip irrigation can be helpful since many of the fungal diseases are fostered by wet conditions on leaves and bines.

Benefits of Hops

Keeps Skin Young

Hop is a good source of antioxidants, which means that it helps the body fight against free radicals, giving the skin a radiant and youthful glow.

Treats Skin Inflammation

It may be the main ingredient in beer, but also used in various cosmetic products for skin treatments. The oils and minerals in the plant provide an anti-inflammatory effect to the skin and are used to decrease the surface blood vessels.

Treats Leprosy

As it contains anti-inflammatory properties, hop is used to treat leprosy. Although it is not clear how hop helps in the treatment of this disease, it is clear that its herbal properties make it a valuable source of treatment.

Reduces Hair Fall And Dandruff

Beer gives a natural shine and helps to reduce dandruff. Beer is also used to rinse the hair because it contains antioxidants and mainly hops, which help to reduce hair fall. The hop extract can also be directly used to wash your hair. First, rinse the hair with a mild shampoo, then use hop extract on the scalp. It is quite helpful in the treatment of scalp and dandruff. The essential vitamins and oils present in the hops help to open the tiny pores of the scalp and reduce the hair loss. The oils in this herb help to cure the dead skin on the scalp and remove dandruff, which blocks the pores of the scalp. It is easily available in the market, but can also be used directly from beer, which has high contents of hops.

Eases Nervousness

Hops are also used to treat insomnia. As they are related to the “cannabis” family, they are used as a drug for relaxing muscles and treating people suffering from anxiety.

Relaxes And Soothes Muscles

Animal studies suggest that hops help in relaxing the aching muscles and body pain. Easily available, it is used in many pain killers.

Treats Different Ulcers

Another property of this wonder weed is that it is used in the treatment of various types of ulcers. It has been proved that the dosage of hops mixed with other essential herbs helps in the treatment of various ulcer causing bacteria.

Improves Digestive System

Improving the digestive system, hops accelerate the metabolism of the body. People suffering from various digestive disorders can go for this herbal medicine.

Provides Relief From Toothaches

The anti-inflammatory property of hops provides relief from a toothache and other oral diseases.

These are just a small part of the healing properties of hops. It can be used in several different ways to cure many diseases. The benefits of hops are not just limited to its beer making. It is also used as an active ingredient in flavoring yeast, which is further used in different medicines and baking products.

Relieves Anxiety

Anxiety is one of the biggest problems most people face today. The sedative quality is what makes hops essential oil useful in combating anxiety and mood swings. It helps calm the mind and body.


Animal studies suggest that hops essential oil is an analgesic that has many sedative qualities. It enjoyed great popularity among earlier generations as a sure-shot remedy for chronic pain. So don’t worry if chronic pain is bothering you. Just start using hops essential oil.

Treats Insomnia

As mentioned above, hops essential oil exhibits sedative and soothing qualities. It is a perfect treatment for sleeplessness or insomnia. You can diffuse some essential oil before going to bed and enjoy a peaceful and deep slumber.

Treats Menstrual Cramps

Hops essential oil’s soothing properties and sedative effect help ease menstrual cramps and pain. The sedative quality helps loosen the muscles and reduces pain. It can help you naturally overcome the discomfort during menstruation.

Improves Sexual Performance

Hops essential oil helps men enhance their sexual prowess. Hops essential oil helps extend your performance. It can help you effectively counter the problem of premature ejaculation. As hops essential oil has a soothing effect on the body, it helps desensitize certain vital elements that lead to premature sexual stimulation.

Alleviates Cough And Congestion

Usually, inflammation and irritation are responsible for most of the common respiratory disorders. Using aromatherapy with hops essential oil helps reduce inflammation and soothe the irritated parts of your respiratory tract. Thus, it effectively reduces coughing and congestion too.

Treats Headache

One of the most popular uses of hops essential oil is to ease tension and the symptoms of headache. The soothing and sedative effects help loosen the muscles of your shoulders and the neck while helping relax the mind and providing relief from mental conditions like paranoia and dementia. The soothing effect allows you to end your headache woes and helps you start your day with renewed energy.


  • The dried, flowering part of the plant is used to make medicine.

  • The extract is used in skin creams and lotions.

  • The extracts and oil are used as flavor components.

  • It is also used to improve appetite, increase urine flow, start the flow of breast milk, as a bitter tonic, and for indigestion.

  • Hops are also used in brewing beer.

  • Hops are used in herbal teas and in soft drinks.

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