Native to Europe, eastern Asia and North America, this herbaceous perennial climber is a member of the hemp family, Cannabaceae, that also include marijuana and hackberries. It quickly grows up to 20′ tall from a rhizomatoous root stock and has hairy twining stems and leaves up to 6″ long and with 3-5 lobes. Clusters of fragrant chartreuse male and female flowers appear on different plants from late summer to early fall and attract butterflies. The male flowers lack petals and are carried in catkins. The female flowers are in cone-like structures called strobilies and produce fruits that are used by beer manufacturers to flavor and preserve their brew. The vines die back to the ground every year but quickly regrow the following spring. Common hops, especially the cultivar ‘Aureus’ with chartreuse leaves, are an excellent choice for covering a wall, trellis, or other garden structure. The genus name, Humulus, is a latinized form of the Medieval name for the plant. The specific epithet, lupulus, comes from the diminutive form of the Latin word lupus and means little wolf, referring to the tendency of the the plant to overgrow basket willows like a wolf devours sheep.
Type: Deciduous herbaceous perennial vine
Bloom: Clusters of green male and female flowers on different plants from late summer to early fall
Size: 15-25′ H x 3-6′ W
Light: Full sun to partial shade
Soil: Average, medium moist, well-drained; somewhat drought tolerant once established
Hardiness: Zones 3-8
Care: Cut down to the ground in late fall
Pests and Diseases: Aphids, caterpillars, downy mildew, Verticillium wilt
Propagation: Softwood or semi-ardwood cuttings.
Outstanding Selection: ‘Aureus’ (gold foliage)
Photo Credit: Dr. Hagen Graebner Wikipedia