The hops (Humulus lupulus) are known to beer lovers for their taste, but they are also an attractive, fast-growing garden plant. Hops grow as a perennial vine, attract butterflies to the garden and provide fresh hops for the home brewery. If your house does not have a privacy fence or is adjacent to a neighboring house, you lose the sense of privacy that makes a garden look cozy and inviting. With its 6 meter long vines covered in thick foliage from spring through fall, the hops can offer you privacy during the times when you are most likely to be outside. We will explain to you in a moment what you should pay attention to if you want to plant hops as a privacy screen!
Hops as a privacy screen in the garden
Step 1: plant hops
Instead of growing hops from seeds, a so-called rhizome is planted. rhizome look like a tangle of roots, but are in reality an underground stem system that carries the genetic material of the hops. Hop rhizomes are usually in early spring available in local stores and online stores for home brewers. If you know someone who already grows hops, you can ask them for some rhizomes as well. Hops can also be bought as young plants in pots.
Hops grow aggressively in the garden and will spread their root system and rhizomes deep and wide. Make sure that you plant your hops in an area where you are not growing other plants, as these could otherwise be displaced by the hops. In case of doubt, a limitation by a rhizome barrier would make sense. 50 liter planter are well suited for this purpose.
If you want to plant several varieties of hops, you should either use separate planters or place the plants in the ground at least 1 meter apart. If you plant them too close together, the root systems will intertwine and it will be difficult to tell which hops are growing where.
Make sure you choose a spot in your garden that does full sun all day receives. Hops don’t feel comfortable in the shade and thrive much better in a sunny spot. It is also important that the soil is supplied with plenty of nutrients. Fertilizer or compost are great for promoting the rhizomes as you plant them.
Hops need a lot of vertical space to grow. The vines can be in one season up to 6 meters in height grow. There are many different methods of building trellises or using guide ropes for the hops to climb.
Step 2: shoot tip cut (optional)
away Late March or early April you can see purple knobs sticking out of the ground where the rhizomes were planted. The hop vines will eventually develop from this. They grow very quickly, about 8 inches per day.
The first vines to appear are called Bull shoots. They are much thicker and grow faster than the later ones. You can certainly pull them up on a trellis, but they do not produce as many hops as the shoots that appear later. If you are growing hops for brewing beer or want a denser privacy screen, cut these just above the ground when they are about three feet high. This allows the plant to concentrate its energy on producing more shoots, which you can then train on the trellis.
Step 3. Pull the hop tendrils on the trellis
After you’ve cut your shoots and the new vines have started to sprout, it’s time to pull them up on your trellis. To do this, simply wrap the vines clockwise around a rope or a garden string (which must not be smooth, as the vines have to hold on to the rope).
Step 4. Give your hops plenty of sun and water
Once your vines are a few feet long, you will notice some larger growth spurts. Keep an eye on your trellis and look for vines that have peeled off the rope and just wrap them back around. Your hops need something to climb up on or they will stop growing and your yield or privacy will suffer.
Hops are very thirsty plants. Water it either daily or every 3 days so that the soil never dries out. If you keep them in a bucket, make sure they have very good drainage to avoid waterlogging. In March and April you should fertilize hops with compost at least once a week.
Step 5. Cut the lower leaves from the trained vines
Once your vines are around 120 to 150 cm tall, you should trim the leaves from the ground to a height of 30 cm. These leaves are especially inviting to insects that could climb up and destroy your plants.
Step 6. Harvest and pruning
Aside from watering the hops regularly, there isn’t much to do in the next few months. If you see dying or yellow leaves, just cut them off.
When it’s time for that Hop harvest (usually in August to September, depending on the weather and the type of hop), simply pick the flowers from the trellis. At this point, you can cut the vines when it will be easier to harvest the hops.
The hops are ripe when they turn papery and slightly brown at the ends of the hop cones. When you break open a hop umbel, you should see lots of yellow spots where the real flavors and aromas are. You can use your hops to brew beer right away!
Every year at the end of the growing season, the hops are cut back to the ground to make room for the next year’s growth. This Cut back usually takes place in late autumn. The dead shoots can be disposed of on the compost.
If you keep the plant in pots, no pruning is required in the fall. Let the withered stems stand for the winter and protect the pot from frost with foil. In February it is time to repot the hops.
Ideas for suitable climbing aids
The height your hop vines can reach plays a big role in your yield. As soon as the hop vines can no longer climb, they stop growing and die.
If you have access to your roof, that’s laying off Lace in the garden or in planters an easy way to achieve a good height. Simply tie the garden cord to a weighted object and hold it on the roof. Run the string down and attach it to your planters or to a stake next to your hops. So that the plants form a tight privacy screen, the cords should also be as close to each other as possible.
Another method that amateur gardeners have had good experiences with is the use of long Wooden posts, between which garden cord runs back and forth. With 2 meter high piles, one can achieve the equivalent of 5 meters in height by going back and forth.
All types of creepers work well in a freestanding pergola, and hops are no exception. The vines loop around the posts of the structure and then continue to grow horizontally once they reach the top. The dense foliage provides natural shade for summer gatherings.
At a high Trellis / trellis When drawn up, hops offer good privacy protection for terraces.
Hops as a privacy screen on the balcony
You can also easily plant hops in a tub on a sunny balcony. The disadvantage of hops as a privacy screen is that they overwinter in their roots and only leave a dry stalk. The good news, however, is that it really grows very quickly in spring and provides optimal privacy protection in a short time. The plant can reach 2 meters in five weeks!
The creeper will feel very comfortable in a plant box with a trellis (ideally at least 180 cm high). If a suitable bucket is already on the floor, you can attach a trellis to the balcony railing with cable ties.
As soon as the hops reach the top of your trellis, you can simply wait until the stems have grown long enough and then carefully bend them down and set them in a free space in the trellis. The plant quickly grabs and begins to climb back up. This makes your privacy screen even thicker and more beautiful!