Thursday, September 17, 2009

can hops (Humulus lupulus) be grown in a pot or container? yes

I had a great first year with my cascade plants but I think the best one was the one out front in a pot. got 6oz (before drying) which was the best of the first year plants. This was in a roughly six gallon container. I am sure the eventually the size limitation will catch up with it and it will be surpassed by the free range plants but pretty good start. This post follow this plant in its second year.

Now the question I have is what to do for next year. Should I repot before winter? give it new soil to work with in the spring? or would messing with the roots make it less hardy for the winter?

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What size pot should i use for my hops plant?
You can get away with the 5-10 gallon range with reduced yield. The people who seem to get pretty good yeild use half barrels.


  1. I would worry about the pot freezing, depending on your climate. I am in Chicago and our winters are VERY cold. The first year I wrapped the bot in a plastic garbage bag because of it's proximity to a sidewalk where I thought it might get salt shoveled into the pot by accident. As a result of this wrapping, water/moisture was prevented from getting into the pot and I think this helped the roots survive and they came up in force the following season. The subsequent winter, I did not cover the pot or do anything. It got a lot of snow and moisture and the roots never sprouted again. Because the root ball is small and young I think I would recommend you take the pot indoors or at least cover it for the winter if you are in a similar climate to Chicago.

  2. Might be worth it to bring it in. Pittsburgh climate is pretty similar to Chicago. I just worry that it will not go dormant if it is in the basement because it will not get that cold. Maybe I should do big plastic bags of mulch around or just bury the whole pot.

  3. Chuck's friend TomSeptember 26, 2009 at 12:27 AM

    Just bury the pot in the soil if you can, and raise it back up in the spring. The ground acts as a great insulator and hops are pretty tough anyways. Just don't leave it out unprotected, and as the person above me thought, moisture is indeed your enemy in the fall if you're keeping stuff in pots, though his unprotected stuff probably died from freezing and thawing moreso than the moisture itself. Don't bring it inside for the winter, Hops needs a winter dormancy period that it wouldn't get inside and you wouldn't have strong growth next year.

  4. Thanks for the tips.

    I think the bury technique makes the most logical sense. That being said the reality of a fairly large pot and living in an apartment might make it a challenge. What about waiting for a dry day and putting the pot in a garbage bag and filling the bag with mulch and compost for insulation? I have posted this question all over the web and there are at least a few people who leave them out in pots all winter in cold climates I just think they might be having a big advantage from larger pots.

  5. I leave my pots out in Houghton (Zip 49931), they get covered by snow and are fine.

  6. really. If they do ok there I am not going to do anything too complicate. What i have done so far is pile a bunch of leaves and mulch on it.

  7. my dad used to have a hops plant in the backyard in MN, which leads me to believe they are pretty hardy. i don't think he covered it in the winter, but it was in the ground and not potted. let me know if you want to talk to him and he can probably tell you 600 ways from sunday on what the best way to keep it over the winter is.

  8. Oh I am not too worried about the ones I have in the ground, thanks though. Does he brew beer? I did not remember that.

  9. Does anybody have a picture of young hops? I've been trying to revive hops that my father sealed into a tin as a child in WWII. I had success with one 4 years ago but a possum ate the whole thing - now I have something coming up but just can't believe it's a hop. It's growing very fast but as soon as it emerged it had what appears to be a group of furry seeds on top. Any ideas - I'm in Australia.

  10. Photo of young hops in this post:

    Thanks for visiting and good luck with the hop. not sure about the furry seeds. Good luck though. What did the hops look like in the can?

    Usually hops are grown from the cutting of a offshot of the roots called a rhizome. You might have seeds. Seeds however can grow into a male or female plant with only the female plant being usefull for brewing.

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