Cascade Hops are a very useful plant around the garden. Whether you want something attractive to cover an old fence, a useful plant to create a shady arbor, or if your interest lies in home brewing, Cascade Hops satisfy all kinds of needs. They are very hardy, so even in the coldest areas they make useful climbing plants for trellises and pergolas. Unlike most other climbing plants, hops renew themselves from the base each year, so no elaborate pruning is needed to control them, just cut to the ground each winter and watch your hops cover up even large structures at lightning speed.
If you are among the growing number of people who enjoy home brewing, Cascade Hops are an excellent choice as they are renowned for their complex flavors and ability to produce a high-quality beer with lower bitterness. Even if you don’t make your own beer it is worth harvesting some of the hops, as a small pillow stuffed with them is a great sleep-aid. Substances are released which will be breathed in and will help you relax and enjoy a restful night.
Growing Cascade Hops Plants
Hops plants are twining, not clinging vines, so they need something like a trellis to twine around. Simple netting can also be used, or just some strings stretched across a wall. A wooden or chain-link fence will have enough spaces to let your hops twine without any problems. Each spring your Cascade Hops will push pencil-thick shoots from the ground, which grow very rapidly, twining and expanding into leafy branches. By late summer, these will be festooned with the unique clusters of soft greenish hops, which look a little like fir cones. Hops plants make a great alternative to Grape Vines for covering an arbor for summer shade, and because they take a few weeks to cover the structure, so in colder regions where spring and summer sunshine is appreciated they are a better choice as the shade is greatest just during the summer months.
Hardiness and Planting Location
Hops are hardy to zone 3 and will grow all the way to zone 8, so except for the very hottest areas, these plants will grow anywhere. Choose a sunny location and of course you will need something for your hops to grow on. Plants will also grow in semi-shade, but the growth will be a little shorter and fewer hops will be produced. Cascade Hops are tough and will grow in most kinds of soil but prefer an open loamy soil with plenty of organic material. So prepare your planting spot by digging into the ground plenty of garden compost or rotted manure. Plant a little deeper than in the pot to encourage the roots to establish and water well at least once a week during the first growing season. Older plants are tough and will only need water during very dry periods, but for a maximum harvest a good water supply is helpful. Mulch the roots each spring with rich organic material to feed your Cascade Hops plant.
Maximizing Your Hops Production
Hops will climb on any structure, so if you are growing them for production, plant them 3 feet apart at the base of a tall pole and use strings to give the plant something to cling to. As an ornamental climber, Cascade Hops will grow on any fence or trellis, or over an arbor or pergola. Cascade Hops are ready to harvest when the flower clusters turn from green to brown and become papery. They are simply pulled or clipped from the vines and then dried by spreading them out in a dry place for a few days. They can be stored in zip-lock bags and to preserve the flavor many home brewers store them in the freezer until needed.
History and Origins of the Cascade Hops Plant
The Hops Plant (Humulus lupulus) has been cultivated in Europe for over 1,000 years to make beer. Its chemical content encourages the growth of yeast and inhibits the growth of other organisms that will sour the beer. It also gives beer its unique and refreshing bitter flavor. The plant is long-lived, with a permanent underground root system that is hardy to at least zone 3. Each year the roots send out many long stems, which can grow over 20 feet in a season. The attractive leaves have a vague resemblance to grape-vine leaves. They are lobed and around 6 inches long. The stems are bristly, which helps them cling as they climb. The hops themselves form over summer and are actually the female flowers of the plant. They are like small, greenish soft fir cones and are in clusters. Male flowers are on separate plants but male plants are rarely grown as they do not produce hops.
Buying Cascade Hops Plants at The Tree Center
There are many different types of hops available and Cascade Hops are considered to be a premier variety for home brewing. Our plants come from correctly identified mother plants, so beware of cheaper seedling plants that will not have the unique and rare properties of Cascade Hops. Such plants will only be a disappointment. Our Cascade Hops are true to the original form and we give you the best plant for your purpose. However, we are constantly renewing our stock so our customers get fresh, healthy plants, so supplies of this unique variety may be limited. If you want to start growing your own crop of hops, make sure to also check out our Centennial Hops Plant for more variety.