Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Why (and How) You Should Start Growing Your Own Hops


Humulus lupulus — known to Joe Everyman as hops — are the aromatic, bitter, and flavor-enhancing vegetables that add so much deliciousness to beer. If you’ve ever wanted to grow your own hops, now is the perfect time of year to get started.

While growing hops may seem like a no-brainer for home brewers, well-tended hops also make a decorative trellis or screen planting with a personal twist for beer enthusiasts as well. Late spring’s milder temperatures provide the ideal climate to pick up some starter plants and see if your green thumb is as strong as your beer-tasting skills.

To begin your hop journey, you need hop rhizomes, which are short segments of roots from mature hop plants. If you don’t have a local nursery that sells hops, they can easily be mail-ordered in a dormant state. Prices start at around $4 for common plantings like Chinook, Columbus, and Willamette, but expect to pay a little bit extra for rarer varieties.

If you’ll be using the hops for brewing, then choosing which hop to plant depends on your personal preferences. If the plan is to put the hops into different batches, it may be best to go with a mild, all-purpose, bittering hop so that you can use it for many different beer styles. However, if you only crave big, resiny IPAs, growing a more specific hop like Newport may be a better investment.


The local climate will play a huge part in your growing success. The good news is that hops tend to thrive in the majority of the country where the average annual extreme minimum temperature is between -30 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Unless you’re in Alaska, Hawaii, the deep south, or far west, you can probably grow hops in your yard.

You’ll want to make sure your growing area has lots of space and direct sunlight. Hops grow as climbing vines that, when mature, can reach up to 25 feet tall. Shortly after planting, you can expect a hop vine to grow about a foot per day. A trellis or other support structure is highly recommended to keep the plant from overtaking other vegetation or buildings.  Regular drip irrigation into fertile soil will give the plants a solid head start.

Hops were called a “wild and pernicious weed” by King Henry VIII, in reference to the tenacity of the plant. Once they take off, they are hardy, thriving plants that are easy to maintain and provide not only backyard shade but also one of the most important and delicious ingredients used in brewing.

For more on growing your own hops or other beer ingredients, check out The Homebrewer’s Garden by Dennis and Joe Fisher. Recommended sites to order hop rhizomes include eBrew, Great Lakes Hops, and More Beer

Editors' Recommendations

Lee Heidel
Lee Heidel is the managing editor of Brew/Drink/Run, a website and podcast that promotes brewing your own beer, consuming the…
How to Age Fish at Home (and Why You Should Try It)
how to age fish PABU

You’ve definitely heard of aging beef and curing pork into charcuterie goodness before, but maybe you’re not familiar with another protein that can be aged to texture and flavor perfection: fish. While the aging process for fish is typically much shorter than that of meat (think 24 hours compared to three weeks), letting it rest before cooking or serving it as sushi gives it a more toothsome texture and deeper, richer flavor.

Further Reading

Read more
Backcountry Brews: Essential Beer Accessories for Your Next Camping Trip
camping beer accessories with getty images


The weather is slowly warming up and the skies are clearing. Spring and summer are right around the corner, beckoning you outdoors and away from the smog of the cities to seek out clear night skies, full of stars. Camping trips allow you to experience some of life’s greatest pleasures. Mornings are for coffee heated over the camp fire. Lazy days are spent reading in hammocks, fishing in the creeks, or hiking through the tall trees. In the evening, when everyone has returned to camp, it’s time to enjoy a few beers before starting it all over again tomorrow.

Read more
Meet the Milkshake IPA, Your Newest Craft Beer Obsession
milkshake ipa

The India Pale Ale, or IPA as we know it today, is quite possibly the most popular and versatile craft beer style in America. Developed to exploit the preservative qualities of hops and alcohol (and used to supply British troops in the late 1700s), the IPA has taken on a whole new life in the early 21st century under the creative supervision of adventurous brewers.

While the overall trend has skewed toward embracing the more extreme elements of over-hopping (for example, Stone Brewing’s Ruination), the IPA has also been translated into session styles like Founders Brewing Co. All Day IPA and The Alchemist’s Heady Topper, a cloudy, citrusy New England IPA. Then, of course, there are Double IPAs and Triple IPAs, both with increasing amounts of hops, as well as Black IPAs, which utilize darker malts usually found in porters and stouts.

Read more