When it comes to EZ herb gardening, hops vine is my top choice for both beginning herb gardeners and pros. This fast growing vine is easy to grow. You can find varieties that will grow in the shade, sun and from zones 2 to 9.
Hops Vine (Humulus Lupulus)- This vigorous vine comes in several varieties. The most common are the European Hop and Japanese Hop. In my area we have what I call the “Winter Hardy Hop”. We dug up our starts in high mountains of Utah. (zone 2).
Uses- Hops have been cultvaited since about 61 AD, for the beautiful papery soft cones of the female plant. The cones are known as the bitter herb for making beer. Currently, Oregon and New Zealand are the largest areas of concentrated production of hops for brewing beer.
Hops vine is grown in back yard herb gardens for private beer making. The pale green dried herb makes a beautiful garlands and wreaths.
Hops tea is made by placing about an ounce of hops herbs in a quart of boiling water. Allow the mix to soak for about 4 hours. Hops tea can be taken either hot or cold.
It is thought that hops tea can alleviate anxiety, help insomnia, bladder infections and constipation. It is also used to increase breast milk.
Propagation - You can dig up and take root cuttings early in the spring. If you buy one plant you will have plenty of cuttings your after your second year.
Growing- This is a very fast growing vine. The Japanese (zone 7) variety will grows and European (zone 5) can exceed 15 ft in one season. They need full sun and well drained soil. They must have a trellis or pole to grow on and make a beautiful cover for a fence.
The Winter Hardy can grow over 25 ft. in one season and is perfect if you are looking for shade vines. But this versatile vine will grow in full sun to.
Storage- Harvest for hops vine starts in late August. When using hops for dried arrangements, keep out of direct sun light. Hops for beer have to be kept at a very cold temperature (26 degrees) to maintain the value of oil in the bitters.
So if you are looking for the perfect shade vines or fast growing vines, give hops a try.