Surprisingly easy to grow, hops are a gorgeous garden plant, hardy from zones 5 to 9 with soil pH requirements of 6.0 to 7.5. They die back to the ground each winter and grow up to 25 feet high during the growing season, making them the perfect choice for covering fences, trellises and arbors.
The young shoots of hops are edible, but it’s their cone-like flowers that are most desired by home brewers. Pollination is not required, so just one plant will produce on its own. Cascade and Nugget are popular varieties, but for added ornamentation, choose Golden, which has beautiful chartreuse foliage.
About the Author: Horticulturist Jessica Walliser dreams of growing Eastern Prince, a fruit-bearing magnolia vine, in her zone-6 garden. She is co-host of KDKA radio’s The Organic Gardeners in Pittsburgh and author of several gardening books, including Grow Organic (St. Lynn’s Press, 2007) and Good Bug Bad Bug (St. Lynn’s Press, 2008).