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How to Propagate Hops

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Hops, used in beer making, come from the female plants of Humulus lupulus. Outside of commercial production, Humulus species work well in a garden setting as an ornamental. The climbing vines quickly cover arbors and trellises. A herbaceous perennial, the hop plants die back to the ground in winter and return the following spring. Propagate hops from root divisions or cuttings to produce more plants in the garden or to give away or trade with other gardeners.

Propagation by Root Division

Divide hops in spring when new growth begins to appear. Remove any dead plant material from the previous year by cutting it 1 to 2 inches above the soil line. Avoid damaging new growth when removing old plant material.

Place a shovel or garden fork on the soil 2 inches away from the edge of the hop plant and press it down into the ground. Pull back on the handle to loosen the roots in the soil. Lift the hop root ball from the ground.

Cut the roots into sections 2 to 3 inches across or larger using a pair of shears. Place the divisions in a cool shaded place and keep the roots damp until planting.

Replant the hop divisions in a new area in the garden or in pots filled with potting soil. Plant hop divisions at the same depth in the pot or new location as they were planted in the original spot.

Propagation from Rooted Cuttings

Cut a section of the hop stem from the plant in spring. Make the cutting 4 to 6 inches long and remove the bottom leaves. Keep two to three leaves at the top of the cutting.

Fill a 2 to 4 inch pot with a mix of equal parts sand, peat and perlite to make a stable, sterile rooting environment. Home and garden centers sell premixed rooting mediums.

Fill 2 to 4-inch pots with the selected rooting medium and add water until it is evenly damp. Slide the bottom half to third of the cutting into the rooting medium and press the soil around it.

Place the pots with the hop cuttings in a humid greenhouse or room with bright filtered light. Cuttings root best when the temperature remains 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the soil consistently damp with light frequent applications of water.

Tug gently on the cutting after three to four weeks. Resistance indicates that new roots are forming successfully.

Plant the rooted hop cuttings out into the garden in summer in an area that has deep, loamy soil and partial shade.

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