Growing Hops Along A Fence, How Time-Consuming Is It?

Discussion in 'Other Plants' started by Nikolaos, Feb 21, 2021.

  1. Nikolaos

    Nikolaos Super Gardener

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    Hi All,

    I wanted to grow something beneficial to butterflies along my new fence. The reason I'm favouring "along" as opposed to "up" is the fact that it's right next to a butterfly-friendly border I've started recently, so keeping the amount of ground space occupied by the climber to a minimum means I can fit more (other) plants in. I then remembered that Humulus lupulus (hops) was a caterpillar foodplant of Comma butterflies! But everything I've read about hops suggests their habit/inclination is to grow vertically, and that I would have to regularly devote some time to training them to grow horizontally. Trouble is, I want the border to be as low-maintenance as possible, so having plants requiring a lot of training would defeat the whole object of that! :doh: I have zero experience of growing hops, so I'm clueless! :dunno: Could do with the advice of a seasoned hop-grower ideally, but any advice appreciated. :)

    Thanks,

    Nick
     
  2. Palustris

    Palustris Total Gardener

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    They are thugs. Also when they have finished for the year you would need to spend hours cutting them down and disposing of the very tough stems.
     
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    • pete

      pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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      Yes to grow hops properly they need to go up first and then spread out at the top of a support.
      The bog standard hop is pretty rampant, but you could try and get hold of the variegated version.
       
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      • Scrungee

        Scrungee Well known for it

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        Had them in my garden and that is what I think of them, the roots were a sod to remove, digging deep holes and using a reciprocating saw, and the stems are covered with very small thorns that can tear your skin if you brush against them. Never saw any wildlife on them.

        [​IMG]
         
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        • Nikolaos

          Nikolaos Super Gardener

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          Thanks very much Guys, appreciate the feedback! :dbgrtmb: Oh dear, I think I hugely underestimated how thuggish, bulky and vigorous these can be! The fence is right next to an access path and I think they would take up nearly half of it when mature! :heehee: Coupled with all the work involved they are certainly not sounding like a good idea for my garden.

          This one, Pete? :noidea:

          Humulus lupulus ‘Variegated’ “Variegated Hops”

          Ouch, didn't even know that! Getting rid of most of my roses because I'm sick of thorns, so I'm definitely not keen on the sound of those! :yikes:

          Nick
           
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          • Scrungee

            Scrungee Well known for it

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            Forgot to mention that if you plant them against a boundary fence, shoots will soon be coming up on your neighbour's side.

            Their thick mass of roots would push a geotextile fabric root barrier aside.
             
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            • Nikolaos

              Nikolaos Super Gardener

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              Not as bad as that, but nearly! It's a regularly used shared-access path so I think they would take up too much of the path and cause conflict that way! :doh: Don't get on with them upstairs as it is! :biggrin:

              Nick
               
            • Palustris

              Palustris Total Gardener

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              The Yellow leafed one is as bed as the ordinary one too. I dug out every root I could find for 10 years and it was still there when we moved house.
               
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              • pete

                pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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                Looks like you might have to grow a clematis:frown::redface::roflol:
                 
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                • Nikolaos

                  Nikolaos Super Gardener

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                  LOL Some clematis can be good for most pollinators except butterflies and I'm not too keen on clematis anyway! :wallbanging:

                  Looks like it's going to be a bloody honeysuckle then, shame they're no good for butterflies either but I much prefer them to clematis! :rolleyespink::biggrin: Sounds like the only way to really grow hops for wildlife is to plant them somewhere out of the way in a large garden and let them do their own thing, so they're out at this stage! :dunno:

                  Nick
                   
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                  • pete

                    pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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                    You couldn't put a buddleia there could you?
                     
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                    • Nikolaos

                      Nikolaos Super Gardener

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                      Well I've already got 4 large buddleias and a 'Buzz' dwarf @pete, so I want to try something new that is as popular (or almost as popular) with the butterflies that is a climber. But there are actually very, very few climbers that can be grown along a fence that butterflies like, apparently! :rolleyespink::wallbanging: One I'm definitely thinking of now is Lathyrus latifolius, might well be worth trying, apparently attractive to Brimstone butterflies judging by photos and vigorous, but not too vigorous. :)

                      lathyrus latifolius brimstone butterflies - Google Search

                      Nick
                       
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                      • Sian in Belgium

                        Sian in Belgium Total Gardener

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                        Not wanting to suggest another thug :heehee: but if you are looking for food plants, the herb fennel (as distinct from the vegetable fennel) is a food plant for swallowtail caterpillars, and the tiny flowers are very popular with various bees, hoverflies and butterflies...
                        ... it’s not a climber though. A good corner-of-the-bed plant, perhaps? The young leaves are great in a fresh green salad, although you’d never eat enough salad to keep the plant in check! We gather the seeds for cooking too.
                         
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                        • Nikolaos

                          Nikolaos Super Gardener

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                          Ooh, thanks for posting that, @Sian in Belgium! I keep intending to grow the 'Purpureum' cultivar and then forgetting, so your comment reminded me! :doh: I'll make a note of it this time! :heehee:

                          Foeniculum vulgare 'Purpureum'

                          Foeniculum vulgare sounds like quite a brief flowerer, but seems invaluable for any wildlife garden due to the large diversity of insects it serves! :blue thumb:

                          Nick
                           
                        • Sian in Belgium

                          Sian in Belgium Total Gardener

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                          Yes, we’ve got the bronze version. I love the plant, and the spent seedheads and stems look great in winter with a frost on them. In fact, it was just yesterday that I cut down last years stems, as this years growth is starting to show. I find that it flowers for quite a while, nearer to 3 months than 2, and I love seeing the swallowtail caterpillars with their rugby-sock keep-away markings...
                           
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