Has anyone grown hops from seed

Discussion in 'Grain, Hops, Yeast & Water' started by keat64, Jun 9, 2018.

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  1. Jun 9, 2018 #1

    keat64

    keat64

    keat64

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    I bought a pack of humulus lupus seeds a while back and now have about half a dozen young plants.
    Has anyone grown these from seed.
    I'm wondering if it's possible to identify the female from young plants.

    I'd hate to wait 3 years for them all to be male.

    At this stage, most of them look like nettles, however, one of them is a distinct climber, it's wrapping it's self around it's sibling.
     
  2. Jun 9, 2018 #2

    Fil

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    they will develop male/female characteristics in yr 1


    BUT!! you cant get any established hop varieties from seed, Every beer hop comes from a cloned plant.

    the hop plants sexual reproduction involves male and female plants its the female flowering plants that we want as any seeds produced will carry traits from both the female (good known plant) and the pollen from the unknown male doner .. hence the practice of cloning the varieties known to be good for beer and how the consistency is maintained.

    your seeds even if from both male and female plants of the same variety (where did the male come from originally?? a hermaphrodite plant? perhaps not the best stock for stability?? ) will undergo some genetic variation as ol gregor mendal discovered with his pea plants 500 odd years ago ( feck me i did pay attention at school one day then..)

    If you want hops that will be good for your beer 100% grow them from a root rhizome (clone stock) your 'wild' varieties may be ok but then again may not.. of course if they are a decorative plant for your garden then its not really an issue..
     
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  3. Jun 10, 2018 #3

    keat64

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    We just got an allotment, so I thought it might be fun to try a hop down there.
    I don't mind the wait, just as long as I get a crop.
     
  4. Jun 14, 2018 #4

    Hoppy

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    Fil is right, even if the female plant is a known variety, you never know what male variety pollinated the female, therefore the outcome of the progeny.
    You should have a mix of male/female around 40/60 split. Male plant flowers do look like nettle flowers, we all know what the females look like, enough pictures on here. That said you can get some interesting varieties from this, look at the amount of hop varieties that have been 'discovered' by open pollination.
    WBR
    Hoppy
     
  5. Jun 14, 2018 #5

    keat64

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    I'm convinced that I'm growing nettle plants in my greenhouse.
    So earlier this week I bought a guaranteed female, and compared a few,.

    I wouldn't mind your thoughts if anyone is in the expert know.

    In this first pic, we can see on the left, the one I described earlier as being a distinct climber, and the one on the right looking like nettles.

    This next image is the guaranteed cloned female (left) against my nettles (right)

    And this last image is of two smaller seedlings, the upper one, already looking different to the lower one.
    The upper I believe a hop, the lower... you guessed it, another nettle.
     
  6. Jun 14, 2018 #6

    Fil

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    way to early to tell, give em a month or two and they will develop gender characteristics, my only experience is with rhizome propagation so am only familiar with the flowers.. google should provide pics of the male pollen sproutings and i suspect they may start shooting out earlier than the females so as long as you are dilligent and keep an eye on whats going on you should be able to spot and kill off any males you have before the females flower ;)

    while you may need to wait 3 years for a full crop, you will have flowers from your females in year 1 and year2, probably enough in yr1 to judge aroma characteristics, perhaps even a full SMASH brew or 2? yr2 should give you plenty for a few brews and even some to share, and come yr 3 you will have bagsfull and will be looking at a vacuum bagger, that is if, IF.. they pass the taste test later this yr ;)

    Dont get too worried about pollination of your females tho some seeds are found in commercial hops and they only grow post pollination.. but you will get more oil laden flowers the longer you can keep them isolated from pollen, as the longer the plant goes unfertilised it will pump out more fragrance (oils) to attract pollenators
     
  7. Jun 15, 2018 #7

    keat64

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    any thoughts on the leaf pattern.
    The ones I suspect to be nettles have a much more pronounced jagged leaf, and at this stage no apparent vine like climbing features.
     
  8. Jun 18, 2018 #8

    keat64

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    The suspect nettles have now been relegated outside of the greenhouse.
     
  9. Jun 18, 2018 #9

    MickDundee

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  10. Jun 19, 2018 #10

    telenomus

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    I've grown hops for 30 years, and have never seen a plant that looks like the one you call "nettles" . I've never seen a male hop plant, but I would expect the leaf venation would be the same as a female plant. The leaf on the left in your second photo looks like a proper hop.
     
  11. Jun 19, 2018 #11

    keat64

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    The second pic is the guaranteed female clone.
    The leaf patterns between the hop and suspect nettle are very similar, but the hop is a little more rounded.
    The hop also has vine like climbing features.

    The plant on the left in pic 1, looks the same as the hop in pic 2, so I'm convinced this is a hop.

    The big leggy things on the right in both pics, I'm now conviced thet are nettles.
     
  12. Jun 22, 2018 #12

    Hoppy

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    They do look alike, they should, they are their closest relations, as others have said, time will tell.

    No need to kill of males, it doesn't really matter if your hops are seeded. In the UK, due to the presence of verticillium wilt, downy and powdery mildew, growers actively plant male hops (1:1000) to ensure pollination. The male flowers come to maturity as the females are in 'burr', flowering before the cone (fruit) develops, giving the impression they flower early. When pollinated, the initial (stigma) flower closes and then develops the cone. the sooner this closes the better, hence the males. This closure helps keep out the spores which infect the plant and prevent cone development.
    As hops are airborne pollinated, not insect, therefore they do not need to produce more aroma to get pollinated. They develop aroma to protect from pests (aphids fly in before aroma develops in maturity). Actually, some wind bruised hops (petal bruising from wind banging them off the bines/leaves) don't look as attractive, with some browning, but do develop more aroma as the plant thinks it is under physical attack, which it want to ward off. This is why EKG seems to develop more aroma than Golding (same hop) as it is grown in the high Weald of Kent, therefore windier.
    Before anyone mentions hops and saving bees, it is varroa mite that is killing bees (not crop sprays), and hop beta acids act as a deterrant to these mites.
    In the US and Germany, the two biggest equal sized global producers of hops, kill males to keep brewers happy. Brewers feel they are are getting hops not seeds for their money/weight and also think the seeds produce less complementary flavours and reduce head retention, however the flavour and head things has been fully disproved.

    BR
    Hoppy
     

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