Best known as a key beer ingredient, the hop vine brings good taste to a garden, too. The first documented hop cultivation was in 736, in the Hallertau region of present-day Germany.
In mid to late summer, its large leaves are joined by chartreuse cones that deliver as much drama as any flower. This vine can climb 12 inches per day, topping out at around 25 feet. Zones 4-8.
In the Middle Ages beers tended to be of a very low alcohol content and were commonly consumed as a safer alternative to untreated water. Each village tended to have one or more small breweries with a barley field and a hop garden in close vicinity.
In addition to beer, hops are further used in herbal teas and in soft drinks as well as in herbal medicine as a treatment for anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia. A pillow filled with hops is a popular folk remedy for sleeplessness.