How to Grow and Care for Summer Shandy Hops

Benefits of Plants With "the Golden Touch"

Summer shandy hops groundcover plant with light green cone-like strobiles hanging in branches

The Spruce / K. Dave

Summer Shandy hops vines are among the best vines to grow in sunny areas if you're looking to fill in space in your yard. They are fast-growing, vigorous growers in the Cannabaceae family that are valued for the golden-to-chartreuse color of their leaves. Their vigor makes these plants unsuitable for low-maintenance landscaping. Don't grow them if you are seeking well-behaved plants. However, they can be a good choice if their spread won't bother you or if you don't mind keeping them under control. Plant Summer Shandy hops rhizomes in the early spring.

In spring and summer, this is simply a foliage plant, but by fall, female plants bloom with cone-like structures called strobiles. The attraction of the leaves is primarily their color and secondarily their shape. It is the new leaves that are golden. Older foliage fades in summer to chartreuse or light green. Many of the leaves are deeply cut into three lobes. The leaves bear teeth along their margins. The vine grows to about 10 feet.

Hops plants draw butterflies, but what they don't usually attract is deer. The small prickles with which they are covered are not palatable, making these vines deer-resistant plants.

All parts of the hops plant are toxic to dogs and cats.

Common Name Summer Shandy hops
Botanical Name Humulus lupulus 'Sumner'
Family Cannabaceae
Plant Type Herbaceous, perennial vine
Mature Size 10 ft. long by 3 ft. (or less) wide
Sun Exposure Full sun, partial sun, part shade
Soil Type Moderately fertile, well-drained, medium moisture
Soil pH Neutral to alkaline
Bloom Time September to October
Flower Color Light green
Hardiness Zones 5-9 (USDA)
Native Area Cultivar, no native range
Toxicity Toxic to pets

Summer Shandy Hops Care

When you meet the basic needs of Summer Shandy hops, it is a rigorous climber. To help Summer Shandy climb—they climb by twining—you can train it up a post or trellis using twist-ties. Alternatively, pound tent stakes into the ground near the base of the plant and run a string line diagonally from ground level up to a supporting structure. The stems of the plant will twine around the string.

Even better, erect a wooden arbor or perhaps a small pergola partially closed in with latticework to form a trellis. You can also dress up certain types of wooden fences with hops vines or obscure unsightly chain-link fencing while at the same time screening out unwanted glances from the street (at least for three seasons of the year).

Summer shandy hops vines with light green cone-like strobiles hanging from branches

The Spruce / K. Dave

Summer shandy hops vines climbing wired fence in garden

The Spruce / K. Dave

Summer shandy hops plant with light green cone-like strobiles hanging from vines closeup

The Spruce / K. Dave


Although Summer Shandy hops vines tolerate lower light levels, they produce their best color and most flowers when given full sun. In northern climates, grow it in full sun, but in the South, it can profit from a touch of shade in the afternoon.


The main requirement for growing Summer Shandy hops is well-draining soil. Increase soil drainage by working organic soil amendments into the ground.


Summer Shandy hops plants have average water needs. Keep the soil moist but not soaked throughout the growing season.

Temperature and Humidity

Summer Shandy hops grows best in USDA hardiness zones 5-9. Hops plants need a minimum of 150 frost-free days to flower properly, followed by a warm summer. They grow well in average humidity and are somewhat drought-tolerant.


This vine needs a soil of only average fertility to do well. However, it performs best when fertilized annually with compost.

Types of Hops

Other interesting Humulus lupulus hops plants include the following:

  • Humulus lupulus 'Aureus' is a highly ornamental vine. As with most hops plants, the cone-like fruit from the female plants can be used to flavor beer. 'Aureus' produces fruit in September and October. This fragrant, showy vine grows to 25 feet in Zones 3–8.
  • Humulus lupulus 'Centennial' is an early blooming variety that blooms in June and July. It is a vigorous climber that grows to 20 feet in Zones 4-8.
  • Humulus lupulus 'Chinook' is mainly grown for agricultural purposes, but it is also ornamental. It grows to 25 feet and blooms in June-August in Zones 4-8.


Pruning Summer Shandy hops is something you should do continually throughout the growing season. As the plant vines, keep the vines from tangling with themselves. In mid-summer, prune the foliage from the bottom 2 to 3 feet of your plants. Keep an eye on the plant and prune back shoots it sends up through the ground to keep the vines airy.

Propagating Summer Shandy Hops

Propagate Summer Shandy hops is by dividing its rhizomes in the late spring. Using a clean garden trowel, dig down until you locate the rhizomes, and gently remove them from the ground. Using your fingers, divide the rhizomes and cut with a sharp, sterile knife into several bunches. Replant immediately in moist, well-draining soil at least a foot apart.


Some growers cut down hops vines after the growing season because they die down to the ground in winter (the roots remain alive for new growth the following spring). However, if you don't cut down the vines at the end of fall, the attractive strobiles give you winter interest. They are easy to appreciate once the leaves drop.

Common Pests/Diseases

Japanese beetles and aphids are among the insects that might attack hops vines. You may notice several leaves on your plant that have small holes in them, but the damage isn't likely to be enough to mar the beauty of the plants. A quick wash with insecticidal soap will fix any problems.

Summer Shandy hops is generally free of diseases, but occasionally it is affected by black root rot. To remediate, make sure it's planted in well-draining soil and that any extra shoots that have grown from the original plant are cut back.

  • Do I need both male and female hops plants?

    You need both if you want the female plant to bloom and produce seeds. If that isn't important to you, a single plant provides plenty of attractive foliage.

  • What creatures are pollinators for hops plants?

    Actually, the wind is the biggest pollinator, although butterflies are known to give the wind a helping hand.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. The Rising Danger of Hops Ingestion. ASPCA

  2. Toxicity to Pets. Pet Poison Helpline