Once hop plants reach the top of the their strings at 18 feet tall they start the process of flowering, ultimately producing the cones that make beer. These tiny flowers start out as small spikes and quickly begin to resemble the finished product.
The flower shown here is a female flower-- and so are all of the others in our field! Cultivated hops are all female plants; they do not need males to be pollinated. In fact, pollination will result in the production of seeds within the cones which will result in extra weight and decreased oil content. Wild plants (yes, there are native wild hops) will produce male flowers and are occasionally seen.
Each hop variety will have a different final size and these range from 1 inch to over 3 inches in length. Here you can see the difference a couple of weeks makes in turning those small spikey flowers into what we can see as hops. These will continue to develop and elongate over the next month or so until harvest.
Cedar Falls Hops Co. grows Iowa hops. Follow us on here to keep up with the newest progress in our fields.