Purple hyacinth bean vine is a fast-growing ornamental plant that produces purple flowers and pods. Although native to tropical Africa and Asia, it can be grown year-round in temperate climates.
What do Hyacinth Bean vine seeds look like?
Hyacinth Bean vine seeds are the seeds of a fast-growing annual vine that produces purple, white, rose, or light red flowers and purple pods. The seeds are usually black or brown with a white spot and are about the size of a pea.
The seeds are edible only when cooked properly, as they contain toxic compounds that can cause vomiting, breathing problems, and seizures. Hyacinth Bean vine seeds are used in Asian cuisines, such as Thai and Indian, to make noodles, tofu, or curry dishes.
Hyacinth Bean vine seeds can be sown directly in the garden in late spring when the soil is warm and the nights are above 50°F (10°C).
How tall do Hyacinth Bean vines grow?
Hyacinth bean vines (Lablab purpureus) are vigorous growers. They can easily reach heights of 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.5 meters) or more in a single growing season, provided they have proper support and growing conditions.
They may grow even higher with ample enough support, such as a trellis or fence. These perennial plants are known for their striking purple flowers and ornamental seed pods, making them a popular choice for vertical accents in many gardens.
Types of Purple Hyacinth Bean
- The purple hyacinth bean (Lablab purpureus) is a climbing annual plant that belongs to the bean family (Fabaceae). It is native to Africa but has been cultivated in other regions for its edible and ornamental value.
Purple hyacinth bean has attractive foliage, flowers, and primarily purple pods. The plant can grow up to 15 feet tall and needs sturdy support to twine around.
There are three common types of purple hyacinth beans that you may encounter in gardens and markets :
- ‘Ruby Moon’: This type of purple hyacinth bean features a beautiful deep purple color on its leaves and pods. The leaves are tinged with purple, while the pods have a shiny, dark purple hue.
- ‘Silver Moon’: This purple hyacinth bean has green leaves with purple veins and white flowers. The pods are light green with purple streaks.
- ‘Alba’: This purple hyacinth bean has green leaves and white flowers. The pods are green with white spots.
Best Places to Plant Hyacinth Bean Vine
The hyacinth bean vine is a fast-growing ornamental plant that produces purple flowers and pods. It can be grown in various locations but prefers full sun and well-drained soil. Hyacinth bean vine can be planted in containers, trellises, fences, arbors, or pergolas. It can also be used as a ground cover or a living mulch.
Hyacinth bean vine is not very cold-hardy, so it should be planted after the last frost date in your area. You can start seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before planting or sow them directly in the ground when the soil is warm. Hyacinth bean vine will proliferate and bloom from summer to fall.
It can attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees to your garden. Hyacinth bean vine is edible but should be cooked before eating, as raw beans can be toxic.
Here are quick steps to grow purple hyacinth bean vines in your garden:
1. Choose a sunny location with well-drained soil.
Purple hyacinth bean vine prefers full sun and moist but not soggy soil. You can improve the soil quality by adding organic matter such as compost or manure.
2. Sow the seeds in late spring or early summer after the last frost.
You can soak the seeds overnight in warm water to speed up germination. Plant the seeds about 1 inch deep and 6 inches apart in rows or groups. Water the seeds well and keep the soil moist until they sprout.
3. Provide sturdy support for the vines to climb on.
Purple hyacinth bean vine can grow up to 15 feet tall and needs a trellis, fence, arbor or pergola to support its weight. You can also grow it in containers with a bamboo stake or a wire cage.
4. Fertilize the plants once a month with a balanced fertilizer.
Purple hyacinth bean vine is not very demanding, but it will benefit from some extra nutrients during its active growth period. You can use a general-purpose fertilizer or one specially formulated for flowering plants.
5. Prune the plants regularly to encourage more blooms and pods.
Purple hyacinth bean vine produces more foliage than flowers and pods if left unpruned. You can trim back the tips of the vines and remove any dead or diseased parts. This will also help to control the size and shape of the plant.
6. Harvest the pods when they are young and tender.
Purple hyacinth bean vine produces edible pods that can be eaten raw or cooked like green beans. However, you should only harvest the young pods less than 4 inches long and still soft. The mature pods are tough and contain toxic compounds that can cause nausea and vomiting if ingested.
7. Enjoy the beauty of the plant until frost.
Purple hyacinth bean vine will continue to bloom and produce pods until the first frost kills it. You can leave the dried pods on the plant for winter interest or collect them for seeds for next year.
Plant purple hyacinth bean vine at the right time
Planting purple hyacinth bean vine at the right time is essential for its growth and flowering. This vine is a fast-growing annual that can reach up to 15 feet in height. It produces purple flowers and pods that attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
The best time to plant purple hyacinth bean vine is in late spring or early summer, after the last frost date in your area. You can start the seeds indoors about six weeks before planting them outside or sow them directly in the ground when the soil is warm and moist.
Purple hyacinth bean vine prefers full sun and well-drained soil. It can tolerate some drought but needs regular watering during hot and dry periods. You can also fertilize it once a month with a balanced fertilizer to boost its growth and flowering.
How to Grow Purple Hyacinth Bean From Seed
If you want to grow purple hyacinth beans from seed, you must start them indoors about 4-6 weeks before the last frost date in your area. Sow two seeds 1/2 inch deep in individual pots filled with moist potting mix. Keep the pots in a warm and bright location, and water regularly.
When the seedlings emerge, thin them to one plant per pot, choosing the strongest and most purple one. You can transplant them outdoors after the danger of frost has passed, in a sunny spot with good drainage and sturdy support for the vines to climb on.
Purple hyacinth beans will bloom and produce pods from summer to fall, adding color and interest to your garden.
Where to Find Seeds
Hyacinth bean seeds can be found at a variety of sources:
- Local Garden Centers or Nurseries: These are typically the first places to check. Most will carry a variety of seeds, especially in the springtime when many people start to plant gardens.
- Online Retailers: Websites like Amazon, eBay, or gardening-specific online stores like Burpee, Park Seed, or Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds often carry a wide variety of seeds, including hyacinth beans.
- Seed Catalogs: There are many companies that produce seed catalogs, such as Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Seed Savers Exchange, or Territorial Seed Company. These can be ordered to your home, and they offer a wide selection of seeds, including hyacinth beans.
- Seed Exchanges or Swaps: These events, which can sometimes be found locally, offer an opportunity to trade seeds with other gardeners. This can be a great way to obtain seeds that are well-suited to your local area.
- Friends or Neighbors: If you know someone who already grows hyacinth beans, they might be willing to give or trade some seeds with you. This is often the best source, as these seeds will be from plants that are already proven to grow well in your area.
When buying seeds, make sure to check that they are from a reputable source to ensure the best chance of germination and healthy growth. Also, always verify the specific variety of the plant, as different varieties may have different growth habits and care requirements.
How to Propagate Purple Hyacinth Bean
Purple hyacinth bean is a fast-growing vine that produces beautiful purple flowers and pods. It is easy to propagate from seeds, cuttings, or division.
Some steps to follow:
- Seeds: You can collect seeds from mature pods in late summer or fall, or buy them from a nursery. Soak the seeds in warm water for 24 hours before planting them in pots filled with moist potting mix. Place the pots in a sunny spot and keep the soil moist but not soggy. The seeds should germinate in 10 to 14 days.
- Cuttings: You can take stem cuttings from healthy plants in spring or summer. Cut a 6-inch stem section with at least three nodes (where leaves attach). Remove the lower leaves and dip the cut end in the rooting hormone. Insert the cutting into a pot filled with moist potting mix and cover it with a plastic bag. Place the pot in a bright spot but avoid direct sunlight. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. The cutting should root in 4 to 6 weeks.
- Division: You can divide established plants in spring or fall. Dig up the plant carefully and separate it into smaller sections with roots and shoots. Replant the divisions in new locations or pots filled with fresh potting mix. Water well and mulch around the base of the plant.
Purple hyacinth bean is a vigorous grower that can cover a trellis, fence, or wall in one season. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil. It is drought-tolerant once established but benefits from regular watering and fertilizing during the growing season.
It is not frost-hardy, so you may need to bring it indoors or protect it with mulch in colder climates.
Harvesting Tips and Best Uses
Harvesting your fruits and vegetables can be a rewarding and satisfying activity. However, there are some tips and best uses that you should keep in mind to make the most of your harvest.
Here are some of them:
- Harvest at the right time. Different crops have different indicators of ripeness, such as color, size, texture, or aroma. For example, tomatoes are ready when firm and red, while cucumbers are best when crisp and green. You can also check the seed packets or plant labels for more information on when to harvest.
- Harvest in the morning or evening. The best time to harvest your crops is when they are cool and hydrated, usually in the early morning or evening. Avoid harvesting in the heat of the day, as this can cause wilting and loss of flavor.
- Harvest with care. Use sharp and clean tools to cut or pick your crops, and handle them gently to avoid bruising or damaging them. Wash them thoroughly before storing or using them, and remove any diseased or damaged parts.
- Use or preserve your harvest promptly. Fresh fruits and vegetables have a limited shelf life, so it is best to use or preserve them as soon as possible after harvesting. You can eat them raw, cook, freeze, dry, can, or pickle them, depending on your preference and the crop type. Some crops, such as herbs, can also be used to make teas, oils, vinegar, or other products.
Common Pests & Plant Diseases
If you are a gardener, you know how frustrating it can be to deal with pests and diseases that attack your plants and crops.
Some of the most common pests and diseases that affect plants are:
- Aphids: These are small, soft-bodied insects that suck the sap from plant leaves, stems, and buds. They can cause yellowing, curling, wilting, and stunting of plant growth. They can also transmit viral diseases to plants. To control aphids, spray them with water, insecticidal soap, or neem oil, or introduce natural predators like ladybugs and lacewings.
- Blight: This fungal disease causes brown spots and patches on plant leaves, stems, and fruits. It can spread quickly and kill plants in wet and humid conditions. To prevent blight, avoid overhead watering, prune infected parts, and rotate crops. To treat blight, you can use fungicides or copper sprays.
- Cabbage worm: This is a green caterpillar that feeds on the leaves of cabbage, broccoli, kale, and other cruciferous vegetables. It can cause holes and ragged edges on the leaves and reduce the yield and quality of the crop. To control cabbage worms, you can handpick them off the plants, cover them with row covers, or spray them with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a natural bacteria that kills caterpillars.
- Spider mite: This tiny spider-like insect feeds on plant sap and causes fine webbing on the undersides of leaves. It can cause yellowing, speckling, bronzing, and dropping of leaves. It thrives in hot and dry conditions and can multiply rapidly. To control spider mites, you can spray them with water, horticultural oil, or insecticidal soap or introduce natural predators like predatory mites and ladybugs.
- Whitefly: This tiny white-winged insect sucks the sap from plant leaves and excretes honeydew, a sticky substance that attracts ants and sooty mold. It can cause wilting, yellowing, stunting, and death of plants. It can also transmit viral diseases to plants. To control whiteflies, spray them with water, insecticidal soap, or neem oil, or introduce natural predators like lacewings and parasitic wasps.
These are just some of the common pests and diseases that affect plants. You should always monitor your plants regularly for any signs of damage or infection and take appropriate action as soon as possible to prevent further spread and loss.
Are Hyacinth Beans Poisonous?
Hyacinth beans are a type of legume that have purple flowers and pods. They are also known as lablab beans, dolichos beans, or bonavist beans. Hyacinth beans are edible but must be adequately cooked before consumption.
Raw or undercooked hyacinth beans contain cyanogenic glycosides, compounds that can release cyanide in the body and cause poisoning. Symptoms of hyacinth bean poisoning include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, and difficulty breathing. T
o prevent hyacinth bean poisoning, it is recommended to soak the beans overnight, discard the soaking water, and boil them for at least 20 minutes in fresh water.
Hyacinth beans can be eaten as a vegetable, added to soups and stews, or ground into flour.
In gardening, the Ruby Moon Hyacinth Bean, also known as the Indian Bean or Egyptian Bean, truly stands out. Its gorgeous purple stems, lush foliage, and fragrant flowers provide quick cover for fences, trellises, and arbors and make it an ideal addition to any home landscape.
This is especially true when paired with other plants like Morning Glories, that lend a similar aesthetic appeal. Moreover, the vibrant pink to purple flowers that bloom in mid-summer can fill your garden with a pleasing scent.
From a gardening standpoint, one of the best things about the Hyacinth Bean is its fast growth and its need for very little care. Seeds planted in early spring, after the frost has passed, sprout into seedlings that are ready to twine their way up any supports you provide. By the middle of the growing season, you can look forward to enjoying its bean pods and beautiful blooms.
Remember, this fast-growing annual prefers well-draining soil, full sun, and a warm temperature. Loamy soil in a sunny spot is considered ideal. Although it is generally hardy, be mindful that it is susceptible to fungal diseases such as Fusarium wilt, so prevention methods and proper soil preparation are essential.
The green beans are edible when young, and so are the young leaves, adding an extra dimension to this beautiful plant. Dried beans can be used as a food crop, but it’s essential to know they should not be consumed in large quantities by humans without thorough cooking to reduce potential toxicity. Always store the harvested dried beans in a dry place for next year’s garden.
Interestingly, Hyacinth Beans fix their own nitrogen, meaning they enrich the soil in which they grow. This makes them a good choice for improving soil fertility for next year’s garden. Yet, they are not just beneficial for other plants, but they also serve as host plant for Japanese beetles.
While the beetles can overwhelm the Hyacinth Bean, they rarely threaten its overall life cycle. At the same time, deer tend to avoid these plants, so you’ll have one less pest to worry about.
For gardeners in temperate climates, gather seeds in the fall after the first frost. Store the seed pods in a cool, dry place over the winter. Come spring, after the danger of frost has passed, you’ll be ready to plant again.
Despite these numerous advantages, one common problem gardener’s encounter with the Hyacinth Bean is thinning out the dense, lush foliage that can overwhelm other plants. Regular pruning is recommended to keep the plant in check and the landscape in balance.
The beauty of the Hyacinth Bean, with its shiny seed pods and striking purple stems, is well known in many parts of the world. In fact, it was a featured plant in Thomas Jefferson’s garden at Monticello, adding a formal touch to the landscape.
And, with its roots in Africa and Asia, the Hyacinth Bean, scientifically known as Dolichos lablab, has found its way to various corners of the globe, including China and the United States.
In conclusion, with its easy care and fast growth, the Hyacinth Bean offers much to the gardener looking for both beauty and function. Its edible leaves, nitrogen-fixing abilities, and its popularity with pollinators like bees and butterflies make it an excellent addition to any garden.
Whether you choose to plant for beauty, as a food crop, or both, the Hyacinth Bean is an excellent choice. Its resilience and charm are sure to bring you joy and success in your gardening endeavors.