How to Plant, Grow, and Care for a Hyacinth Bean Vine.
Hyacinth Bean vine, an annual vine heirloom that is typically grown for its flowers, is edible in most parts. The plant adds color to any garden with its showy seed pods and attractive flowers. Purple hyacinth beans overgrow and are a good choice for covering arbors or foundations.
The blooms appear in late summer in loose clusters that fade from pale purple to white as they age; glossy purple pods resembling snow peas emerge after a few days. Hyacinth beans are attractive and produce striking flowers and delicious pods; even if you’re not growing vegetables, this is a good way to add some natural beauty to your garden.
- Genus name: Lablab purpureus
- Common name: Hyacinth Bean vine
- Plant type: Annual flowering vine
- Origin: Sub-Saharan Africa
- Height: 15 feet
- Flower color: Purple, white, green; pink
- Propagation method: Seeds
- Water requirements: Moderate
- Maintenance: Low
- Tolerance: Drought, humid heat
- Light: Full sun
- Soil: Average, Loamy
Cultivation and History.
Historically, hyacinth beans were grown at Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States. The bean’s first showy display is its violet-tinged leaves: three leaflets in an oval or triangle formation on each stalk.
Its flowers resemble sweet peas and grow in clusters that come in shades of purple, white, rose, or light red. These pods are shorter than their leaves, standing out dramatically against them as they mature into three to six-inch lengths. This plant is first believed to have been domesticated in India during the Stone Age, but it’s still widely consumed throughout tropical Asia, Australia, and Africa.
The hyacinth bean is sometimes cooked as a vegetable in India. Thomas Jefferson is associated with hyacinth beans in America. He grew these beans, or perhaps another vine that resembled them, at his Virginia plantation of Monticello in 1812.
It is not uncommon to see hyacinth beans growing in the gardens of southern mansions and plantations. Hyacinth bean produces abundant purple-tinged pea flowers and magenta bean pods that are excellent for food or decoration.
Tips to grow Purple Hyacinth Bean Plant Vine.
If you have a garden and extra space, hyacinth beans are an excellent addition. They produce striking purple flowers that complement other bulbs in the landscape—plus, they smell amazing. If you want the best results from your seeds, soak them for 6 to 8 hours before planting (depending on the type of seed).
To grow climbers on your fence, consider wrapping chicken wire around the pillars of your wooden fence. Then tie twine along with young plants’ tendrils until they learn how to climb.
If a seed supplier sends fewer seeds than expected, don’t worry: Plant four or five plants that you’ve chosen—they’ll produce enough fruit to fill an arbor or fence. And if you save your seeds as well, then next year will be covered twice over.
Potting Hyacinth Bean Vines
If you grow hyacinth beans in pots, you can place them anywhere. Grow your pods near the bottom of a railing or fence and let your climbing vines take over. You can also plant them in hanging pots to cascade down from overhead.
The hyacinth bean plant grows easily in pots and will tolerate a wide range of growing conditions. Any standard potting medium should suffice for these plants, provided it allows for good drainage.
Hyacinth beans perform best in full sun, though they can take some shade. Sow the seeds outdoors after the last chance of frost or start them inside several weeks earlier—but not too early. Immature hyacinth beans are toxic if eaten raw. Be sure to cook hyacinth beans thoroughly before eating them.
Grow and care for Hyacinth Bean Vine.
Hyacinth beans—with their vast seeds, 7–10-day germination time, purple bean pods in summer and fall, and impressive growth spurts—are a hit with beginners and experienced gardeners.
Hyacinth beans are often grown as annuals in the US since most modern-day gardeners live in areas that fall into hardiness zones 10 and above.
Despite the effort required to establish hyacinth beans (seeds must be planted and cared for), these plants will readily regrow once they’re established. Home gardeners can only grow them through seed—either purchased or saved at the end of a growing season.
Wait until nighttime temperatures in your area remain consistently above 50 degrees, then plant the seeds at a depth of about 1.5 inches, firm the soil around them and keep them watered—but don’t overdo it. You can save time by starting seeds indoors if your growing season is less than 90 days.
It would be best to plant your hyacinth bean seeds four weeks before the last expected frost. Make sure that you’ve got enough light to keep them growing until you can transplant them into the garden, which will be sometime after springtime and when nighttime temperatures are consistently above 50°F.
Where to plant your Hyacinth Bean Vines
Hyacinth bean vines are great at covering ugly spots, twining up fences, or over arbors to provide shade or privacy. But don’t let their reputation precede them: plan out where they’re going before letting nature take its course!
Planting your seeds in a spot where they can climb on something as soon as possible prevents the young plants from sprawling across the ground and getting tangled up.
Secure the plant to a tall stake for its tendrils to reach their destination without becoming tangled. If you keep your vine healthy, it will continue growing until its tendrils are no longer entangled with other plants or objects and can remain where they landed. If the vine grows to the top of its support and continues climbing, it will spiral down to reach back toward earth. Which creates a gorgeous canopy made up of leaves, blooms, and later pods.
Hyacinth beans grow slowly while they are establishing themselves, mainly producing leaves. As summer approaches and temperatures warm up, the plants blossom within 90 days of planting.
Pruning and Maintenance.
You may need to prune your vines for aesthetic reasons, or if they grow taller than the support system you have built for them.
Hyacinth bean seedlings can be made fuller and bushier by pinching back the first two or more sets of true leaves, which forces them to branch out and grow broader than if left alone. To promote the second round of blossoms, cut each vine back to within six inches of the soil when you notice that flower production is slowing in late summer. You may feel as though you’re being cruel to the plants by pulling them out of their pots, but they will quickly regrow and flourish again.
When pruning, cut just above a bud node and use a clean tool to avoid harming the plant or causing bacterial infections.
Cultivars to Select.
Ruby Moon hyacinth bean has purple stems, lilac blossoms, and shiny magenta pods that make it a striking ornamental throughout the growing season. It is mostly found in the tropical regions of Africa. It has deep purple stems, dark green leaves and pretty purple flowers. With the right care, it can grow anywhere. The purple Moon hyacinth bean is an annual that grows well. Its reddish-purple pods have a flat, curved shape.
The Silver Moon Hyacinth bean vine thrives with minimal care and can quickly cover a 20-foot trellis. The flowers bloom in the summertime and are pure white on vines that grow to an average of 8 foot long.
Hyacinth Bean Vine – Light Requirement.
Because the purple hyacinth bean is so prolific, it will flower best if planted in a sunny location. However, this plant can also grow well in partial shade—with fewer blooms and a higher chance of disease—than in the full sun.
Wide varieties of purple hyacinth beans do not require different periods of light and darkness to mature or flower, so they can be grown in places with more sunlight. However, with some types of purple hyacinth bean flowers, you will need a shorter day length and cooler temperatures to bloom. Talk to your nursery about the best varieties for growing under those conditions.
Hyacinth Bean Vine Soil Needs.
The best way to grow purple hyacinth bean is in neutral (pH 6.0 to 6.8), rich soil—adding organic matter or compost before planting will give it a good start. This plant prefers well-drained sites, so be careful not to plant where standing water may collect around its roots; they’ll rot quickly without proper drainage.
Plant this plant in a place where it will get plenty of water. The soil should be moist, not soggy—more critical than the volume is that you apply water to all parts of the root system at once, so they all stay equally hydrated.
During a midsummer drought, you may need to water plants every other day; but with sufficient rainfall and well-placed irrigation systems, you can go weeks without worrying about dry soil.
Temperature and Humidity.
The beautiful purple hyacinth bean flourishes in humid environments but tolerates dry conditions. However, it is not suited for tropical climates or areas with temperatures lower than 37 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fertilizing Hyacinth Bean Vine.
Feed this vine every four or five weeks throughout the summer to maintain a lush jungle of growth with an organic fertilizer like liquid fish. When applying fertilizer, follow the directions on the package and use less than what it recommends. Fertilizers with more phosphorus than nitrogen are best for these plants.
Managing common Pests & Plant Diseases.
Hyacinth beans are somewhat resistant to most diseases and pests. However, here’s what you should watch out for:
Rust, Blight, and Wilt.
Common blight is a bacterial disease that causes water-soaked spots on leaves and stems. You can try to find them on lower limbs, where they will likely go unnoticed until it’s too late. If undetected, these pests will kill the vine by girdling its stem or making it so fragile that even a gentle rain or strong wind could snap it in two.
The fungus Fusarium causes fusarium wilt, which first affects the lower leaves. The disease quickly spreads throughout the plant and can stunt young vines’ growth.
Rust caused by a fungal parasite can make hyacinth beans look as though they have burned or been scorched. It attacks any plant tissue: leaves and shoots are no exception. Wilted leaves or undersized/gnarled pods might also mean rust is present in the plant’s system.
Plant and prune hyacinth beans in areas with ample air circulation to prevent all diseases mentioned above. If blight or wilt does become a problem, you may be able to control it by applying a copper-based bactericide or fungicide every seven to 10 days.
If you suspect your hyacinth bean has rust, snip off any infected leaves or stalks with a pair of disinfected loppers or scissors.
Applying neem oil to purple hyacinth bean plants can help prevent rust from damaging the flowers. If new patches form, spray them with more oil as soon as possible, so they do not become serious.
Longtail Skipper Butterflies and Japanese Beetles.
Although Japanese beetles and caterpillars of the longtail skipper butterfly—the plant’s preferred host insect—are rare visitors to hyacinth bean vines, they may chew on your plants’ leaves.
Healthy plants usually survive an attack from beetles and grow more prolific, fuller leaves. However, if these insects are too oppressive to your plant’s health, try using a pesticide.
Hyacinth Bean Vine: Common Problems.
If your vine has few flowers, you may need to plantit in a sunnier spot or remove some of the nitrogen-containing fertilizer. Beans are nitrogen fixators, which means that they make their nitrogen. However, when there’s not enough sunlight in the environment for beans to flower—even though they have plenty of lush foliage —you’re probably overfeeding your plants N and causing B deficiency rather than lacking it. If you want your perennial to flower, add soil with high potassium levels; if that doesn’t work, move or transplant the plant next year.
The purple beauty of this vine makes it an excellent ornamental plant. However, you can also harvest its fruit at any time during the growingseason.
Accordingly, knowing when purple hyacinth bean seed pods are ready for harvest is essential. Once the flower dies away and the seeds have reached a considerable size inside their pods, it’s time to pick them up and distribute them amongst your garden beds.
You should harvest the bean seed pods just before your first frost. Seeds can be easily kept and used next year in the garden.
Hyacinth Bean Vine: Best Uses.
Hyacinth beans are delicious and nutritious food and a great source of nutrients with many health benefits, such as preventing cancer, reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes, improving digestion, and boosting your immune system.
People take the seeds of hyacinth beans as medicine. They use them to prevent pregnancy, cure diarrhea, and stomach disorders and treat menstrual cramps.
Hyacinth beans are complex carbohydrates that can give you a full feeling. It is also said to help reduce asthma symptoms, such as nausea.
Hyacinth beans are easy-to-grow plants that can tolerate a wide range of conditions. They will reward you with large flowers and small pods, which look lovely as flowers or vegetables.
For gorgeous color in your garden, nothing beats a hyacinth bean vine. That’s because hyacinth beans produce some of the most colorful flowers in the park. Their flowers are full of vibrant colors and can thrive in colder temperatures than other plants, making them ideal for hardier regions. When growing hyacinth bean vines, you can have stunning colors and easy-to-care-for plants that attract butterflies, unlike many other flowering vines.
Frequently asked questions.
Does the hyacinth bean vine need full sun?
Purple hyacinth beans grow in full sun. Partial shade will be OK for this plant too—but you’ll have fewer blooms and may run into problems with fungal diseases if you don’t give it enough light.
Is hyacinth bean vine edible?
Dried beans are poisonous and must be boiled in two changes of water before eating; however, young bean pods can also be eaten raw as a green vegetable, similar to spinach.
How fast does the hyacinth bean vine grow?
Hyacinth Bean Vine plants are annual flowering vines that grow at a stellar pace with pretty purple flowers. If you’re looking for a fast-growing plantto add color and fragrance to your garden, Hyacinth Bean Vines are the way to go. They can reach 15 feet in just one season.
Are hyacinth bean vines invasive?
Although it is not technically considered invasive, this plant can easily overwhelm a garden plot by crowding out other species.
What is the origin of the purple hyacinth bean?
Hyacinth beans are native of Africa and have been used since the New Stone Age in India. They continue to be harvested and cooked as a food source in tropical regions around the world, including Asia and Australia.