The sun-loving hyacinth bean (Lablab purpureus) is an annual vine that easily climbs trellises, heavy netting, a wire fence, or strong twine.
If you plant seeds to climb up twine at the edge of a porch, the fast-growing vine will quickly provide a curtain for privacy and shade. Fragrant, pea-like flowers appear in summer and fall. Most are lavender, though a few are white or pink. The vine also produces glossy purple pods, plus stems and handsome leaves with some purple color.
Common name: Hyacinth bean, Indian bean, Egyptian bean
Botanical name: Lablab purpureus (Dolichos lablab)
Plant type: Twining climber
Height: 6 to 20 feet
Zones: 10 to 11
Family: Fabaceae (legume)
• Sun: Full sun
• Soil: Average, well-drained soil
• Moisture: Water weekly during dry weather.
• Mulch: Apply a thin layer of organic mulch around new plantings to deter weeds.
• Fertilizer: To get plants off to a quick start, add a balanced fertilizer to soil before planting seeds.
• Pruning: Cut off mature seed pods to encourage more flowering.
• ‘Ruby Moon' has amethyst blooms.
• Combine with morning glory for a colorful display.
• The flowers on this vine attract bees, butterflies, and some birds.
• Mature, dried seeds are poisonous to humans if eaten in large quantities.
Pests and diseases
• Leaf spot occurs occasionally.
• Before planting, soak seeds overnight in water to soften the hard outer layer.
• Sow seeds indoors at 65ºF to 75ºF. Seeds germinate in 7 to 14 days.
• Plant seedlings when they are a couple weeks old-they grow quickly and will get tangled and difficult to handle if not planted on time.
• Sow seeds outdoors in spring when danger of frost has passed and nights stay above 50ºF. Cover seeds with 1 inch of soil and space 6 inches apart.
All in the family
• Some of the more familiar members of this family include false indigo (Baptisia australis, Zones 3 to 9), a shrubby perennial with dark blue flowers and interesting black pods; everlasting pea (Lathyrus grandiflorus, Zones 6 to 9), a perennial climber with pink and red flowers; lupine (Lupinus spp., Zones 4 to 10, depending on cultivar), an annual or perennial with spikes of pea-like flowers in many colors; and wisteria (Wisteria spp., Zones 5 to 9), a vigorous, deciduous climber.
Photo courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder