Purple Hyacinth bean

Lablab purpurea

Purple Hyacinth bean is fast-growing warm weather annual vine is a great addition to any garden spot where you need dramatic effect. The heart-shaped leaves contrast nicely with the delicate lavender flowers.

If supported by a trellis, purple hyacinth bean normally grows to about 15 feet tall. You can also allow purple hyacinth bean to grow up and over other structures in the garden, such as fences and pillars, in a much less formal way.

Purple hyacinth bean is in the same family as garden beans, and its growth habit is very similar. But the gorgeous magenta bean pods formed on this plant are ornamental-only: the seeds are poisonous if ingested.

The best way to plant purple hyacinth vine is from seed, directly in the garden, in mid-spring. Plant seeds about a foot apart, or a little closer, and water regularly. Once the seeds germinate, be sure to keep the soil moist until they can form enough root mass to be more water-efficient.

Flower buds will begin to form in early summer, and will continue all the way through fall. The fragrant flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies.

Purple hyacinth bean should be watered regularly, but don’t overwater, especially if you have heavier clay soil. If left on the vine until maturity, the bean pods will dry and fall to the ground.

So if you don’t want purple hyacinth bean to self-seed for next season, harvest the pods and save them to plant where you want them next spring. They look wonderful in floral arrangements until the purple husk fades.

You’ll also have plenty of seed to share with family and friends. Just one or two plants can cover a lot of area, so you don’t need many seeds to reestablish for next year.