How to Grow Hyacinth Bean Vine (Complete Guide)

The hyacinth bean vine (Lablab purpureus) is a mesmerizing and colorful plant with its purple pea pods and pink flowery foliage.

This plant can be used for a variety of purposes- including a decorative piece or even harvested for soups and salads.

(Background image by Yong . L, CC BY-SA 2.0.)

It is a poisonous plant, so precautions are to be taken. The plant dates back to the early 1800s when it was remarked as Thomas Jefferson’s bean plant.

The blooms, colors, and pea pods are truly something else.

Anyone who’s just walking by will surely give your plants a double take.

Let’s dive in and learn how to care for this mysterious perennial.

Last updated: 11/10/21.

Hyacinth bean vine quick care guide

Seasonality Perennial (USDA zones 10-11), annual in other zones
Soil type Well-draining
Soil pH 6.0-6.8
Hardiness zone Zones 10-11
Time to maturity 90 days
Time to germination 7-20 days
Planting depth 2 inches
Plant spacing 8 inches for seeds, 4 feet for established
Watering requirements High in summer, medium in autumn
Sunlight requirements Full sun (no partial shade)
Temperature requirements 70F+
Flower color White, pink, and purple
Growth speed Very fast
Max height 20 feet
Max coverage 6 feet
Edible? Select parts
Drought tolerant? Moderate
Beginner friendly? Yes
Planting season Summer, autumn

What’s a hyacinth bean vine?

Also known as the Jefferson bean because Thomas Jefferson bought a bunch of these from a local nursery in 1804, these are strikingly colorful legumes.

A hyacinth bean vine is a gorgeous purple and pink perennial known for its signature purple pea pods.

The plant is a rapid grower during the summertime that’ll supply your garden with endless blooms.

The flowers range in color from white, pink, or purplish colors.

This is a vertical plant that can climb upwards of 10 feet and can be used as a decorative piece, a privacy plant, or harvested for culinary purposes.

Hyacinth bean vine is a poisonous plant

The hyacinth bean vine has an extremely appealing color with its dashing purple and pink hues.

This may make it hard to resist touching or handling.

However, the mature pea pod has poisonous cyanogenic glucoside which can cause a variety of potential side effects. This is NOT something to be taken lightly.

They require a specific prep process to be used.

Do NOT attempt to harvest, eat, or cultivate these pods without the help of a professional who knows what they’re doing.

The pea pods also release a noxious fume when being prepped, so this isn’t a good plant for someone who plans to eat the pods.

Keep children, pets, and people away from hyacinth bean pods.

This is not the plant you want to grow if you have loose dogs or kids running around.

How do you grow hyacinth bean vine?

Hyacinth bean vines planted outside.
These bean vines are no joke. (By Lorie Shaull, CC BY-SA 2.0.)

These plants produce some gorgeous, purple pea pods which last all summer long into mid-autumn and dazzles the untrained eye.

After all, how many people have actually seen a purple pod of peas?

These plants are something unique and they’re easy to cultivate, so they’re good for beginners- as long as you don’t interact with the mature pea pods.

Hardiness zones

Hyacinth bean vine grows best in hardiness zones 10-11 as a perennial plant.

This means the vines will come back year after year.

However, there’s a significant portion of gardeners that prefer to harvest this plant as an annual plant.

This means that they need to be replanted every year.

But given how easy it is to propagate and raise bean vine, it’s not hard to replant it with saved seeds.


Like most other vegetables, hyacinth bean vines prefer well-draining, organic soil.

The richer the soil is loaded with nutrients, the healthier your plant will be.

You’ll also help minimize the risk of diseases related to excess moisture, like root rot.

Add in some plant supplements or organic compost if you want to get the most from your bean vine.


They like full sun for the best growth.

Remember that this plant is a fast grower and will climb upwards of 10 feet on a sturdy plant support.

Giving them all day sunlight will help them supply you with those endless blooms all summer long.

You can use a trellis, fence, stake, or arbor to help them climb.


The Hyacinth bean plant is a hardy plant that tolerates temperatures as low as 50F.

If you live in an area where the nights aren’t freezing, you may be in a good area to grow it.

Again, the zones 10-11 are ideal for this legume.

Where to find seeds

Hyacinth bean vine seeds need to be purchased from the store or saved from a previous harvest.

This plant doesn’t work through cuttings or anything like that. You need to start from seed or buy a grown plant.

Bean vine can’t be divided to propagate. You can purchase seeds online or at your local nursery or hardware store.

Seeds come in a variety of different cultivars.

Some of the most popular ones are Silver Moon and Ruby Moon.

Silver Moon produces green pods and white flowers. Ruby Moon is the signature purple pod with pink flowers.

The seeds are pretty pricey depending on what variant and colors you want.

But think of it this way: Once you buy it once, you can harvest and save the seeds to plant it on your own next year.

When to plant

Start by sowing seeds indoors. Soak them for 8 hours overnight in tepid water to speed up germination.

The best time to plant is 30 days before your last frost date. The seeds will need good lighting all day long before transplanting.

The germination time is about 7-10 days, depending on your soil, temperature, and local conditions.

Seeds can also be sown outdoors after all threats of the last frost are clear.

When to transplant

You can transplant your sprouts after the last frost date when temperatures are stable above 50F.

The young plants don’t tolerate the cold too well, so be sure the climate is on the warmer side consistently.

Transplant when the plant is still young and manageable.

Where to plant

This is completely up to you. Hyacinth bean vine does best when it can climb up walls, fences, or trellises.

The plant will climb vertically if provided the chance, otherwise, it’ll go horizontally all over your garden.

Don’t do this unless you don’t have any other competing plants or you want the ground cover.

Or else you’ll be dealing with entangled legumes and veggies/fruits for days.

Hyacinth bean vine can be used as a privacy plant or decorative piece as well.

Or if you just want to harvest the beans for culinary purposes, put it wherever you want.

Note that the plant can climb up to 10 feet in the air, so you’ll want to provide ample vertical space.

You can use chicken wire or stakes to accomplish the same thing.

Making a vertical plant support DIY style is easy.

Younger seedlings will latch onto the first piece they can get.

If they’re grabbing the wrong surface, you can untangle them and wrap them around the right plant support.

Also, be sure the support can handle the weight of the bean vine.

Later on, you’ll have stems, leaves, flowers, and pods all on the same trellis. You can tie them using twine to keep them in place.


These are low maintenance plants, which is why they’re good for beginner gardeners who want to add some color to their yard.

All they need is a lot of full sunlight and regular watering.

Other than that, you’ll want to give them a scheduled pruning to keep them tidy.

Always wear proper protection when pruning or handling the plant because of the toxins.

Pod formation

Pods will start to show up little by little around 90 days after you plant.

Hyacinth bean vine is a fast-growing legume and will produce for you as long as you give it the right TLC.

Other than harvesting the legumes, you can also use it as a decorative plant as it’ll rapidly grow when the peak season is up.

Expect your plant to sprout with beans during the summer when temperatures jump up.

How and when to prune

Pruning should be done on a routine schedule throughout the summer.

This will keep your bean vine nicely kept and tidy to prevent bugs.

And so it’ll be pleasing to look at rather than an entanglement of vines and pea pods.

This will also help make the vines and beans fuller by regular pruning.

You can encourage branching out by pinching back the seedlings after the first set of true leaves show up.

When to cut back

Blooms will show up during late summer.

The flower production continues all summer until early autumn.

You’ll notice a considerably slower rate of development for the flower blooms.

This is a sign that the plant is losing vigor and you can start pruning or cutting back.

Prune down to just 6-8” of the soil. This will ensure the plant comes back for a second round with even MORE color than the first.

There’s a proper way to prune and you should follow it- trim the plant above the bud nodes and sanitize the pruner to reduce the risk of a plant virus or bacterium.

How to harvest hyacinth bean vine

Harvesting hyacinth vines are completely optional. If you want to use the legumes for food, go ahead and harvest.

You can also prep and save the seeds for the next growing season so you can grow more.

Or you can just let the plant be as is and enjoy the natural beauty of it all summer long. The choice is yours.

There are multiple parts of the plant that are edible, so you best not waste any part of it!

Note: Mature pea pods are poisonous and should NOT be harvested or cultivated without the help of a professional!


You can harvest the young leaves to be used in salads after steaming.

The leaves are no substitute for spinach but can be used in addition to so you can complete the meal.

They have a chewy and tough texture so don’t overdo it. You can also use the bean vine leaves for sautéing or curry.


The shoots that grow on the sides are also edible.

They can be culled from the plant after the first pair of true leaves sprout.

The shoots can be eaten raw (after cleaning properly) or steamed/grilled.

Add them to soups and salads for some extra greens.


The flowers of the hyacinth bean vine are edible, but you should only do this if you grew it organically.

If you use any kind of commercial spray, you should avoid eating the plant at all- especially the flowers.

You can use the flowers directly plucked from the stem as a topping for soups or salads.

They go bad quickly so only use them when you’re ready to consume them. Harvest the fully colored flowers for the best taste. 


People assume that the vines can’t be eaten, but they actually can.

Let them grow up to full size and you’ll have yourself a large vine to steam.

You can also bake the vines and eat them with dip. Wait until the end of the season for the best vine harvest as that’s when they reach peak size and taste.

Plus, harvesting the vines will kill the plant.

So you want to enjoy it until the very end of the growing season.


Do NOT eat mature hyacinth beans and pods.

They’re toxic and require a special process to prepare and consume, so avoid eating them without the help of a professional.

The younger pods can be harvested when the pea pods are plump and start to dry. You can use them as a decorative piece.

Tender pods that haven’t fully grown yet can be cooked and eaten just like green beans.

You’ll find that the flavor is much more powerful than the typical legume. The purple coloration also will fade when cooked over a stove.

Mature bods are toxic when raw. They need to be specially prepared before consumed.

Most people don’t know how to do this, so avoid doing so unless you’re skilled in the craft.

Consult an expert if you have no idea what you’re doing.

Shelled beans that have dried need to be prepared correctly as they pose a toxic risk. If you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t eat it.

How to propagate

The seeds can be kept for re-planting next year.

They can be harvested from dried seed pods and kept in a cool, dry mason jar until next year.

The pods will become noticeably bigger when the flower wilts. You can harvest the pods before the first frost. Use proper PPE during harvest.

After the winter, the process can be repeated with the newly stored seeds.

You can plant them for extra privacy or to enjoy another round of color next season.

Hyacinth bean vine pests

The most common pests you’ll find on bean vines are caterpillars, beetles, and skipper butterflies.

These pests will rarely do enough damage to an established, healthy plant.

But younger seedlings are subject to them and maybe killed or severely damaged in the wake of a hungry beetle.

Caterpillars will feed on the dense foliage produced by hyacinth bean vines, and you’ll want to start a natural home remedy to fend them off.

Hyacinth bean vine diseases

Hyacinth bean vines are susceptible to plant blight, which is caused by bacteria.


You can spot blight on your leaves.

They’ll look like small spots that are saturated with water that expand in size over time.

This is usually seen on the lower parts of the plant and can weaken the stem.

Blight can damage a plant if ignored. And it can even snap the plant when it’s weak enough due to heavy winds.

Blight can be controlled by using fungicides or insecticides.


Bean vines are also no stranger to fungus.

Fungal parasites can cause rust, which turns the leaves into a burned coloration.

Rust is a serious infection that can damage the plant’s leaves, shoots, and pea pods.

You’ll notice that the leaves of your plant start to wilt or have stunted growth.

Rust comes from a fungal parasite, which can stem from excess moisture. It can be handled by pruning damaged leaves and use a natural approach like neem oil.

Some fungicides also work against plant rust, such as copper-based sprays.

You can avoid rust and blight by keeping your plant well circulated. Keep it tidy and pruned.

Avoid water buildup and only use well-draining, quality soil.

Grow your bean vines in direct sun to help evaporate excess moisture and keep drainage ways clear.

Uses for hyacinth bean vine

The beginner gardener can benefit from this plant by simply enjoying the landscaping properties it offers.

The splash of color from the quick summertime blooms add a pleasant view to any garden. The shoots and leaves can be used for salads and soups.

And the vertical climbing ability can be utilized for a tall privacy plant that’s super low maintenance.

Plus, the seeds can be saved for next year if you’re in a colder climate for replanting.

Colder areas will kill the plant in the winter, so it’s more like an annual plant. Store the seeds after harvest and replant again for more color next year!

Hardiness zones 10-11 where the weather is always warm can enjoy the plant year after year, as it functions like a perennial in these zones.

Prune and cut the plant for the summer so it becomes even stronger next spring!

History of hyacinth bean vine

Hyacinth vines originated from Africa and India.

Many countries still cook and harvest these beans raw or steamed.

The beans can be used for a variety of things, such as making noodles or fermented foods.

The leaves of this plant also have a nice flavor to them which makes an excellent topping for pasta, curries, and more.

The plant itself is also nice to look at and is dense in foliage. This means some people use it for a decorative piece and don’t bother with the culinary side.

Some gardeners even use hyacinth bean vines as a privacy plant.

As you can see, there’s no limit to the multitude of uses this plant offers.

How fast does hyacinth bean vine grow?

Hyacinth bean vine is a rapid growth during the summertime.

When provided full sunlight and sufficient water with high-quality soil, you’ll find the legume growing all over your garden if a large, sturdy plant support isn’t provided.

It can expand horizontally as well as vertically.

A strong support needs to be provided so it can climb upwards to keep your garden tidy. The plant will quickly produce blooms and color all season long.

Provide at least 10 feet of vertical climbing space to maximize plant growth.

Is hyacinth bean vine a perennial?

The hyacinth bean vine is a perennial plant in zones 10-11.

It’s a heat-loving plant that will flourish all summer long in direct sunlight. If you’re in a cooler climate, the plant acts as an annual plant.

So it depends on where you live and your local climate.

Is hyacinth bean invasive?

This plant may get a bad rep because it’s a rapid grower.

If it’s not provided a vertical support to climb, it’ll grow horizontally throughout your garden.

During the summertime, the heat and longer photoperiods offer the bean vine super-fast growth. It may take over your yard if you don’t keep it tidy.

Even on tall support, it can climb upwards of 10 feet.

Thus, many untrained eyes may see the hyacinth bean vine as an invasive plant.

How many days to maturity?

The hyacinth bean vine matures in just about 90 days.

It’s a fast-growing legume and doesn’t require much maintenance to flourish.

How long does hyacinth beans take to germinate?

Germination takes anywhere from 7-20 days depending on local conditions. You’ll see the seeds sprout within 15 days on average.

Keep temperatures around 70F and plant them 2” deep with a spacing of at least 4 feet.

Is hyacinth bean vine poisonous to dogs?

Yes, the hyacinth bean vine pods are toxic to dogs.

The toxins are most concentrated in the pods of the plant. Never let your dogs loose around this plant.

The same goes for your family and other people.

Hyacinth contains allergens and should be monitored at all times.

Now go plant some hyacinths!

A hyacinth bean vine plant crawling on a fence in the yard.
This can be yours. (By Cynthia Crane, CC BY 2.0.)

You now know all the basics to care for this bean plant.

Now go forth and get some seeds and start sowing for next season! Enjoy colorful blooms of white or purple with those crazy purple pea pods.

What do you think? Will you planting this legume next season? Do you have any tips?

Let us know in the comments section below. Enjoy your blooms!

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