The hyacinth bean vine, also known as Lablab purpureus, is a stunning tender perennial that has a multitude of uses. The plant has been around for quite some time and has been used for eating, decoration, livestock feed, and even medicinal purposes!
The hyacinth bean vine grows quickly, and prefers growing in tropical regions. Beautiful white, purple, and even pink flowers along with a large canopy of leaves make this plant an attractive addition to your garden.
The hyacinth bean vine has been around for thousands of years, and today there are many cultivars commonly found and grown all over the world. Keep reading to learn about the different cultivars of the hyacinth bean, as well as the plant’s history!
History of the Hyacinth Bean Vine
Although the official origins of the hyacinth bean vine are uncertain, it is widely believed that this plant originated in Eastern or Southern Africa. Some accounts even report the hyacinth bean vine growing in India as early as 2000 BC.
The plant is commonly featured in many Asian and African dishes. Typical uses for the hyacinth bean vine include Indian curries, Vietnamese soups, and a Kenyan dish that involves blending the beans with sweet bananas.
However, if you are looking to cook with the hyacinth bean vine, take precautions. It’s important to note that the mature dried beans are toxic without proper preparation. High levels of cyanogenic glucosides can cause severe illness in both people and animals.
To rid the hyacinth bean vine of its toxins, the mature beans must be soaked and boiled for a considerable time, with the water being changed at least twice. An undesirable odor may be present while cooking the beans.
Always err on the side of caution when consuming the hyacinth bean vine. It’s best to use the hyacinth bean vine for decor rather than eating. Immature shoots and other parts of the plant such as the flowers and leaves are a safe and edible option.
Varieties of Hyacinth Beans
Now let’s go over some popular varieties of hyacinth beans you can grow at home.
The Ruby Moon Hyacinth Bean is a tender perennial, meaning that it will return annually in warmer winter climates. This variety showcases beautiful magenta bean pods that grow to be between two to four inches. Quaint one to two-inch pink flowers decorate the plant, which make for a stunning garden addition.
This is a low-maintenance plant, and one of the more popular varieties of the hyacinth bean vine. Mature plants can grow up to 10 to 20 feet, and are easily trainable with the help of a trellis.
Baby plants may seem to take a while to flourish, but growth will soon become vigorous and impressive. Ruby Moons prefer full sun, average watering, and are even drought tolerant.
If you’d like to have one of these lovely plants to call your own, check out these Ruby Moon Hyacinth Bean Seeds from Botanical Interests! For a more in-depth look at this variety, check out our post on Ruby Moon Hyacinth Beans here.
The Purple Moon Hyacinth Bean is an heirloom variety known for its curvy, flat, yet thick reddish-purple bean pods. This plant offers lovely lavender flowers which stand out against the dark green vines and leaves.
This variety matures very quickly, needing only 90 days until they’re ready for harvest. Purple Moon beans are usually grown as an annual plant.
Once established, Purple Moons only need to be watered about once a week. Don’t let your soil dry out completely, but know that the plant is very tolerant of drought and prefers less-moist soil.
This variety averages about 6 to 10 feet, but could sprout vines up to 20 feet in ideal conditions. Using a trellis gives your hyacinth bean vine the support it needs to thrive.
To add this plant to your garden, check out these Purple Moon Hyacinth Bean Seeds from True Leaf Market! For even more information on Purple Moon Hyacinth Beans, check out our blog post here!
The Silver Moon hyacinth bean vine showcases flat, silvery-green bean pods that are about three inches long and are a standout feature of the vine. Fragrant white flowers compliment the green stems and leaves, giving this plant a very elegant feel when added to a garden.
This popular variety is a vigorous grower and will have no problem towering over a 20-foot-tall trellis. Thriving in full sun, the Silver Moon variety is great for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds.
To get started with your Silver Moon Hyacinth, order seeds from Amazon.
Similar to the Purple Moon variety, the pods of the Akhana Fujimame are flat, thick, and curvy. The pods are light green surrounded by dark green leaves, with magenta flowers sprinkled throughout the plant.
This hyacinth bean vine variety is commonly grown in parts of South Asia and China. Like other varieties, training vigorous vines with a trellis is the best way to support growth.
Bean pods will reach maturity between 90 to 100 days. Check out these Akhana Fujimame Seeds from True Leaf Market to get started with your own plant!
Highworth and Rongai
These two less-common varieties of the hyacinth bean vine are considered to be forage legumes, often grown as crops for feeding livestock.
The Highworth variety comes from Southern India, boasting purple flowers and black seeds. The Rongai hyacinth bean vine originated in Kenya, and displays white flowers and light brown seeds.
Highworth vines mature quickly, developing flowers must faster than the late-maturing Rongai vines.
Because they’re not common varieties, Highworth and Rongai hyacinth bean seeds are tricky to come by. We recommend checking the beans seed inventory at Hoss Tools to see if they add hyacinth beans to their selection.
A Hyacinth Bean Vine Wonderland
With several varieties that each have something wonderful to offer gardeners, the hyacinth bean vine is a plant worth considering in your spring planting lineup. Whether using the plant as an ornamental vine or experimenting with it in your kitchen, the hyacinth bean vine is sure to be a focal point in your garden.
Curious about other bean varieties? Check out our Bean Plants page for all our blog posts, as well as lots of helpful growing and care guides!