Hairypod cowpea, or vigna luteola, grows freely along the southern coastal regions of the United States. It is considered a pasture plant and can be extremely fast growing. It grows as a creeping or scrambling vine with small yellow flowers. It provides grazing food for deer, attracts butterflies and is very desirable to caterpillars and bean flies. Plant cowpea in an area away from your garden in order to keep it from taking over or attracting pests.
Obtain cowpea seeds from your local garden center or supplier. Purchase your seeds after the last frost. However, if you can find a cutting or existing plant, use that instead. As cowpea is considered a weed in some areas, you will have better luck finding seeds. Buy at least 20 to 30 seeds to ensure growth.
Distribute your seeds evenly over soil in a potting container. Use potting soil in the container or any soil that is moist and well-draining. Lay your seeds over the top and cover them sparsely with soil. Place the container outdoors in full sun and water thoroughly.
Keep the soil moist and wait for sprouts. When sprouts arrive, allow them to grow in the container for 1 to 2 weeks, then transplant them to their permanent location.
Find the location for your plants. Cowpea grows best in moist areas with low or moderate light. Deer love to eat cowpea, so you may want to grow it closer to your home in a wildflower garden.
Pull your plants up at the roots and measure the root's length. Dig a hole so that the plants are planted no deeper than their previous position. Water the hole, allow the soil to settle and gently set your plants into the ground. Backfill with the original soil and water the plant again. Allow the soil to settle and re-fill any holes or exposed roots near the plant.
Keep your cowpea moist at all times. Cowpea is known to be extremely hardy to floods, but not as hardy to droughts. More water is always better for this plant.
Monitor your cowpea for pests. Caterpillars like to munch on the plant so watch out for them at all times. Certain herbicides can be used on the plant, however, herbicides will rarely kill off the pest and can harm the plant. It is best to manually pick off any caterpillars seen on the plant.