How to Grow American Hogpeanut

The flowers of the American hogpeanut are light purple; pods contain the legumes. image by USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database/Plants.usda.gov, Tracey Slotta/Plants.usda.gov

Overview

An annual vine, the American hogpeanut---Amphicarpaea bracteata (L.) Fernald--- also goes by the names "wild peanut" or "hog peanut," spelled as one word or two. Native Americans used the root and seed for food and a variety of medicines. Depending on the variety, the stems may be hairy or hairless, and climb by coiling around supports. The plant reproduces two ways, some light-purple flowers opening for pollination, while others stay closed and self-pollinate. A member of the bean family, hogpeanut creates two kinds of legume-containing seed pods, one below-ground, the other, above-ground. The plant isn't prone to pests.

Sowing

Step 1

Choose your permanent location. The area must have moist, humus-rich soil, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, and a semi-shaded spot.

Step 2

Soak seeds in warm water for 12 hours.

Step 3

Sow seeds directly into the ground in the spring. Plant about two feet (60 centimeters) apart at a depth of about 2 inches (5 centimeters).

Step 4

Firm the soil atop the seeds.

Step 5

Water and then keep the soil moist, but not soggy.

Care

Step 1

Water regularly.

Step 2

Collect seeds, if desired, from pods that have dried on the plant.

Step 3

Watch for new plants in following growing seasons, because in the good conditions, hogpeanut will self-seed.

Greenhouse Growing

Step 1

Sow seeds in a greenhouse as an alternative, in addition to or instead of outside. Choose a partially shaded location.

Step 2

Water, and keep the soil from drying out.

Step 3

Place healthy seedlings in individual pots.

Step 4

Over-winter in the greenhouse.

Step 5

Transplant outdoors in spring about 2 feet (60 centimeters) apart.

Things You'll Need

  • Seeds
  • Hand spade or trowel
  • Greenhouse (optional)
  • Humus-rich soil (optional)
  • Pots (optional)

References

  • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Plant Guide
  • USDAA Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Plants for a Future
Keywords: American hogpeanut, wild peanut, Amphicarpaea bracteata

About this Author

Sophie Johnson is a freelance writer and editor of both print and film media. A freelancer for more than 20 years, Johnson has had the opportunity to cover topics ranging from construction to music to celebrity interviews.

Photo by: USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database/Plants.usda.gov, Tracey Slotta/Plants.usda.gov