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How to Grow Mucuna Pruriens

Mucuna Pruriens is more commonly known as the Velvet Bean. This annual legume originated in China where it was once grown as a vegetable crop. It’s easy to grow and shows long bunches of purple flowers on each branch of the vine. The plant contains the compound L-Dopa, which has medicinal purposes but is also toxic and causes confusion and stomach problems in most people. Other common forms of Mucuna Pruriens are known as Cowage or Cowitch. These forms have long stinging hairs on the plant, that when touched release a toxin that causes extreme itching. Velvet Bean is known as the none stinging variety.

Dig out an area 4 inches by 4 inches per each plant you want to grow. Mix the dug out soil with 1 part compost to 1 part soil and replace in the hole. Planting should be in spring and in a full sun location in zones 7 or warmer.

Plant seeds 1 inch deep in the amended soil. If growing on a trellis, install it now so you won't disturb or damage the roots once they start growing.

Water well immediately after planting and then water to keep the soil moist. If the top of the soil feels dry, it's time to water.

Mulch around the seedling when it comes up, keeping the mulch one inch away from the seedling to give it room to thicken. This will keep the soil moist and at a consistent temperature.

Help the vine start to climb the fence or trellis by gently twirling it around the first level it can reach. It will climb the rest by itself. Wear gardening gloves when handling the seedling, or it can cause an allergic reaction to your skin.

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