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How to Grow a Hyacinth Bean Vine

By Michelle Wishhart
The vines of the hyacinth bean plant.
gee1999/iStock/Getty Images

With its fragrant lavender blooms, purplish leaves and fast, sprawling growth habit, hyacinth bean vine (Lablab purpureus) is a striking ornamental that can quickly provide a bold splash of summer color. When planted in a suitable site, the vine requires minimal maintenance and care to provide an abundance of its signature pea-like flowers.

Choose Sunny Site

A native of tropical Africa, hyacinth bean vine is a frost tender perennial that will survive winters in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11. In all other zones, the vine may be grown as an annual. Hyacinth bean vine needs full sunlight to thrive. Capable of growing up to 15 feet long, hyacinth bean vine also requires a sturdy structure such as an arbor, fence or trellis to support its bulk. If growing multiple vines, provide at least 12 inches of space between plants.

Plant in Well-Draining Soil

Hyacinth bean vine is not picky about soil and will tolerate dry, poor soils so long as adequate drainage exists. Best growth will occur in a rich soil enhanced with organic matter with a pH between 5.5 and 6. Though drought-tolerant, the vine can benefit from regular irrigation during warm, dry periods. Water when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. If the vine is grown in a greenhouse, the Royal Horticultural Society recommends misting the plant with water daily to raise humidity levels. Plants being overwintered in a greenhouse should be transitioned gently to the garden by being stored outside in a protected, sunny area for a few days.

Fertilize to Help Flowers

To aid flowering, fertilize every two weeks during the growing season with a potassium-based fertilizer such as a 0-0-25 fertilizer. Using a hand sprayer, apply 3 to 8 ounces of fertilizer per 1,000 square feet, covering foliage evenly. Fertilizer may be applied mixed with water. Wear protective clothing such as rubber gloves, long sleeves and pants when spraying the fertilizer.

Check for Beetles

Although insects generally don't cause serious problems for the vine, Japanese beetles can cause unattractive feeding damage on its foliage. Gardeners can easily identify Japanese beetles, a type of scarab beetle, by their metallic green and copper coloring. Throughout the growing season, handpick beetles and drown them in soapy water. You can also hang bait traps at least 50 feet away from the vine to capture and kill beetles. Traps must be emptied regularly to be effective as they may attract more beetles when poorly maintained.

 

About the Author

 

Michelle Wishhart is a writer based in Portland, Ore. She has been writing professionally since 2005, starting with her position as a staff arts writer for City on a Hill Press, an alternative weekly newspaper in Santa Cruz, Calif. An avid gardener, Wishhart worked as a Wholesale Nursery Grower at Encinal Nursery for two years. Wishhart holds a Bachelor of Arts in fine arts and English literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz.