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LABLAB purpureus

Image of Lablab purpureus

Felder Rushing

Family

Fabaceae

Botanical Name

LABLAB purpureus

Plant Common Name

Hyacinth Bean

General Description

What an outstanding ornamental vine for heat! Hyacinth bean is a long, vigorous, twining vine with brilliant purple stems, greenish purple trifoliate (three-parted) leaves and clusters of rosy purple, pea-like flowers. It will bloom from summer to fall, as long as temperatures stay warm, and is very drought tolerant. Where native in Sub-Saharan Africa, it survives as a short-lived perennial but most gardeners grow it as an annual.

In just a single season, hyacinth bean can grow up to 20 feet (6 meters). Its long, twining stems become lined with exotic, three-parted leaves of dark purple-green. Showy blooms appear by midsummer and will continue into fall. The pea-like blooms are borne in elongated clusters and are typically rosy purple, though white cultivars are also available. Once pollinated by bees, flattened, magenta-purple bean pods with a velvety texture appear. These are very beautiful until they dry to brown. The seeds inside are black, and must be boiled to remove toxins before consumption, so it is not advisable to eat them.

Grow hyacinth bean in full, hot sun and average garden soil that's well-drained with average moisture. Established specimens will tolerate considerable drought. If its vigorous stems begin to overtake an area, they can be pruned back to maintain manageability. Plant as a screening vine for fences or trellises. The pretty cultivar, 'Ruby Moon', is a choice selection with particularly vibrant violet-purple foliage, stems, flowers and fruit.

Plants tend to self-sow. In fact, hyacinth bean is known to be invasive in tropical and subtropical parts of the world, including southern Florida and Hawaii.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Vine/Liana

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    6'-30' / 1.8m - 9.1m

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Eastern Africa, Middle Africa

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Very Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Vining/Climbing

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Purple, Rose, Violet

  • Fruit Color

    Purple, Magenta, Black

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Purple, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Purple, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Purple, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Purple, Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Mixed Border, Tropical, Vine

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes