Growing and Saving the Seeds Of Hyacinth Bean

Latin name Lablab purpureus is a tropical perennial that is often grown as an annual in cooler climates. A vining member of the legume, or bean, family, this deeply dramatic ornamental is amazing in the landscape and has gained popularity as a cut flower for both its fragrant blooms and its brilliant purple pods. While the pods are commonly cooked and eaten in many tropical countries, please note that the dried mature seeds are posionous to humans when consumed in large quantities. Mature dried seeds contain cyanogenic glycoside and can be mildly to moderately toxic if eaten. Never eat the dry seeds and consume only the young pods if cooked. Please do your research before consuming and proceed with caution.



Native to Southeast Asia and introduced to tropical Africa and other parts of Asia. A popular food plant in India and Africa, hyacinth bean is a newly emerging favorite among fine gardeners, cut flower farmers and florists as a reliable and beautiful ornamental. A popular nitrogen-fixing cover crop, it is often planted in rotation after rice cultivation to replenish soil nutrition.


  • Ornamental
  • Cut flower production
  • Cover crop
  • Young pods can be eaten cooked, but the dried mature seeds are poisonous!




  • Direct sow seeds after all chance of frost has passed, or start indoors 2-4 weeks before last frost date and transplant seedlings out after all chance of frost has passed.
  • Do not soak seeds before sprouting, as they are susceptible to rotting in overly wet conditions.
  • Ideal germination temperature is 70-80 F.
  • Sow seeds 1 inch deep.
  • Space seeds 3 inches apart, and thin to 6-10 inches apart.
  • Seeds germinate in 5-8 days.


  • Plants have a vining habit and grow well up a fence or trellis.
  • Prefers full sun.
  • Provide loose, well-drained soil.
  • Drainage is key. Hyacinth bean will not tolerate wet feet or standing water. They do, however, like consistent watering. Just be sure the water drains well; sandy soil is great.


  • Relatively pest and disease free; just be sure to avoid overwatering/standing water as they will develop rot issues.
  • A shady growing location will make hyacinth bean more susceptible to fungal disease, so full sun and good airflow is best.


  • Will not cross with other legumes.
  • Self-pollinating.
  • To save seed, allow pods to yellow and dry on plant, pick seeds, remove from shell, and dry for 1 week in a warm, dry location.
  • Seeds are mature and ready to store when hard and cannot be dented with a fingernail.
  • Store in a cool, dark, dry location.