Growing and Saving the Seed Of Winged Beans


Latin name Psophocarpus tetragonolobus is a tropical, perennial climbing legume. A very frost-sensitive plant, winged bean is typically grown as an annual north of USDA zone 10. The twining habit and pretty periwinkle blooms make this a beautiful edible ornamental. The pods are winged with four flat sides, making them unique in appearance. When cut crosswise, the beans make a pretty star shape. In areas with very long summers, they will produce a tuberous root. All parts of this nutrient-rich plant are edible. Winged beans are native to equatorial locations and typically will take a long time to bear pods when grown in northern gardens. We offer a daylength-neutral variety that ensures early and prolific blooming, even in northern gardens.


 

HISTORY

Most likely originated in New Guinea. Popular in South and Southeast Asian countries as well as in Africa. Considered a useful food plant for the future as it has myriad edible uses.

USES

  • Ornamental and edible
  • You can pick and eat the flowers raw or cooked.
  • Pluck pods when young and immature (less than 6 inches long); they are delicious sauteed.
  • Dried peas from mature pods are also edible when cooked.
  • Only certain varieties have an edible tuber, so it is best to research tubers before eating.

 

 


 

  • To speed germination, nick the seeds and soak them in water overnight.
  • Direct sow seeds after all chance of frost has passed and soil has reliably warmed or start indoors are carefully transplant out.
  • Sow seeds 1 inch deep.
  • Sow seeds 3-6 inches apart; final spacing should be 6 inches apart.
  • Ideal germination temperature is 75-95 F.
  • Seeds germinate in 7-14 days.

 

  • Plants prefer full sun and require warm temperatures to thrive.
  • Provide a trellis, fence or other structure for this pole bean to climb.
  • Thrives in heat and humidity but is not drought tolerant and needs consistent water.
  • It grows well in a range of soils, though it does not like very saline or highly sandy soils.

PESTS/SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

  • A relatively pest- and disease- free plant.

 

  • Self pollinating; will not cross with other legumes.
  • Saving seeds is easy. Allow pods to fully dry and mature before plucking seeds and then store them in a cool, dark, dry place.