Easy to grow and lovely to look at, the hyacinth bean vine is prized for its fast growth and lovely purple flowers, which appear all summer long and through the fall, often attracting hummingbirds. Before planting, you'll need to consider a few things, ranging from where you will plant your hyacinth to how you will fertilize it and if you have enough room to accommdate its sprawling growth. Here are a few pointers for growing this carefree plant.
Choose your planting spot carefully. Make sure there is plenty of sun and plenty of room, as hyacinth bean vines grow very large, very quickly. In fact, they are sometimes called "Jack bean vines" after the fairy tale of Jack and the Beanstalk, in which a magical bean grows a vine up into the clouds. A large trellis or a fence in a sunny spot is ideal.
The seeds are quite large and very hard. Soak them in water overnight before planting for faster germination. Plant the seeds directly into the ground, about one inch deep, once the danger of frost has passed. You may also start them indoors six to eight weeks early, then transplant the seedlings into the ground once there is no chance of frost.
Give planted seeds and seedlings plenty of water. This vine likes moist soil with good drainage, but its roots may rot in soggy soil. If flowers are sparse or fail to appear, your vine most likely needs either more sun or less nitrogen.
The hyacinth bean vine grows quite large and can quickly cover a trellis or fence. It is a twining vine, and its first few shoots may need a little help grabbing the trellis. Gently weave them among the trellis branches, and the vine will take it from there. Although it may seem as if it is about to take over your garden, it dies quickly with the first frost. Frost kills the vine, making it brittle and woody, allowing you to remove it easily and completely. It will not cling permanently or damage your trellis, fence or walls.
If you play your cards right, you need to purchase a hyacinth bean vine only once. It is a prolific producer of seeds, which you can save and plant the following spring, year after year. For best results, leave the pods on the vine until they have dried and turned a silvery gray. Be sure to collect them before the first frost or freeze. Remove the dried outer pods and store the seeds indoors in a cool, dark, dry place until you are ready to plant them. The vine produces enough beans for you to share with friends and neighbors. Chances are, they have been admiring your striking plants and would love some of their own. Collect a fresh crop of seeds each year.
If your home has a large expanse of plain wall, liven it up with this pretty plant. Use the tallest, sturdiest trellis you can find. Or, have a vine race. Attach several lengths of sturdy twine from the top of the house and run them down to the ground. Plant a hyacinth bean vine at the base of each string, and see which one grows the tallest the quickest.
If you have large, sunny spot, grow your kids a teepee. Make a teepee-shaped trellis out of long, sturdy wooden stakes, secure it to the ground, and plant a hyacinth bean vine seed at the base of each stake. The teepee will soon become a cozy cavern covered in lush leaves and flowers.