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17.11.10

How to Collect Hyacinth Bean Vine Seeds

If you’re looking for a quick-growing annual vine that will cover a fence or garden trellis you would be hard-pressed to find a better one than the hyacinth bean vine. Purple hyacinth bean vine leaves are attractive and heart-shaped, pink-purple blooms and produce leathery purple seed pods that provide interest long after the blooms have faded.  A member of the Fabaceae family this ornamental vine is a relative of beans and peas and makes an attractive addition to vegetable and ornamental gardens. Easy to start from seed, hyacinth bean vine seeds are easy to collect at the end of the growing season.
Hyacinth bean vine flower


Unlike with some other vines, hyacinth bean plants produce clusters of blooms that grow up and away from the foliage. This allows you to enjoy the flowers that attract pollinators like bees to garden.


Hyacinth bean vine picture of a single bloom. See the resemblance of hyacinth bean vine to the blooms of peas and beans?


After the blooms have been pollinated the hyacinth bean plants produce wonderful shiny seed pods that look like they’re made from patent leather. The 3-5 inch long pods bounce in the wind resembling wind chimes and baby mobiles. During the growing season make sure to water generously to produce seeds and pods. My vines that received less water produce small pods with about one seed per pod.

Immature purple hyacinth bean vine seed pod

Several parts of the hyacinth bean vine are edible, although I’ve read they aren’t very tasty. The blooms can be eaten at any time, but the hyacinth bean pods are tough when they mature andare eaten when young and tender. Mature hyacinth bean vine seeds are supposedly poisonous once they’re old enough to have dark coloring. The green seeds indicate this pod was not yet mature when I split it open for this picture.

hyacinth bean vine seeds

To assure that collected hyacinth bean seeds are mature and ready to be saved for next year wait until the pods dry out and begin to shrivel. This particular pod would have benefited from being left on the vine a few more days, but the seeds look like they matured enough that I can safely save them for next year. The sprays of blooms were very tempting to people walking past the fence I grew my hyacinth bean vine on, the quirky seed pods even more. Out of dozens of seed pods that were growing along my fence only a few managed to make it to maturity. Most fell victim to kids who couldn’t help but reach out and yank a pod or two that was dangling over head as they walked along the sidewalk.

 Hyacinth bean vine flowers

Two years ago I spotted clusters of hyacinth bean vine pods hanging from the edges of containers at the end of the growing season at a garden center.  Inspired I grew some the same way, but quickly learned that the vines would climb over the plants they were planted alongside. I added bamboo stakes to the containers to allow the hyacinth bean vines to grow to their potential of 8-10 feet tall. Vines that were watered the most produced more (and longer) seed pods and developed more seeds per pod. All of the hyacinth bean vine seeds I grew were grown in full sun and they tolerated it well, showing minimal wilting on days they dried out.  If you grow hyacinth bean vines it’s a good idea to start them early indoors and let the seedlings mature into plants before setting them out in the garden. Small hyacinth bean seedlings quickly become lunch for snails, slugs or earwigs. This year’s batch of hyacinth bean seeds came from Renee’s Garden.

28 comments:

  1. Between the purpleblooms and the awesome darker pods...this thing is so attractive and fun! I may have to try it. It would probably grow well here this time of year. I have a little 3 ft. section of chain link fence that is begging to have some growing on it!!! Thanks for showing Mr. BT!

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  2. Magnificent photographs!

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  3. I love this vine and your beautiful photos make it all the more enticing! Great advice . . . thank you! ;>)

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  4. I really tried to grow this vine last spring, but the rabbits ate it to the ground andit never came back. I will try it again with some chicken wire protection.

    Eileen

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  5. @Julie, Try one of the scarlet runner beans as a companion along with this one to really cover the fence.

    @katie, Thanks high praise coming from you, love your pics.

    @Carol, Ditto what I said to Katie.

    @Gatsby, You could also try it in some containers if you don't want to go the chicken wire route.

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  6. Really good reading here at your blog, including this particular post. I'm coming back for more soon!

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  7. Beautiful blooms and seed pods! I can see why the kids were tempted to pick them. Maybe you've inspired some youngster to start a garden of his or her own. I might try some ornamental vines this time of year too. Late last spring, I sowed some scarlet runner beans, but something ate the tender plants. The critters (except maybe the rabbits) aren't such a problem this time of year. If I plant them against the south wall of the house, which is brick, the residual warmth should protect them from frost.

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  8. I love hyacinth bean vines, though I don't have quite enough sun for them. The seeds are awesome; I love the lighter color edges and they're so easy to handle. Noogie!

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  9. Anonymous1:11 PM

    After my daughter in law gave me some of these seeds I'm hooked. Still waiting for flowers to form. I plan to use along a fence on the side of my yard for privacy. Two seeds came up and grew like mad and did very well. Several other seeds I planted in another area came up but not until one and a half months later.Too funny... It's a great plant for my yard and will enjoy planting it for years to come.

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  10. Hi, I grew the hyacinth bean vine for the first time this season, I now love it and will recommend others to grow and save their seed.. Very easy to grow!

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  11. Anonymous8:26 PM

    we are expecting a lite frost but my pods arnt dry yet what should i do

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  12. I collected some pods from a place I visited near Atlanta, toted them home in my purse and there they stayed for longer than I care to admit. I did end up planting them at my home in Texas the following spring. I nicked the seeds and soaked them in water in a small dish (as I do for Morning Glories) and then planted them after they started to sprout in two locations in my yard. The shadier spot didn't fare so well but on the sunny side of the fence, it took off like crazy. I enjoyed hummingbirds, bees and butterflies for weeks. Can't wait to plant again next year.

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  13. @Anonymous, You can collect them after the frost. I've collected a few of mine since we've had frost and they don't seem to be adversly affected.

    @Pamela, Sounds awesome. Mine haven't attracted as many butterflies, but the bees so love them.

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  14. Isledeclare1:02 PM

    I just found out what this was after being given some seeds in Indiana. I take the seeds off after they dry, open them and put the seeds in a baggy or envelope to share with friends. I planted them here in TX where I moved last year and they have done beautifully. I didn't soak or slit. I have them in a pot on the west wall of our condo. I let the plant dry out, cut it down to right above the stalk in the pot and it is growing great again. Didn't have to replant the seeds. I love this Hyacinth Bean.

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  15. Anonymous1:54 PM

    help, help....I got seed pods from Graceland a some years ago...kids were pulling seed pods off vine before a gaurd shooed them away. I told the gaurd that it was a shame that the groundskeepers would just probably sweep the fallen pods up and trash them...Poor Gladys (who brought the plant to the grounds) would just roll in her grave...you know how we southern women like to share plants...well, gaurd reminded me to tie my shoe before I proceeded on the tour...I WAS WEARING BLUE SUEDE LOAFERS... so I picked up a few pods, smiled at the gaurd, and brought home my treasure. They grew wonderfully in St Louis area, and I shared many seeds with Elvis fans on many sites....but now, I've been sidelined for 2 years from the garden (back surgeries) and lost all viable plants and helpful friends who were not gardeners did not know to save seeds. (my fault; hard to hit every detail when you are just so grateful for the friends' help in general)...anyway....am hoping someone has seeds to share for this endearing plant as I try to renew and grow anew these fascinations in my garden. Hummingbirds love this plant, and I'd sit on the porch, unable to do much else that first year after surgery in late fall, and hummingbirds would fly from the vine to my red fingernails....I could feel their wings flutter, and I'd think..."so tiny, so resiliant....surely a creature such as I can endure if those little darlings can".....I'm on my feet, doing a large bit of my own gardening, growing in the sunshine myself, and would love to have opportunity to grow more Ruby Moon Flower Vines, like the ones Elvis and family enjoyed by the pool at Graceland, and the critters and I enjoyed here in Mississippi and Missouri river valleys. thanks

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    1. Anonymous10:13 AM

      If you live in St. Louis, you can pick up a pack of these seeds at the MO Botanical Gardens. That's where I found mine last year. I harvested the beans and planted them again this spring. They're now climbing up the trellises. Am looking forward to the beautiful flowers and pods.

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  16. Anonymous2:46 PM

    I got online because I gave my neighbor some seeds that a really old lady had given me 5 years ago. There were two different kinds. Some turned out to be Castor Bean seeds, which we recognized, but when this beautiful vine began growing, flowering and finally producing bean pods, we were really interested in finding out what it was. Thank you for your information. Our vine has been covered with beautiful pink flowers and has produced heavy clumps of purple bean pods. We plan on planting many of the beans next spring.

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  17. Anonymous6:49 PM

    I've collected my pods, but do I go ahead and take the seeds out and then just leave them in a bag until spring? Not sure what to do with them after picking the pods. Help please.

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    1. Take the hyacinth beans out of the pods and set them on a paper plate to dry for two weeks and then store your seeds for next year.

      http://mrbrownthumb.blogspot.com/2010/11/how-to-store-seeds-you-saved-from-your.html

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  18. Anonymous2:44 PM

    I have just collected the pods from my Hyacinth Bean vine...which I LOVE!!!! I have some seeds that are very dark and hard...others that are brown or green and not hard. Which are better to keep...also since they are different sizes, should I keep the medium/large ones only.

    I would love to give them as gifts to my friends for Christmas.

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    1. The size of the beans doesn't really matter too much. But don't keep the green seeds as those are not mature enough to germinate. The brown ones could be hit or miss, the ones in the picture above were not all that dark, but they germinated fine for me.

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  19. Anonymous6:52 PM

    I grew these two years ago and really liked them so I saved the seeds but forgot to plant them last year. Do you think they will grow this year if I plant them?

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  20. I was just gifted some seeds. Do I need to soak them overnight before planting them?

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  21. Anonymous11:20 AM

    I have grown hyacinth bean vines on trellises for past two years with great results, except that deer eat the leaves for as high up as they can reach. Have tried different repellants but with very poor results.

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  22. Anonymous11:23 PM

    Thank you for all the information on the vine. My grandma had given me some seed last year and I planted it this year and it grew like crazy. I am excited about next year already. I am going ahead and getting ready to cut mine back for the year because I think it will make some really good wreaths. I recommend this vine for everyone's yard.

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  23. Anonymous6:19 PM

    No. We plant the seeds in the ground where we want them to grow and water water water! We planted three different groups this summer and they were incredible. An arch is a great place to plant them. We put seeds on each side and they met and made a beautiful display. We planted them in early spring. Had lots of seeds to give to family and friends.

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  24. Anonymous1:21 PM

    Purchased a small plant from farmers market this spring. Love it! Very pretty! Liked how the flowers reached out from the plant. So did the hummers! Your article helped me thank you very much! I plan on growing them for next year. You answered my question on the seeds, appreciate the great pictures as well! They help very much! Thank you! M Nass

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