The Q&A Archives: Hyacinth Beans

Question: In late spring I planted four hyacinth beans. They have now covered an entire front wall of my house and are at least 12 feet high. I haven't trimmed them for fear of losing blossoms and I would really like to see some of the beans. I had no idea they would get so crazy. I feel like Jack and the Beanstalk! They might not have looked so bad if I had planted them on a back fence instead of the front of the house. I live in Georgia and the hyacinth bean vines look exactly like Kudzu. I have already been advised by some well-meaning neighbors that I had better get all that Kudzu off my house. I would really like to pull it all down but I keep thinking that any day it might flower and produce beans and I'll miss it. Do you think it will bloom soon or do you think I should get rid of it? PS, we can still get our cars out of the garage but the overall look is pretty wild!

Answer: Hyacinth bean (Dolichos lablab) can grow to 30' high in a single season. It's generally treated as an annual plant, but if your winters are mild, the stems will become woody and new leaves will sprout the following year. It does not have the bad habits of kudzu, even though it appears to be similarly vigorous. If planted in a sunny location you should expect flowers and beans in the mid-summer. I'd leave it in place - at least until the fall months, just to see the flowers and beans it will produce.

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