Hyacinth bean vine is a plant that always turns heads. The purplish-pink blossoms and burgundy, heart-shaped foliage of this vigorous grower piques the curiosity and inspires comments from all who see it. I first discovered hyacinth bean vine at the Thomas Jefferson Historic Plants Center. Touted as a popular plant in Mr. Jefferson’s time, it fit with my interest in 18th and 19th century gardens and plants. This along with its beauty and ease of care made it a must-have for my garden. In late summer the vine sets purple seedpods that hang in clusters. This fruit-of-the-vine is as striking as the blooms and fun in flower arrangements. The pods are the same claret color of the stems and their smooth shells are so polished, they glisten in the sunlight.
This plant is a natural for beginners because the chances of its success are almost assured. Seed sown directly in warm soil after the last frost date will reach great heights of beauty in a one growing season. All this plant needs is full sun, consistent moisture and the support of a trellis, fence rail or arbor. As an added bonus the seeds can be saved for planting the following year. Allow the pods to dry on the vine and harvest them in late fall, before the first hard freeze. Store is a cool, dry location until next spring.