Guide to Growing Hyacinth Bean, Sarawak Bean and Lablab

Dolichos are half hardy perennials that are usually grown as half hardy annuals in the garden.

They are shrubby climbers that may reach 9 metres in height.

Dolichos blooms with pea like flowers of purple, yellow or white from summer until the first frost of winter.

Common names for Dolichos include Hyacinth bean, Lablab, Bonavist and Sarawak bean.

Hyacinth bean

Dolichos lablab
Both pictures Dolichos lablab - Hyacinth bean, and close up of pods by Bcballard

Quick Dolichos Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Hyacinth Bean, Lablab, Sarawak Bean, Seim Bean, Indian Bean, Dolichos Bean, Itab.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial usually grown as a hardy annual by gardeners. Hardy biennial.
Height: 360 inches (900 cm).
Native: Tropical regions; Borneo.
Growing Region: Zones 3 to 10. As a perennial in zones 9 and 10.
Flowers: Summer to the first frost.
Flower Details: Purple, white. Pea-like.
Foliage: Leaflets in threes. Purplish-green or green. Triangular or oval.
Sow Outside: Cover seeds. Following last frost. Spacing: 30 to 40 inches (75 to 100 cm).
Sow Inside: Soak seeds for one day. Peat pots. Germination time: two to four weeks. Temperature 70°F (21°C). Seven or eight weeks in advance. Transplant outdoors following the last frost.
Requirements: Full sunlight. Good drainage. Rich soil. Moist soil. Provide trellis. Drought tolerant.
Miscellaneous: Has attractive flat and curved red or pale green pods.

How to Grow Hyacinth bean (Dolichos)

If planting outdoors then sow the Dolichos seeds into a sunny area of the garden after the last frost of spring; simply cover the seed with a light dusting of soil. When growing Hyacinth bean (or other Dolichos) indoors first, then you will first need to soak the seeds for a day in warm water before sowing. They will require about two weeks to one month to germinate at a temperature of about 21 degrees Centigrade. Once the seedlings are ready (about 7 or 8 weeks) they can be transplanted into the garden with a spacing of about 60 to 90 cm.

Caring for Hyacinth Beans and other Dolichos Plants in the Garden

As Hyacinth beans are climbers they will require a trellis fro support when growing. Dolichos can only be reliably grown from seed so don't attempt to take cuttings or to divide plants.

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