How to Grow Dolichos Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ 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. Plants may reach 9 metres (30 feet) in height.

Hyacinth bean

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

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

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

Commonly Grown Dolichos Species

Dolichos trilobus

Dolichos trilobus
Dolichos trilobus (Lablab Bean), photograph by Dr. Alexey Yakovlev; CC.

Dolichos lablab v alba Cultivar

Dolichos lablab v alba Cultivar
Dolichos lablab v alba Cultivar (Hyacinth bean), picture by 阿橋 HQ; CC.

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.
Family: Fabaceae / Leguminosae.
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 plants) 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 (70°F).

Once the seedlings are ready, after about 7 or 8 weeks, they can be transplanted into the garden with a spacing of about 60 to 90 cm (two to three feet).

Caring for Hyacinth Beans and other Dolichos Plants in the Garden

As Hyacinth beans are climbers, they will require a trellis for support when growing.

Dolichos can only be reliably grown from seed, so don't attempt to take cuttings or to divide plants.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Dolichos plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ Fabaceae growing guides: How to grow Cercis occidentalis and Phaseolus plants.