Ruby Moon hyacinth bean: let this vine twine

Dolichos lablab Ruby Moon Plant Select

When flowering vines are mentioned, many gardeners first think of Clematis. Climbing roses may enter the picture. It can take many years for either of these to achieve their full glory, but what if you could have a flowering vine that made a huge impact the first year?

Hyacinth bean in its brilliant purple cultivar ‘Ruby Moon’ is a vigorous vining cousin to beans with dark purple stained foliage attractive in its own right. The generous clusters of blue and amethyst flowers resemble a delicate wisteria, only these are produced abundantly from midsummer to the frosty days of autumn. By August expect this to be a focal point in your garden: hundreds of flowers produced together with huge flat purple bean pods and colorful foliage into the bargain.

This vine has become a focal point wherever planted at Denver Botanic Gardens: you too will soon find it to be an essential addition to a wall, fence in your garden or mounded upon itself as a perennial in the border.

View the plant profile here.

 

 

Ruby Moon Hyacinth Bean (Dolichos lablab ‘Ruby Moon’)

Annual vine
Height: 6-8′ trellised
Width: 3-5′ untrellised
Blooms: Late spring to frost
Sun: Full sun to partial shade
Water: Moderate
Hardiness: USDA zones 7 and warmer; annual elsewhere
Culture: Loam is best

Thanks to Panayoti Kelaidis, Denver Botanic Gardens, for writing this piece.

4 responses to “Ruby Moon hyacinth bean: let this vine twine”

  1. Sue Mahoney says:

    Hello
    My horse often wanders the yard and samples plants. I saw recommendations to boil twice before eating. This lead me to wonder if this would be safe around horses. If you have any insight, please let me know. Thank you. Sue Mahoney

    • Ross Shrigley says:

      The beans of this plant are safe for humans to eat and are commonly used in dishes in India. Your horse should be ok eating these colorful beans and if your horse eats the plants of sweet peas, it’s probably ok to eat the rest of this plant too.

  2. Bitz says:

    I was given to understand this plant was an annual and yet you say it can be “mound upon itself as a perennial in the border”. Is it only an annual if you train it to climb? My cousin gave me some seeds and I can’t wait to see them grown. I was thinking of planting some in a half whiskey barrel and giving them a tomato cage to climb. However, from descriptions I’ve read, the cage wouldn’t be nearly tall enough. Is it OK to let the top flop over and twine around itself on the tomato cage? I don’t want to mess this up…..my cousin has a vivid green thumb and I don’t want to let her trust in me go to waste.

    • Ross Shrigley says:

      Unfortunately, this is only an annual climbing or not. There will be a better opportunity for flower pollination if it is allowed to climb and present itself to pollinators. Then the bountiful seeds will cover the ground and germinate for the next year. The seed pods are edible if you choose to harvest them for dinner instead of letting them fall to the ground.

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