I was recently given a clear plastic bag with 14 seeds and told they were Kentucky blue flowers. Someone mentioned you had done an article on them in the past. Can you tell me what I have based on this information? I need to know if they are perennials, how tall they grow and how much space to allow for them. The seeds look a little like tiny Oreo cookies, dark outside with a white filling you can see. I appreciate any help you can give.
The Gardener’s Answer
From your “Oreo” description, it sounds to me like you were given purple hyacinth bean vine seeds (Lablab purpureus). These climbers are considered annuals for Kentucky gardeners, but the seeds can be harvested from their pods later this fall and saved for next year’s garden. At this point the seeds can be planted directly into the garden. Plant the seeds 2 inches deep and space them every 12 inches. The seeds should germinate within 7-10 days. Keep in mind that this vine will require a trellis, fence, or something vertical to climb on. Best grown in full sun and well-drained soil. Purple hyacinth bean will reach 10-15 feet in one growing season. The vine will begin to flower mid-summer and will continue to be a show stopper through the fall. Both the flowers and the bean pods will add color to your garden as well as attract butterflies, birds and bees.