Lablab Beans

Lablab purpureus


Lablab beans are grown as a food crop mostly in India and Bangladesh. They come in all shapes and sizes, so much so that the extremes resemble different species. The beautiful, long lasting flowers mean that lablab or hyacinth bean is popular as an ornamental garden plant throughout the tropics. Seedlings emerge within 14 days or less at a temperature of 18-22°C. Any reasonably fertile, well-drained soil in sun is suitable for growing. Flowering usually begins in July followed shortly by pods and continues until the first frosts. Pick pods as soon as they are big enough to eat. Fresh pods don’t keep well: store in a fridge for a few days if you have surplus. Lablabs will not cross with other bean species, and can self-pollinate. Allow pods to dry until yellow before picking ad dying thoroughly. Some lablabs have pods that don’t split open when ripe – store as pods instead of seeds until you come to sow them again. Lablab seeds remain viable for about two years if stored
cool and dark.

Growing calendar for lablab

Lutfun Hussain

Lutfun’s kodu at Spitalfields City Farm. Photo: Sara Heitlinger


Seed Guardian, Spitalfields City Farm

My name is Lutfun Hussain. I started here in 1999 as a volunteer and began working as the Healthy Eating Coordinator in 2000, originally it was called Ethnic Minority Support Worker. I work with the...

Where the seed came from
First time I tried to grow it here it didn’t work. The Bangladeshi beans don’t produce fruit here because of the weather. But one of my club members has family in America, and she brought the seeds for lablab beans 6 years ago. This is the beans that I succeeded growing here. It’s the same bean but adapted to the climate.

How to grow
Beans are easy to germinate. Plant them the second week of May inside or in a greenhouse. Look after them for three weeks inside your home. In the first week of June, when there is no chance of frost, put them in the ground in fresh compost or manure. You have to be patient, otherwise the plant can die if there is frost. Give them support, with long sticks to climb up.
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Lutfun on Lablab Beans