Hyacinth beans, dolichos or climbing lilacs are a beautiful ornamental plant from the legume family. In warm southern countries, common dolichos can grow for several years. Most often, perennial shrubs can be found in Asia and Africa. But in our climate, Hyacinth beans are grown as an annual. Dolichos fruits not only taste great. Due to the high protein and starch content in ornamental bean pods, they are also useful. Gardeners use this plant to decorate their summer cottage. Dolichos decorate loggias and balconies, as well as outbuildings up to 4 meters high.
It is worth understanding the intricacies of growing hyacinth beans from seeds, when to plant them and how to properly care for them.
Description of hyacinth beans
Dolichos ordinary is a liana, the stem of which can reach a length of 4 meters. The shrub grows with flattened reddish-purple beans that resemble beans and delicate, fragrant flowers that range in hue from white to purple.
The most popular varieties of dolichos include the following:
- Pink moon - will grow up to 4 meters in length with bright green purple leaves. The flowers have a pronounced ruby hue. The advantage of this variety is that the fruits do not crumble from the branches until the very frost.
- Lilac cascade - a branchy frost-resistant variety of Hyacinth beans is used to decorate loggias and verandas. The branches can be up to 5 meters long.
- Purple garlands... The bean stem of this variety can grow up to 6 meters in length. The flowers of the plant are bright purple in color and hang from the branches like a garland. The leaves are heart-shaped, red in color. Cut flowers of this variety can stand in water for a long time, decorating any apartment.
Growing hyacinth beans at home
Growing hyacinth beans from seeds is within the power of every beginner. Care consists of weekly feeding and moderate watering. It is possible to grow homemade hyacinth beans not only in the country, but also at home. With proper care, the moth petals of this plant will decorate the balcony until the very late frosts.
For balcony maintenance, the Lilac Cascade variety is best suited. Bush is grown through seedlings. Sowing seeds begins in April or early March. In early May, the seedlings are completely ready for transplanting into open ground.
In order to preserve Dolichos in winter, it is advisable to use a spacious tub for its maintenance.
Scarification of hyacinth beans
Like all legumes, the dolichos seed has a dense shell and in order to accelerate the germination of seedlings, they resort to scarification of the beans (mechanical damage to the seed shell). This method helps the seedlings grow much faster than in nature.
There are three ways of scarification:
- Mechanical- the simplest method, most suitable for large seeds. In this method, a special tool is used - a scarifier (a plate with several sharp teeth). Using it, the hard shell of the seed is pierced and the beans are placed in a container with warm water for several hours so that they are saturated with moisture.
- Chemical way.Chemical scarification with sulfuric acid is rare and extremely cautious. The seeds are placed in an enamel bowl with a solution of 3% sulfuric acid and water for at least 12 hours. After that, they are washed under running water and prepared for planting. The acid should be carefully poured into the water, otherwise it will boil and you can get burns from splashing.
- Thermal... This is a method of damaging the seed coat by alternating exposure to high and low temperatures. The seeds are wrapped in cotton cloth and dipped in boiling water, and then in cold water, until they increase in size.
Planting hyacinth beans
The main condition for growing a crop is the correct choice of soil. It is best to choose a fertile soil with neutral acidity.
To germinate the beans, choose a warm place with adequate access to sunlight without drafts. The soil for planting curly lilacs can be prepared independently by mixing the following components in equal proportions:
- Shredded humus;
- River sand;
- A mixture of high-moor and lowland peat.
Seed sowing of hyacinth beans is recommended to start with heat treatment of the soil. At a temperature of 200 degrees, the soil is heated in the oven for 40 minutes. The treated and disinfected soil is poured into special seedling containers and slightly moistened. Next, 2-3 dolichos seeds are planted in each container to a depth of 1 cm and covered with cling film until the first shoots appear.
If scarified seeds of hyacinth beans were used for planting, at a germination temperature of 22-25 degrees, the first shoots appear in a week. When the first shoots appear, the seedling containers must be rearranged in a place well-lit by daylight. Further care consists in moderate watering as the soil dries out. Seedlings obtained from seeds should be planted in late May or early June, when the ground is fully warmed up.
Climbing beans are very thermophilic plants. The landing site must be protected from cold winds and sufficiently illuminated by the sun. In the first days after planting seedlings, the soil must be thoroughly moistened. In hot weather, watering is carried out daily.
During the flowering period, the plants require weekly feeding with superphosphate. This promotes more lush blooming of dolichos flowers. Flowering begins in mid-summer and continues until late autumn. Lush flowers of the shrub are collected in large inflorescences.
A big advantage over other flowering shrubs is the plant's resistance to various diseases and pests. The only problem that gardeners may face are yellow dots on the leaves, indicating a lack of potassium in the soil. The most common fertilizers will help to eliminate it.
The cultivation of hyacinth beans will not only decorate the summer cottage with lush fragrant flowers, but also give a lot of aesthetic pleasure!