Lablab, Lablab purpureus, is another prefect multipurpose plant to grow. Not only is this a beautiful plant, but its leaves, flowers, tubers, pods and beans are all edible! Lablab is a vine that grows up to 18 feet tall, making a great trellising plant or ground cover. There are perennial and annual varieties available, so make sure you find a perennial, they live for about three years. Oh yeah, did I mention it’s nitrogen fixing?
Lablab is grown from seed. Stick seed into the ground 1/4 – 1/2 inch deep.
Seeds are easy to save. Just allow to dry on the plant and harvest.
Lablab is an extremely easy plant to grow. Grow in full sun/part shade. Plant your seed and wait for harvest.
It does tolerate heavy pruning if growing on a low trellis. I prefer to grow them as an edible ground cover and just take time to make sure they aren’t climbing up young plants.
Immature pods can be eaten like green beans/peas raw or cooked.
Once beans are starting to develop, I remove the pods, due to the fibrous nature, and use immature beans in soups or curries (takes some time, but well worth it!).
Fully mature beans are poisonous raw. But can be eaten like dry beans, changing the water twice and throwing it out once cooked. May also be used for tofu or tempeh.
Seeds may be sown and eaten raw as a sprout (comparable to mung beans).
Flowers and young leaves are edible raw or cooked. Older leaves should be cooked.
Tuber is cooked boiled or baked.
May also be used as a fodder plant for animals.
Where to obtain planting materials
Ask someone you know growing it for some seed. Or buy seed online.
I started growing Lablab on a trellis under the eve of the house. I would have to constantly cut it back so it wouldn’t climb onto the house. After eating the beans for a while, I decided to let some mature on the plant so I could save the seed. Now I have tons of seeds and have been sticking them in the ground everywhere in the food forest. They sprout quickly and start growing fast. Perfect for a ground cover. The purple variety I am growing, I haven’t eaten yet, but the green kind is delicious. And both are beautiful. Heres some photos around the yard: