decorative beans

Beans usually have unremarkable pastel-colored flowers. These two heirloom bean varieties are a few notable exceptions. I have been more successful with the scarlet runner beans than with the hyacinth beans.

These beans are toxic when eaten raw. They need to be cooked for several hours to be safe.

scarlet runner beans


The scarlet runner is a vigorous bean that can easily reach 20 feet. Scarlet flowers against green, heart-shaped foliage. Rapid climbers. Beans are edible and delicious when young. Keep pods picked for continuous bloom. Hummingbirds love to visit the beautiful flowers that grow on this bean. People often grow this bean as an edible landscape plant. A beautiful growing plant with great tasting beans.

You can eat the young bean pods as green beans. If you leave them too long they quickly get tough. Let them mature a short while and you can eat the young beans as you would eat lima beans, they are a bright pink and black. When they start to get starchy and tough you can let the beans pods mature and pick them in the fall.

Note that many dried beans are poisonous when raw. Kidney beans have a bad reputation this way. The raw immature red runner beans could also have small amounts of toxins. Better to cook them as you cook lima beans. 


Pic1: these are large plants
 Pic2: leaves, flowers, pods
Pic3: the beans

Hyacinth beans


Hyacinth Bean (Dolichos Lablab Redleaved)

For a gorgeous vine and foliage, start Hyacinth Bean seeds. This vine is especially lovely with deep red leaves. Red Leaved Hyacinth Bean is a fast-growing, climbing vine, producing dark crimson red foliage and deep purple flowers. Lablab seeds produce a quick screen on a trellis or fence. Its flowers are beautiful and fragrant which and attract butterflies and hummingbirds, and it even produces edible leaves, flowers, pods, seeds and roots.

Dry Lablab seeds are poisonous due to high concentrations of cyanogenic glucosides, and can only be eaten after prolonged boiling. Chinese and Indian herbalists use the vine as a medicinal herb.


Pic4: a very strong vine
Pic5: purple pods
Pic6: leaves, flowers, seeds