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This lovely climber is widely grown as an edible crop in South America and Asia, but has been treated here for more than a century as a greenhouse climber only planted outdoors in summer. Its growth habit resembles that of a runner bean, and its attractive rosy purple flowers (also white in a packet of mixed seeds) are carried on similarly long spikes. The pods, rarely more than 10cm (4in) long, are glossy and violet-purple, as eye-catching as the blooms when seen together. The vines branch freely and need strong supports.
Plant type: Conservatory climber
Flower colour: Lavender
Foliage colour: Dark green
Sun exposure: Full sun
Hardiness: Half hardy
Skill level: Experienced
Time to plant seeds: March to May
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