Growing Asparagus Pea, also Winged bean

Lotus tetragonobolus : Fabaceae / the pea or legume family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
    P P P P            

(Best months for growing Asparagus Pea in Australia - tropical regions)

  • P = Sow seed
  • Easy to grow. Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 15°C and 20°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 20 - 25 cm apart
  • Harvest in 8-11 weeks. Pick early, pick often.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Best grown in separate bed
  • Asparagus Pea plant ( - Magnus Manske - CC BY-SA 3.0)
  • Pod and flower

This low spreading plant has small trifoliate leaves, and deep crimson flowers are borne in pairs. Harvest pods when approximately 2.5cm (1") long. ( about 80 days) Asparagus pea is easy to cultivate. It needs average moisture, full sun, and ordinary soil. It needs a long growing season to flower and fruit properly, so start it indoors in cooler areas.

Only the pods are edible for Lotus tetragonobolus. The other asparagus pea is the tropical plant Psophocarpus tetragonolobus, also known as Goa bean.

Support with twigs to keep the stems off the ground. Protect from slugs and snails. Pick pods when small as they become hard and dry if left too long.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Asparagus Pea

Cook quickly by steaming and serve with just a touch of butter and they are said to taste like their namesake .

Your comments and tips

09 Dec 22, Anonymous (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Asparagus Pea is aka Winged Pea, NOT winged bean which is a totally different plant and tastes totally different.
23 Dec 22, A. Gardener (Australia - temperate climate)
Thanks for pointing this out, the 'pea' vs 'bean' nomenclature and profusion of common names is indeed confusing. Given the references to red vs blue flowers and variable cold-hardiness in this thread it is pretty clear people are talking about both Lotus tetragonobolus (asparagus or winged pea, the topic of this page) and Psophocarpus tetragonolobus (winged bean aka Goa bean, cigarillas, four-angled bean, four-cornered bean, manila bean, princess bean, dragon bean). A bit of googling and the comments here show they are indeed quite different: Lotus tetragonobolus aka Tetragonolobus purpureus is the one sold at Bunnings (, the pods of which are supposed to taste like asparagus. It has red flowers, a spreading low habit, and only the pod is edible. Harvest early & often, best around 2.5 cm (80 days, or 1-2 days after flower fade) and before 5 cm. It does well in a temperate/Mediterranean climate, not so well in the tropics. Psophocarpus tetragonolobus (winged bean, Goa bean etc) is available in Australia from a few specialist seed merchants, just search using the Latin name. It has white/blue flowers and climbs to 3m, all parts are edible though the beans should be picked < 10cm as they become woody. Plant soaked & scarified seed in early summer (or start indoors) for best germination and cropping during shorter winter days (note many varieties are day length sensitive - try Hunan or Emerald Star varieties, daylight neutral). Perennial unless its tuber is harvested.
01 Dec 22, Ron (Australia - temperate climate)
Can I grow winged beans in Melbourne
04 Dec 22, Georgie Mason (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Spring, Summer & Autumn Place pots in a warm sunny position and keep moist to avoid drying out. Soak your seeds in water overnight. Sow seed on the surface and cover lightly to the depth of your seed. Do not bury deeply. Water with fine mist spray to avoid disturbance of the seed. Ensure the mix is moist but not water logged. Do not be too hasty to discard seeds that have not yet germinated, seeds will often lay dormant (in hibernation almost) until the conditions are similar to their natural requirements for germination and sprouting to occur. Containers placed to one side & forgotten about will often surprise long after they were discarded.
14 Oct 21, Prasad Elan (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Will it be possible to obtain a packet of winged been seeds? I have heard about the nutritional value of winged been Regards Prasad
28 May 21, Wendy (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hi Catherine, I planted 10 seeds early February. Nothing happened for weeks but now most are about 20cms tall. I have to prop them up. My seed packet indicates that no fertiliser is required as it is ‘a very strong nitrogen fixer’ whatever that means. Good luck.
22 May 22, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Many peas and legumes have a beneficial relationship with bacteria that grows on the roots of the plants. Nodes will develop in the roots that store nitrogen. Cutting plants off at the roots at the end of a season, or turning over the soil with these roots left included to breakdown will allow that nitrogen to release back into the soil.
15 May 21, Catherine (Australia - temperate climate)
What fertiliser I need to use is blooming now. This is nearly end of autumn. Start to see the bean but quite small. What fertiliser I need to grow bigger bean? First time to see the flower is light blue. How long can it stay in winter ? Let me know. Thank you
02 May 20, Linda (Australia - tropical climate)
I have been harvesting my winged beans at various sizes, and the plant here just out of Darwin has fruited profusely. Unfortunately tho I have not enjoyed them so I have pulled them up to make way for the Borraloolla bean?
01 Aug 20, Michael D Cowen (Australia - tropical climate)
Lived Borrolloola for over 2 years and never heard of the Borrolloola pea (heard about a unique cycad from the Loo). Would be interested in trying a Borralloola pea. Do you know where can I get seeds? I live in Wagait Beach
Showing 1 - 10 of 79 comments

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