Asparagus Peas

Planting Guide for Asparagus Peas

Asparagus Pea, Tetragonolobus purpurea, Flower, plant and pods

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Asparagus peas are lovely vibrant attractive low vining flowering plants. The plants produce an edible pod and legume. Its flowers are a deep crimson red and grow in pairs.

The flowers, as well as the bizarre shaped pod and peas within the pod are edible. The pods taste similar to asparagus, which is presumably from whence it name "asparagus pea" was derived.

The pods should to be harvested when they are just over an inch long - within a few days of when the flowers fade away. Waiting any longer leaves the pods not worthy of harvest - they become woody and fibrous.

Not to fret however, because the pods you didn't harvest will eventually become brittle and papery - within these brittle pods is the pea itself. The peas can be used like any other legume or bean. Another accolade for the asparagus pea is "winged pea", which is used to describe the unusual shape of the pods.

They require heat. Asparagus Peas thrive in the dog days of summer.

It is not an ideal plant for cooler regions - but best suited to warmer southern climates.

Beyond that, they are not particularly difficult to grow, and have no other unusual requirements. Average moisture, full sun, fertile but not overly fertile soil with reasonable drainage.

Northern gardeners should start from seeds indoors in early spring. The late frolics of jack frost can be averted by putting asparagus peas in containers and moving them inside to mature completely.

They are a low vining plant, and will need some light trellising or support to keep them off the ground. On the ground they are more susceptible to pests and pathogens.