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

(Best months for growing Asparagus Pea in New Zealand - cool/mountain 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 59°F and 68°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 8 - 10 inches 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 2.5 cm (1 in) 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.

Not to be confused with the other asparagus pea, 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

17 Jun 23, Erin Nesbitt (USA - Zone 8b climate)
I live in Texas and it is almost the end of June here. When can I plant these beans or is it too late to plant them now. Would appreciate your response. Thanks.
07 Nov 23, Cynthia (USA - Zone 8b climate)
Erin, I also live in Texas and I’m trying to get more information on growing winged beans. Did you ever get any answers to your question? If you did can you let me know please. Cynthia
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.
30 Sep 22, (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Michelle, I purchased my plant from Kahikatea Farm in the Hawkes Bay.
27 Aug 22, Michelle (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Where can I buy Aspargus pea seeds in NZ to grow
31 Aug 22, Liz (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Try Egmont Seeds
25 Apr 22, Susan Peterson (USA - Zone 5b climate)
Your site, and Geri Harrington's book, describe Asparagus pea/winged bean as low growing. But the catalogs and seed packages I have seen speak of it as growing up poles or a trellis. Also Geri Harrington's book ( Grow your own Chinese Vegetables) says it is not so tender as other beans and can be planted somewhat early, before last frost, whereas other sources say to wait until after last frost. I have seed packets for several kinds, red flowered and blue/purple flowered. Can you resolve these issues for me?
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