How to grow mucuna pruriens seeds

Written by geoffrey weed
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How to grow mucuna pruriens seeds
Mucuna Pruriens seeds. (Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons)

The Mucuna Pruriens is a species of plant that is indigenous to tropical climates. It is an annual shrub with climbing tendencies, belonging to the Fabaceae family. Mucuna Pruriens grows a legume-style fruit and the plant is often referred to as Velvet bean, Cowhage, Pica (or Pica-Pica), Cowitch, or Yoruba. Growing Mucuna Pruriens isn't particularly difficult if you know when and where to plant it and how to cultivate it.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Seeds
  • Indoor potting equipment
  • Basic gardening tools
  • Compost

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  1. 1

    Start your Mucuna Pruriens seeds indoors, in pots, unless you live in a tropical climate. You'll need to pot the plants in early Spring and then transplant them outdoors after all threat of frost is gone unless you live in a very warm climate.

  2. 2

    Choose a moderately-shaded area for planting. Mucuna Pruriens plants do like a lot of sun, but too much can burn them, especially when they're young. Remember, some plants can have vines that reach up to 15 feet in length, so they'll definitely reach towards the sun and get more sunlight as they grow.

  3. 3

    Prepare the soil in the area you've chosen by tilling a large amount of compost under and making sure that the soil is very rich. Remember, as a tropical plant Mucuna Pruriens prefers a dark, rich soil and will struggle without it.

  4. 4

    Place a trellis along the area where you'll be planting your Mucuna Pruriens. These climbing shrubs needs something to hold on to in order to grow tall and strong.

  5. 5

    Plant the seeds about an inch or so from your trellis, roughly 3/4-inch under the soil, and water the area liberally until the ground is thoroughly soaked. Leave at least 6 inches between each plant.

  6. 6

    Keep your Mucuna Pruriens plants well-watered, watering at least every other day. This is especially crucial when they're young and just beginning to develop.

Tips and warnings

  • Feel free to thin out any sickly looking plants that grow up by snipping the off at ground level or simply pulling them like weeds.
  • Remember, Mucuna Pruriens is a tropical plant and will respond best to high temperatures and lots of moisture. It may be difficult to grow them in cold or extremely dry climates.
  • Mucuna Pruriens contains certain narcotic chemicals. While the plants themselves are perfectly legal to grow, it is highly illegal in most places to grow them for the purpose of harvesting said narcotic compounds. Consult your local laws before growing Mucuna Pruriens and never attempt to use them for any purpose other than an ornamental one.

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