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Plant Care Guide >> Container Vegetable Gardening >> Cyamopsis tetragonoloba L. Taub (Cluster bean)
Cluster bean is a coarse, upright, bushy, drought-resistant summer annual, ranging from 2-9 feet in height. It has pointed, saw-toothed, trifoliate leaves, small purplish flowers borne along the axis of a spikelet, and hairy pods 3-4 inches long in clusters. There are both dwarf and tall cultivars. The plant is called "cluster bean" because of the manner in which its pods are clustered together.
Common name: Cluster bean
Vernacular Languages: Hindi, Marathi: Guar; Santhali: Buru Rahir
Botanical Name: Cyamopsis tetragonoloba L. Taub
Family: Leguminosae

Deep, well-drained, sandy loams or sands are preferred, although some well drained alluvial clays and clay loams are also suitable. It is considered to be tolerant of both soil salinity and alkalinity.


Select seed that is uniform in color and size and is free from other crop and weed seed. Seed should be inoculated just before planting with a special guar inoculant. Exposure of inoculum to sunlight, heat and drying before planting can impair the effectiveness of the nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Seed should be planted in moist soil within 2 hours after inoculation. Fungicidal seed treatments may inhibit inoculation. Sow the seeds at a depth of 1 to 1 1/2 inch.


After the seedlings sprout about five inches, they should be thinned to about 3 to 4 plant in a pot.


Guar is sensitive to cold, so should be grown during the warm season. It tolerates high temperatures and dry conditions and is adapted to arid and semi-arid climates.


The plant needs to be grown in full sun.


Soil temperatures above 20C are required for rapid and reliable germination and establishment.


Although the plant is reported to be fairly drought resistant, it grows even better when irrigated. Drought during the prolonged fruiting period reduces yields. It is susceptible to water logging.


When moisture is limited, the plant stops growing. Excessive rain or humidity after maturity causes the beans to turn black and shrivel, reducing their quality .


The plant does not require staking.


Apply fertilizer below the seed before planting or to the side and below the seed at planting. Sulfur fertilizers have been found to affect guar on some soils, and zinc deficiency is a common problem in India.

Pest and Problems:

One advantage of growing guar is that it appears to be relatively free of insect pest problems under most conditions. Mirids and pod sucking bugs such as green vegetable bug (Nezara viridula) and Riptortus spp. may cause pod abortion and seed damage. Young guar plants grow slowly and are particularly susceptible to weed problems. Weeds can reduce yields and create harvesting problems .

Growth Habit:

Guar is an upright, coarse-growing summer annual legume known for its drought resistance. Its deep tap roots reach moisture deep below the soil surface. Plants have single stems, fine branching or basal branching (depending on the variety) and grow to be 18 to 40 in. tall. Racemes are distributed on the main stem and lateral branches. Pods are generally 1 1/2 to 4 in. long and contain 5 to 12 seeds each. Seeds vary from dull-white to pink to light gray or black.


For use as a vegetable, pods must be picked when young, before they become hairy and woody.

Special Care:

No special care is required for the plant.

Medicinal Uses:

Click here to buy seeds for this plant.
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