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Publication #HS596

Garbanzo—Cicer arietinum L.1

James M. Stephens2

The garbanzo bean is also known as chickpea, common gram, Bengal gram, pea bean, ceci, Indian gram, and gram pea. It has been in cultivation perhaps from before the Common Era.


Garbanzo is a low bushy pea-like annual with hairy stems and leaves comprising several pairs of small leaflets. The edible seeds, borne in pods, are roughly globular, flattened on the sides, somewhat wrinkled, and about 1/3-inch in diameter.

Figure 1. 



James M. Stephens

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Garbanzo is adapted to warm semiarid conditions, such as the coastal regions of California. In Florida, it is not a crop of commercial status and is seldom grown even in home gardens.

Culture is similar to that for dry beans. For gardeners who would like to try growing garbanzo, plant February through April, preferably in March. Plant in rows 2 feet apart and thin to 3 inches apart. A starter fertilizer is needed with little or no sidedressing required later, as the crop grows better under low nutrient and low moisture conditions.

Pests are not a big problem, except for bean beetles. Most frequent causes for poor results in Florida are poorly drained soils and insufficient length of growing season under ideal conditions. A growing season of 4 to 5 months from seeding to harvest is normally required (seed are harvested mature).


Garbanzo is a favorite dish of Latins. For years garbanzo bean soup has been a famous delicacy in the Ybor City area of Tampa. More recently the beans have become a popular item on salad bars everywhere.



This document is HS596, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date May 1994. Revised September 2015. Reviewed October 2018. Visit the EDIS website at


James M. Stephens, professor emeritus, Horticultural Sciences Department; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.