Seed Swaps


Phaseolus vulgaris

'Bean' is a plant in the Phaseolus genus with a scientific name of Phaseolus vulgaris. The botanical name epithet for Bean (vulgaris) means 'common'.

Beans are self pollinating and are relatively easy to germinate under normal growing conditions – and are thus a good crop to consider for beginner gardeners.

Beans have either a bush growing habit, or a climbing growing habit. If growing climbing beans, they can be used as a decorative screen or trained over arches. Beans are one of the “Three Sisters” that provided the foundation of Native American agriculture (others are squash and maize) and originate from South Mexico, Central America.

Beans are usually grown as an edible legume – both dried and fresh. They can be eaten in their unripe state, or the mature dried form is commonly eaten for protein. Can also be grown for its use as a leaf vegetable, and is also often grown for fodder. They are a fantastic crop to consider growing to improve your soil naturally without fertilisers – they are one of the few plants that fix nitrogen into the soil.

Runner (aka pole) beans produce twice as much yield as French beans and for a longer period. French (aka dwarf or bush) beans, however, bear earlier into the season. Runner beans require a tripod, trellis or form of support to climb up whereas only some French bean varieties do. Runner beans have a stronger taste and a tougher pod compared to French beans. 4

Beans are protein-rich, high in fiber and antioxidants. Beans are great for the waistline and they may aid in disease prevention too. Apart from being a meat substitute beans contain lots of water and fiber, two ingredients that will make you feel fuller faster and therefore adding beans to your diet will help cut calories without feeling deprived.7

Blooms appear in these approximate colours:   Anti-flash white and   Lavender indigo. When ripe, fruit appear in these approximate colours:   Falu red and   Dark pink.

It is a flowering edible vegetable / legume and is treated mainly as an annual/perennial, so it can grow either as a single season or multiple season plant.

Bean normally grows to a climbing habit with a max height of 1.30 feet (that's 40.0 cm metric). Expect blooming to occur in early summer and harvesting to start by mid summer.

Popular varieties of Bean with home gardeners are Kentucky wonder, Blue Lake, Blue Lake 274, Bush and Blue Lake Bush.

Mexico is thought to be the country of origin for Bean.

Bean is normally fairly low maintenance and is normally quite easy to grow, as long as a level of basic care is provided throughout the year. Being aware of the basic soil, sun and water preferences will result in a happier and healthier plant.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Bean have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Bean

  • Full Sun

  • Partial Sun

  • Medium

  • A three-year rotation helps reduce some diseases. Make sure your beans have good drainage as they can be susceptible to root rot.
  • Ensure you don’t add too much nitrogen to the soil – as beans fix nitrogen into the soil, they don’t need any extra. If too much nitrogen is added to the soil, the bean plants will produce lots of leaves and vines but little fruit.
  • You can succession plant beans to ensure a more regular harvest throughout the season.

Position in a full sun / partial sun location and remember to water moderately. As a rough idea of the types of climates Bean does best in, check to see if your local area is within USDA Hardiness Zones 5 and 13. Try to keep the ph of your soil between the range of 6.0 and 6.8 as Bean likes to be in weakly acidic soil. Keep in mind when planting that Bean is thought of as tender, so remember to wait until your soil is warm and the night time temperature is well above freezing before moving outside.

See our list of companion Plants for Bean to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

Growing Bean from seed

Beans can either be sown directly in the soil outside, or can be germinated indoors. Indoor germination tends to be faster and more reliable. Never soak bean seeds before germination as they tend to crack easily – this leads to poor germination.

To sow inside, prepare a propagator tray or series of small pots with multipurpose compost. Sow one seed per pot / space, about 4 cm deep, cover with soil and water in gently. Position in a sunny spot to germinate – a windowsill is often an ideal location.

Beans are mostly planted in spring and summer, but can be planted all year round in frost-free areas8.

Sow 1.95 inches (5.0 cm) deep with a guideline distance of 3.9 inches (10.0 cm). Soil temperature should be kept higher than 16°C / 61°F to ensure good germination.

By our calculations*, you should look at sowing Bean about 14 days after your last frost date .

Transplanting Bean

Prepare the soil by adding lots of organic matter to the soil – this will help to increase the soil’s ability to retain water, and will ensure the beans have enough nutrients in the soil to begin growing as they love to grow in rich soils. Well rotted compost or manure are ideal for this. Choose a good spot for your beans: they tend to do best with at least 6 hours of sunlight a day.

If transplanting from seedlings, ensure that the seedlings are fully acclimatised to the outside weather by hardening off over the course of at least a week. To do this, set them outside for a couple of hours daily increasing the time spent outside gradually until you have left them outside for an entire day.

Ensure that all danger of frost has passed, as beans are cold sensitive.

Spacing will depend on the variety of bean, but in general aim to plant bush beans 2-4 inches (5-10cm) apart in rows 18-22 inches (45-55cm) apart. Pole beans should be planted a little further apart as they have more of a sprawling habit: aim for 4-6 inches (10-15cm) apart in rows of 30-36 inches (70-90cm).

Ensure that temperatures are mild and all chance of frost has passed before planting out, as Bean is a tender plant.

Harvesting Bean

Harvest the beans when the pods are fully elongated, and are firm. This should be before the seed inside matures. Try to pick the beans when the plant is dry, as picking when wet can spread disease – particularly bacterial blight. Try to snip off cleanly using scissors or shears instead of pulling at the plant as this can cause damage to the brittle stems. Harvest regularly as the plant will develop more flowers and fruits this way.

After harvest it is important to compost or till under the leaves and stalks of the plant as all the nitrogen beans fix is in the plant and not the soil.2

Before eating it is necessary to fully cook beans to prevent “bean poisoning”.5 To do this first soak the beans for a minimum of 5 hours. Discard soaking water. Add more water and bring to brisk boil, boil for 10 minutes. You may then lower cooking temperature and simmer for the remainder of cooking time.5

Seed Saving Bean

Leave the pods on the plant until they are dry and brown. If frost threatens, remove whole plant and hang to dry. Shell or thresh to remove seeds. 3
Seed viability is three years.

How long does Bean take to grow?

These estimates for how long Bean takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world.

Start logging and journaling your observations to participate!

Days to Germination How long does it take Bean to germinate?
8 days

Average 8 days | Min 1 days | Max 21 days (1468)

Days to Transplant How long until I can plant out Bean?
+ 12 days

Average 12 days | Min 1 days | Max 42 days (146)

Days to Maturity How long until Bean is ready for harvest / bloom?
+ 81 days

Average 81 days | Min 7 days | Max 177 days (279)

Total Growing Days How long does it take to grow Bean?
= 101 days

When should I plant Bean?

Our when to plant Bean estimates are relative to your last frost date.

Enter your frost dates and we'll calculate your sowing and planting dates for you!

When to sow The number of days to sow Bean before or after your last frost date.
14 days after Last Frost Date

Bean Etymology

The botanical epithet is from the Latin vulgaris meaning “common”.6

Other names for Bean

French climbing bean, French climbing beans, yard long beans, Garden bean, bush bean, dwarf bean, runner bean, pole bean

Phaseolus vulgaris L.

Misspellings: Climing been, Stringless Green Bean, Haricot Vertes,

Latest Bean Reviews

See all Bean reviews and experiences »


1 Wikipedia List of Companion Plants

2 Nitrogen Fixation by Legumes

3 The New Seed-starters Handbook; Published 1988

4 Beans Fact Sheet from Stark Ayres

5 Causes of Food Borne Illness

6 Latin Dictionary


Bean Forums

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