Green Beans


Green, or snap, beans, are among the most commonly grown green beans. See more pictures of vegetables.

Green beans are a popular plant among home vegetable gardeners. The most commonly grown beans are the green, or snap, bean and the yellow, or wax, bean, which is a variety of the green bean. Since 1894, when Burpee introduced the Stringless Green Pod, most beans have been stringless. Beans grow as bushes or vines. Bushes are generally easier to handle; they grow only 1 to 2 feet tall, and they mature earlier. Pole beans grow 6 to 8 feet tall and require a trellis for support. They grow more slowly but produce more beans per plant. Green beans of all types are featured in many vegetable recipes. In this article, we'll talk about growing green beans.

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About Green Beans

Leaves are usually composed of three leaflets; flowers are pale yellow, lavender, or white. The size and color of the pods and seeds vary.

Common Name: Green (Snap) Bean, Yellow (Wax) Bean

Scientific Name: Phaseolus vulgaris

Hardiness: Tender (will die at first frost)

In the next section, we'll show you how to grow green beans, and talk about the various types of green beans.

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Growing Green Beans

The immature pod is the part of the green bean plant that is eaten.
The immature pod is the part of the green bean plant that is eaten.

Green beans are a wonderful plant for the home gardener. They grow well in good conditions and provide a crop of delicious, nutritious vegetables.

Snap beans require a short growing season -- about 60 days of moderate temperatures from seed to first crop. They grow anywhere in the United States and are an encouraging vegetable for the inexperienced gardener. Snap beans require warm soil to germinate and should be planted on the average date of last frost.

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You can plant bush beans every two weeks to extend the harvest, or you can start with bush beans and follow up with pole beans. Plant seeds an inch deep, directly in the garden. For bush beans, plant the seeds 2 inches apart in single rows or wide rows. Seeds of pole beans should be planted 4 to 6 inches apart in rows 30 to 36 inches apart. Or, plant them in inverted hills, five or six seeds to a hill, with 30 inches of space around each hill.

For pole bean varieties, set the trellis at the time of planting to avoid disturbing the roots. Keep the soil evenly moist until the beans have pushed through the ground. When seedlings are growing well, thin the plants to 4 to 6 inches apart. Thin plants by cutting excess seedlings with scissors to avoid disturbing the roots of neighboring seedlings.

Harvesting Green Beans

The immature pod is the part that is eaten. When pods are large enough to eat, harvest by pulling the pods off the plant, taking care not to break the stem. Beans will flower twice and provide a second harvest. Smaller pods are more tender.

Green Beans

Green beans are separated into two types -- bush varieties and pole varieties. The varieties within these two types are listed below.

Bush varieties:

  • Burpee's Tenderpod, harvest at 50 days, has 5-inch-long green pods.
  • Blue Lake, harvest at 58 days, has green, 61/2-inch pods with white seeds.
  • Roma II, harvest at 53 days, has green, flattened pods, 41/2 inches long.
  • Brittle Wax, harvest at 52 days, has rounded, yellow pods, 7 inches long. Royal Burgundy, harvest at 51 days, has 6-inch-long purple pods.
  • Festiva, harvest at 56 days, is deep green and disease resistant.
  • Soliel, harvest at 60 days, is a high-yielding yellow.

Pole varieties:

  • Kentucky Wonder, harvest at 65 days, is a proved standard variety with heavy yields of 9-inch green pods.
  • Blue Lake, harvest at 60 days, has pods that are 6 inches long with white seeds.
  • Scarlet Runner Bean, harvest at 65 days, is often grown ornamentally for its scarlet flowers; pods are green and up to 12 inches long.

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  • Vegetable Recipes: Find delicious recipes that feature green beans.
  • Vegetable Gardens: Grow a full harvest of great vegetables this year.
  • Gardening: We answer your questions about all things that come from the garden.