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Growing Climbing Beans

How to grow all types of climbing Green, French and Runner Beans in containers, garden beds and allotments


Climbing Green Beans

Family/Latin Name

Fabaceae - Phaseolus coccineus (runner)

Fabaceae  - Phaseolus vulgaris (common)

Type of Plant

Legume - Crop Rotation Group = Others

Suitable for

Garden Beds, Allotments, Containers

Pests & Diseases    Companion Plants    In the Kitchen

See also:-  Vegetable Growing Glossary  |    Container Growing  | Buying Seeds & Plants


Plant Height

Height over 1.5m/ 5ft  -  spread 30cm/1ft

Yield Per Plant
Yield Per 1.5m/5ft Row

Time between sowing and harvesting

About 12-14 weeks

Sowing time

Indoors April to May  - temperature   +16C/61F. 

Outdoors Late May - mid June - temperature +17C/63F

Where to Sow

Indoors in 7.5cm/3" pots of compost 

Outdoors in containers or open ground

How to Sow

Indoors: one per pot - 5cm/2" deep

Outdoors:  5cm/2" deep -  22cm/9" apart - in rows 45cm/18" apart  or against a wigwam of  canes (see below)

After Germination

Protect from slugs

Growing on - 

in Pots

Harden off indoor sown plants then transfer to large pots (min 30cm/12" diameter) spacing the plants at least 17.5cm/7" apart around the edge of the pot. Support each plant with a tall sturdy cane (6ft) and tie the tops of the canes together to form a wigwam effect. 

Growing on -

in open ground

As above  but space the plants 22cm/9" apart in  rows 45cm/18" apart , tying the tops of the canes together. 


Pinch off the tops of each plant once they reach the tops of the canes. Liquid feed from time to time through the cropping season.. 


Cut pods regularly at approx 15-20cm/6-8", before the beans start to swell. Crops over a period of about 8 weeks Do not allow seeds to ripen as this stops pod production.

Pests and Diseases

Companion Plants

Indications Young leaves are eaten - sometimes completely missing
Treatment Organic
1. Sink small pots filled with beer to ground level. Empty daily
2. Sprinkle slugs with table salt
Use slug pellets
Prevention  Avoid damp or humid sites
Black Fly/Aphids
Indications Leaves distorted, yellowing and stunted distorted growth on bean pods and withering plant stems with patches of black in the leaf nodes
Treatment Organic
Spray with a weak solution of soapy water
Use water through a hosepipe to knock the aphids off the plants
Spray with an insecticide containing Bifenthrin, Imidacloprid or Pyrethrum
Prevention None
Bean Weevils
Indications Leaves have U shaped notches around the edges
Treatment Organic
Place a sticky card or bucket of water under the plant and shaking to remove the weevils from the plant. Then destroy the bugs underfoot or pick them off by hand
Spray with an insecticide containing Fenitrothion
Prevention Plant a barrier of garlic along side the rows.
Downy Mildew
Indications Yellow patches on leaves with a greyish mould underneath
Treatment Organic
Remove the infected leaves and apply an organic copper spray/dust to diseased and surrounding plants every 7-10 day
 Remove the infected leaves and spray with Dithane at first sign of attack
Prevention  Avoid damp or humid sites and overcrowding. Practice crop rotation.


 Companion Flower Graphic

Grow Maize, Summer Savory, and Radish close by.


Garlic planted alongside can prevent damage by bean weevils.


If you know aphids are a problem in your area, grow flowers such as nasturtiums, calendula asters,  dahlias, and zinnias nearby but not too close, as aphids find them attractive so they act as a lure.


Create a bio-diverse environment by planting flowers nearby to attract bees, ladybirds and other "friendlies".


To learn more about companion planting click here.

In the Kitchen

Storage:  Packed loosely in plastic bags for 2-4 days in the refrigerator. Excess amounts can be frozen. Prepare as below then blanch in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, drain well  and allow to cool before freezing.

Preparing:  Wash in cold water.  Snap or cut off a small section from each end of the pods.

Round French and Green beans don't need any further preparation.  

Runner beans usually have strings at the sides which should be removed before further preparation. These can usually be "peeled"  or cut down the length of the bean using a small knife. You can also by bean slicer/stringers which both de-string and slice the beans in one go


Bake/Roast Whole  French/Green  =  25 - 30 minutes. Drizzle with oil and seasonings
Boil Whole  French/Green  =  6-10  minutes
Slice  or shred Runner beans  = 
5-7  minutes
Fry/Sauté Slice  or shred Runner beans  =  stir-fry  4-6  minutes
Microwave Whole  French/Green  =  4-6  minutes (225g/8oz)
Slice  or shred Runner beans  = 
3-5 minutes  (225g/8oz)
Steam Whole  French/Green  =  8 - 12  minutes
Slice  or shred Runner beans  = 
6-8 minutes

For more preparation and cooking information about beans plus lots of  recipes visit our sister site www.recipes4us.co.uk.

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