How to Grow Green Beans

Learning how to grow green beans means getting your hands dirty with a gardening classic. Green beans are widely grown because they have a short maturation period, allowing them to be grown successfully in colder climate zones with short summers.

How To Grow Green Beans In Your Backyard
Variety: Green Beans, Snap Beans Phaseolus vulgaris
Zones: Grown as an annual
Soil Type: Fertile, well-drained soil
Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.0
Sunlight: Full sunlight

  • Availability: Primarily sold as seeds. Green beans are available in a number of types, including bush, vine and pole varieties. Each variety has its own maturation periods and growing requirements. Generally, bush type green beans mature faster than other types.
  • When to plant: Plant green beans after the threat of frost has passed and soil has warmed to at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Locate green beans in a sunny, well-drained location where beans were not grown the previous year.

Planting Method

  • Seeds: For bush type green beans, plant seeds 1" deep and 2" apart in rows 2' apart. As plants begin to sprout, thin to one plant per 6".
  • For vine or pole type green beans, build mounds of dirt at the base of a vertical support like a trellis or pole-mounds should be 3' apart. Plant four or five beans in 1" holes around each mound.
  • Watering: Green beans should be water evenly to keep the soil from drying out. Water green beans in the early hours of the day, placing water only at the base of the plant. Make an extra effort to keep the foliage of green bean plants dry when watering.
  • Fertilizing: Feed green bean plants with a low-nitrogen (5-10-10) fertilizer. Add fertilizer to the soil at planting time and then again once or twice during the growing season. Add about ½ cup of fertilizer per 10 feet of green bean row.
  • Production: Green bean plants are prolific producers, putting out scores of 4" to 8" long pods. Once harvesting has begun, continue to collect beans every five to seven days to promote bean production.
  • Harvesting: Green beans should be harvested when the pods are bright green and before they've begun to bulge. Mature green bean pods will snap when broken in two. Use one hand to hold the plant stem and the other to break the pod off the stem.


  • Mildew: Usually caused by limited airflow around the plant, mildew appears as a powder on the edges of leaves. Proper plant spacing will hinder the formation of mildew. An application of fungicide will also combat mildew.
  • Fusarium Wilt: An infection caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum, which stunts growth and causes wilting. Infected plants should be removed at once to limit spread. Don't compost infected plants, as the fungus will spread.


  • Aphids: Small, soft-bodied insects that suck moisture from plants. Ladybugs are a great way to control aphids. Consider insecticidal soaps as an alternative to pesticides.
  • Thrips: These tiny, yellow or tan insects eat the pollen from plant blossoms. An infestation of thrips can lead to undersized or malformed fruit. Remove infected blossoms and treat plant with insecticidal soap.
  • Slugs and Snails: Black or dark gray gastropods with or without shells. Slugs and snails eat new leaves and the edges of mature leaves. Top dress planting areas with sharp sand or rough bark mulch to ward off slugs and snails.

Cleanup: After harvest, remove plants and avoid planting green beans in the same spot the following year.

Saving Seeds: Select one or two plants to collect seeds from and stop harvesting while there are still pods on the plant. Allow the plants to dry and become tan or brown and the beans rattle loosely in the pods. Remove the pods, split them open and collect the beans. Place the beans in a cool, dry place and allow them to become completely dry before storing them in a sealed container.

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