Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Sow under glass
Sow outside
Plant outside
Showing schedule for Southern England in United Kingdom

Soil facts and preparation

Quick facts..

  • Soil Type Fertile and Well Drained
  • Ideal Ph range 6.0 to 7.0
  • Site Full Sun
Any area in full sun or partial shade is suitable, bear in mind yields will be highest in full sun. When choosing your site for runner beans consider the height of the plant will cast shadow on surrounding plants when the sun is not directly overhead.

Well drained soil high in organic matter is absolutely vital for good pod production. Dig in lots of well rotted manure or compost at the end of the previous season. Lime if your soil is acidic. Apply a general purpose fertilizer 1 to 2 weeks before sowing or planting.

Sowing and planting

Quick facts..

  • Germination 7 to 14 days
  • Sow 50mm deep
  • Sow Spacing 250mm
  • Rows 400mm apart
Wait till all risk of frost has passed. Note germination will be slow and with low success rates in cold soil. Sow 2 beans 5cm deep at 25cm spacings in rows 40cm apart. Remove the weaker seedling at each station leaving the strongest in position. Beans do not particularly like being transplanted however seedlings can be started earlier indoors in peat pots. Plant out before roots begin to poke through the pot or as soon as possible after.

Provide strong supports for the vine to climb up. Creating wigwams from 2 meter (6ft) bean poles or canes and creating rows of sloping poles crossed and tied at the top are the 2 most popular methods. Its best to construct your support before beans germinate to avoid damaging roots later.

Don't bother soaking beans in an attempt to hasten germination this may actually damage the seeds.

Growing a bumper crop

Help the plant to find its support if necessary. Tie the plants loosely to the base of the support, the plant will then climb naturally up the bean poles and you can optionally remove the tie.

Runner beans require a constant level of moisture in the soil. Keep weed free and optionally mulch to help preserve soil moisture. Water regularly in dry weather. Deformed pods can be a sign that the plant underwent periods of drought.

Remove the growing tip of the plant when it reaches the top of the pole. The plant will then dedicate its energy to producing flowers and pods.

Harvesting the fruits of your labour

Quick facts..

  • Yield 1100g per plant
The key to high yields and continuous production is regular picking of pods when they are 15cm to 20cm long. As soon as a pod is left to mature the plant will stop producing new pods so near daily attention is required. Even a short summer holiday could be the end of your runner bean harvest!

Runner beans will keep in the refrigerator for a week alternatively slice and freeze.

Your comments and photos

Beans, runner varieties


As its name suggests this variety produces very long runner beans. A high yielding variety with good flavour. Flowers are red.


Heavy cropping and fast growing variety that produces long straight stringless pods. Reliable red flowering variety.


White flowering variety of bean that reliably produces high yields. This is the new bean on the patch, superior flavour, smooth long beans and self pollinating.


A very reliable stringless variety of runner bean. High yielding over a long period with red flowers

Purple Teepee

Bush variety that has purple foliage and beans. Stringless variety that seems to fool pests with its unusual appearance. Beans will turn green when cooked.

Scarlet Emporer

A very popular variety to grow at home. This reliable variety produces long straight pods. Red flowering variety