Seed Swaps

Runner bean        

Phaseolus coccineus

Runner bean is part of the Phaseolus genus and its scientific name is Phaseolus coccineus.

Please note: Some resources list Phaseolus coccineus seed as poisonous if a significant amount of raw mature seed is ingested. The seeds contain a toxin that prevents against insect predation.*
Runner beans have bright green leaves and a twining habit. The flowers are red, white or a mixture of white and red and all are loved by bees. The flowers are pretty enough for the flower garden.

The cotyledons stay in the ground during germination and the plant is a perennial vine with tuberous roots even though it is usually treated as an annual. These beans should be cooked well before consumption. The pods are edible and the seeds can be used fresh or dried as long as they are cooked.1

This variety typically blooms in the following colours:   Red and   Navajo white and   Candy apple red. When mature, blooms are roughly 1.5 cm (that's 0.58 inches in imperial) in diameter. This variety typically produces fruit in the following colours:   Ao green and   Kelly green. The leaves of this particular variety normally show as   Dark spring green and   Office Green

It is a flowering edible vegetable / ornamental that typically grows as an annual/perennial, which is defined as a plant that can matures and completes its lifecycle over the course of one year or more.

Runner bean is known for its climbing habit and growing to a height of approximately 40.0 cm (1.30 feet). This plant tends to bloom in mid summer, followed by first harvests in late summer.

This plant is a great attractor for butterflies, bees and birds, so if you are looking to attract wildlife Runner bean is a great choice.

Popular varieties of Runner bean with home gardeners are Scarlet Runner Bean, Scarlet Emperor, Painted Lady, Hestia Dwarf and White Lady.

Typically, Runner bean is normally fairly low maintenance and can thus be quite easy to grow - only a basic level of care is required throughout the year to ensure it thrives. Being aware of the basic growing conditions this plant likes (soil, sun and water) will result in a strong and vibrant plant.

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

How to grow Runner bean

  • Full Sun

  • Partial Sun

  • Medium

Keep the vines twining up the canes, and nip out the tip when the plant has reaches the top.
Pretty enough for the flower garden, if you don’t have room for a formal vegetable garden

Try to plant in a location that enjoys full sun / partial sun and remember to water moderately. Runner bean requires a loamy and clay soil with a ph of 6.0 - 6.8 - it grows best in weakly acidic soil. Keep in mind when planting that Runner 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 Runner bean to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

Growing Runner bean from seed

Can be sown direct, but take care if there are slugs or mice. Protect with fleece or plastic bottles with the ends cut out until they start to climb the canes
Alternatively, start two seeds to a 7cm pot, and grow on in a cold frame or greehhouse until they are large enough to start to wrap up the canes

Try to aim for a seed spacing of at least 3.9 inches (10.0 cm) and sow at a depth of around 1.95 inches (5.0 cm). Soil temperature should be kept higher than 16°C / 61°F to ensure good germination.

Transplanting Runner bean

Build a wigwam of canes or posts and string for the beans to climb. Plant out in a sunny warm position, not exposed to the wind. keep and eye out for slugs until the seedlings have set off up the canes.

Ensure that temperatures are mild (minimum night temperatures should be around 15°C / 59°F) and all chance of frost has passed before planting out, as Runner bean is a tender plant.

Harvesting Runner bean

Harvest the beans before they grow too big and stringy. Harvesting makes more flowers and a longer cropping season

Seed Saving Runner bean

Inevitably, the odd bean will escape the harvest, but if left to mature and dry on the plant, the bean seeds can be saved to grow again next year

The collected dried seeds are put in a warm place on paper towels and flipped in a few days. Leave to air dry for another few days before storing.

How long does Runner bean take to grow?

These estimates for how long Runner 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 Runner bean to germinate?
10 days

Average 10 days | Min 3 days | Max 22 days (141)

Days to Transplant How long until I can plant out Runner bean?
+ 14 days

Average 14 days | Min 6 days | Max 49 days (7)

Days to Maturity How long until Runner bean is ready for harvest / bloom?
+ 94 days

Average 94 days | Min 40 days | Max 169 days (121)

Total Growing Days How long does it take to grow Runner bean?
= 118 days

Runner bean Etymology

The botanical epithet is from the Latin coccineus meaning “scarlet”.

Runner bean Folklore & Trivia

Native to central America

Other names for Runner bean

Scarlet runner bean, Sunset runner pole bean, Runner beans, multiflora bean

Phaseolus coccineus L.

Latest Runner bean Reviews

  • These bloomed but never put on pods. I was told they did well in the heat, but apparently not the desert Southwest heat!

    2 stars

    flowerweaver about growing Bean (Runner) 'Painted Lady'
  • I’m not bothering with these again, the ones that grow up sticks are much better, you don’t have to bend down to pick them and the slugs can’t reach them either!

    0 stars

    Motherhen about growing Dwarf runner bean:Hestia
  • Lovely plant, but I don’t have good luck with it. Seeds germinated OK but were killed off by unexpected frost in early March. Might try again as late Spring sowing someday.

    2 stars

    GreenGuy about growing Runner bean 'Scarlet R' Killed by Frost!

See all Runner bean reviews and experiences »



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