How to Grow Phaseolus Plants

Guide to Growing Runner Bean, Lima Bean and other Common Beans

Phaseolus plants are vines that may reach from 60 cm to 1.8 m (2 to 6 feet).

There are many varieties and they may be grown as half hardy annuals, hardy annuals, or hardy perennials in the garden.

They bloom in the summer, usually with red or white papery flowers.

They then produce bean pods, these should be harvested for eating when they are about 10 cm (4 inches) long.

Some common names for Phaseolus include Runner Bean, Snail Flower, Lima bean, Butter bean, White dutch runner bean, and corkscrew runner bean.

Phaseolus coccineus
Phaseolus coccineus - Runner Bean

Phaseolus vulgaris
Phaseolus vulgaris - Common Bean. Both photographs by Carl E Lewis; creative commons.

Phaseolus Plant Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Bean, Runner Bean, Snail Flower. Bean: Common; Lima; Scarlet Runner; Butter; Wild; Pea; Tepary; Spotted; Black; Pinto; Kidney; Green.
Life Cycle: Half hardy annual, hardy annual. Hardy perennial.
Height: Bush varieties 8 to 20 inches (20 to 60 cm). Running/Vine 80 to 120 inches (200 to 300 cm).
Native: Americas.
Growing Region: Annuals: 1 to 10. Perennials: zones 9 and 10.

Flowers: Summer.
Flower Details: Red, white, purple, pink.
Foliage: Alternate. Green. Purple. Oval. Trifoliate.

Sow Outside: One inch (25 mm). Eye downwards. A couple of weeks after the last frost. Spacing 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 cm).
Sow Inside: First apply a dusting of bean inoculant to the seeds/beans. Use peat pots. Germination time: four or five days. Temperature 60°F (16°C). One month in advance. Transplant outdoors a few weeks after the last frost; temperatures should not fall below 60°F (16°C).

Requirements: Full sunlight. Good drainage. Fertile soil. Moist soil. Provide trellis. Regular watering. Propagate: cuttings at the start of spring.
Family: Fabaceae.
Miscellaneous: The Phaseolus genus is synonymous with Vigna.

How to Grow Runner Beans (Phaseolus)

Seeds of Runner bean, Lima Bean, and other Phaseolus plants should be sown eye down in spring, about two weeks after the last frost.


They should be sown at about 2.5 to 3 cm (~1 inch) deep into a sunny part of the garden.

Once growing Phaseolus members such as runner bean should be provided with a trellis to grow on.

Ideally the soil should be rich and moist.

If starting runner beans off indoors start about five weeks before due to be transplanted outdoors in mid spring.

The beans should first be treated with an inoculate and sown eye down into peat pots.

It should take about five days for the runner beans to germinate at 15 to 21 degrees centigrade (59 to 70°F).

Caring for Runner Beans and other Phaseolus Plants in the Garden

Once growing supply Runner Bean and other Phaseolus plant members a trellis or similar support to grow upon.

Beans like moist soil so water regularly. If you require more Phaseolus plants then they can be propagated by taking cuttings in the spring.

Common Questions

How many members does the Phaseolus genus contain?

The Phaseolus genus consists of around 70 species of annual and perennial plants.

Do Phaseolus members make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Phaseolus species, particularly the various types of beans, are commonly grown in vegetable gardens for their edible pods and seeds. Some, like the scarlet runner bean, also have ornamental value.

Which Phaseolus species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Phaseolus vulgaris, the Common bean, is the most frequently grown, with numerous cultivars producing a wide variety of bean types. Phaseolus coccineus, the scarlet runner bean, is also popular.

Are Phaseolus plants fragrant?

Phaseolus plants, especially the flowers of the scarlet runner bean, can have a mild, sweet fragrance.

What is the perfect location to grow Phaseolus?

Phaseolus species prefer a sunny location with well-drained soil. They do best in warm temperatures and can be sensitive to frost.

Is Phaseolus invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

As of now, Phaseolus is not considered invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Phaseolus plants from my garden?

To remove Phaseolus plants, simply pull up the entire plant, ensuring that all roots are removed.


The Phaseolus genus, part of the Fabaceae family, is comprised of annual or perennial herbaceous plants. This genus is known for its leguminous crops, including Common beans, Lima beans, and Runner beans.

Phaseolus plants prefer a location with full sun and fertile, well-drained soil. They are usually grown from seeds in the spring after the risk of frost has passed. An excellent addition to vegetable gardens, they also provide benefits like nitrogen fixation.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Phaseolus plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Broad Beans, Origanum plant, and Green Beans.