How to grow runner beans

Seed Sowing

Runner beans can be sown in May and June. Prepare the soil, adding well-rotted organic matter. Use a tall and sturdy structure with string or canes for support. Direct-sow 2 beans on either side of supports, 4 cm deep, in rows around 65 cm apart. Seeds can also be sown in pots indoors for transplanting.


Harden off young plants for 3-5 days. Plant in rows around 65 cm apart, with plants spaced around 40 cm. Water them in well.

Plant Care

Runner beans don’t need much work. Twine stragglers back in. Water well when flowers appear and keep picking young bean pods. Cut off tips once they reach the top of supports to encourage side shoots.


Watch for black fly on fresh tips; squish or wash them off. Bean weevils create dark holes in the beans.


Harvest pods early for delicacy; regular harvests every 2-3 days encourage more flowering.

Culinary Ideas

Runner beans are versatile. Grill them, add to stir-fries, paella, or serve steamed. After pods get stringy, leave on the vine to ripen beans, usable fresh, frozen, or dried.

Seed Saving

Runner beans are cross-pollinating; ensure varietal purity. Select the best plants, save seeds, and do not harvest from them. Harvest when pods dry on the plant.