Green Beans are an ideal choice for many vegetable gardens; they are super productive and easy to grow, and you can use their climbing ability to cover walls, arches, or fences.
The initial stage of the green beans life starts with planting a seed (dried bean). After planting the seed, germination will take place.
Once germinated, the seed will produce a root and shoot; from there on, a stem and leaves will form. After creating its first set of leaves, the second set will grow.
Once the bean plant has produced an ideal amount of foliage and suitable temperatures, the bean will begin the flowering stage. After the flowers of the bean have been pollinated, the pods will set, and you will start to see the beans grow.
The final stage of the green bean’s life is harvesting the beans.
Take a look at this incredible time-lapse video of the green bean’s growth cycle:
How Long Does Green Bean Growth Take?
Green beans should be harvestable 45-60 days after planting, and after two weeks of flowering, your bean will be ready for harvest. These times may vary slightly depending on the variety grown, temperatures, and weather conditions.
Green beans, snap beans, or string beans, whichever name you wish to go by, are tender annuals meaning they will perform their entire lifecycle within one year.
Beans come in various colors, from the most apparent green to purple, red, yellow, and striped. Not only are there a variety of colors to choose from, but their growth habits vary too.
You can find pole beans that will climb and wrap around a pole or fence or bush beans that don’t require support. Bush beans tend to be a faster-growing variety and produce beans in 50 to 55 days, whereas pole beans need a little longer 55-65 days.
Bean pods of the bush beans will set on the plant at the same time, so staggered planting every two weeks is ideal for providing yourself with a good supply.
As you harvest pole beans, the vines will continue to grow and produce beans for up to two months after.
Green Bean Growing Stages
The best time to plant Green beans is after the last spring frost in your area when the soil has reached a temperature of 48°F (9°C). Green beans are best directly planted in the garden as they can be sensitive to root disturbance.
One way to get ahead with the temperature of the soil before planting is to place a black plastic sheet over the area before planting. This will absorb the heat from the sun and warm up the ground.
To plant green bean seeds, choose a location with at least 6 hours of full sun daily. If you are in an area with high summer heat, you can use row covers to protect the flowers from falling.
You can create rows of beans 18 inches apart and plant the bush beans 1 inch deep and 2 inches away from the next seed.
Planting pole beans should also be 1 inch deep and supported with a strong pole such as bamboo or a tree branch. You may decide to use pole beans to cover a fence, arch, or trellis, in which case they should be planted 3 inches apart.
Ensure your soil is well drained; there is no need to add any rich fertilizer at this point. Beans are a natural nitrogen fixer, converting the nitrogen from the air and releasing it into the soil.
Keep your beans well-watered during this time but do not oversoak them, as this will cause them to rot, turn to mush, and disintegrate.
After 7-14 days, the beans will start the germination process, and you will see small shoots emerge from the soil’s surface. At the same time, the stem forming the root underground will start to develop.
If you have ever left dried beans from your kitchen cupboard to soak for too long, you may have seen this happen too. It’s an awesome process where plant life begins and allows you to grow the beans to maturity.
As the roots of the green bean seed start to grow, they establish structure and take the nutrients they need from the soil to begin producing the first set of leaves.
3. Leaves Start Growing
Following the germination process, the bean will enter the leaf growth stage, and you can witness the first set of leaves; these are known as the cotyledons and are used to store food as the second set of leaves is produced.
As the matured leaves are made, the cotyledons will eventually fall off, and the stem will start to grow new foliage. The leaves grow alternating on the stem and consist of 3 oval-shaped leaflets.
Some varieties of beans can produce purple foliage and grow 2.4- 5.9 inches (15 cm) long and 1.2- 4.3 inches (3-11 cm) wide. Pole beans will reach 10 to 15 feet tall, and bush beans will grow to around 2 feet.
Green Beans will begin the flowering stage 50- 60 days after planting, depending on the variety you have grown. White is the most common color of bean flowers and is somewhat ornamental.
Some beans produce pink, Purple, or multicolored pea-like blooms in varying shades and will emerge when the temperatures are between 65 to 85°F.
Temperatures above 85°F can prompt the flowers to drop off and reduce production. During flowering, you can add potassium fertilizer (potash) to the soil, which will speed up the process.
This stage of the beans’ life usually occurs after 65 days of planting and is the moment you have been waiting for! Your beans are ready to be harvested, and best picked when they are young and tender before the bean inside fully develops.
Pick the beans on the pole bean variety every day to keep them producing. Use a clean, sharp pair of scissors to harvest beans that way; you won’t cause any damage to the stalk or vine.
The beans are ready to harvest when the pods have reached 4-7 inches long, and the thickness is about the same size as a pencil. The size of the beans will depend on the variety you are growing. Some beans, such as the cowpea, will reach up to 3 feet!
Tips On Growing Bigger Green Beans Faster
If you are feeling a little impatient with the growth of your beans, you can speed up the process by following a few extra steps along the way:
- Speed up germination by soaking the seeds at room temperature overnight.
- Select a variety of beans that grow faster. Bush beans such as Contender and Top Crop can be harvested in 48 days.
- Plant beans in a sunny position where they will get 6-8 hours of sunlight daily.
- Sow seeds in loamy or clay soil.
Bean plants need about 2 inches of water per week when there is no rainfall so ensure you provide them with a regular watering routine.
Signs Your Green Beans Have Finished Growing
Growing bush beans usually produce beans simultaneously, so the production time is relatively short – around 14 days. Pole bean varieties will continue to make beans while the vine grows, giving you a longer production time.
Pole beans will provide you with 5-10 harvests, with 3-5 days in between each harvest. One sign that your beans have finished producing is when the temperatures have dropped, and they are no longer delivering flowers.
The bush bean variety will reach up to 2 feet tall, and the flowers will bloom around the stalk. With pole beans, they will continue to run 10-15 tall, so you can keep an eye on the ends of the vines to see if they have stopped creeping.
When the beans are experiencing temperatures outside of the 65-85°F range, they will slow down and stop production.
Optimal Green Bean Growing Season
The optimal growing season for green beans is spring, and the seeds should germinate after the last spring frost date.
Green beans grow best when they are sown directly in the ground in the spring and summer; this will also largely depend on what variety you are growing, so check with the seed packet for ideal sowing months.
The soil will need to be no less than 50F, so keep checking with a thermometer before planting, and you can always use a black plastic sheet to warm up the soil beforehand.
FAQ About Green Bean Growth Stages
What are the four stages of a green bean plant?
The four main stages of the bean plants growth cycle are from seed to germination, followed by leaf growth and flowering.
After flowering, the seed pods will form and are ready to harvest.
How many times does a green bean plant produce?
Bush bean varieties will produce all at once, whereas pole bean varieties will keep growing 5-10 times over a month while still being harvested.
Green beans are a great crop to grow, providing fresh beans during the summer. Green beans are stored really easily in the freezer, too, so if you end up with an abundance, they will keep to the following season.
They are practically carefree plants and can add nutrients to the soil with their nitrogen-fixing characteristics. Because of this, green beans make a great crop to plant in a position where a heavy-feeling crop will follow.
Green beans of the pole variety are my favorite and are great to grow to cover a pergola or archway. This year I will be planting a crop on my fence line to act as a privacy screen.
At the end of the harvesting stage, you can leave a batch of pods on the stem to fully mature and save the seeds for the following year. This makes green beans a worthwhile and steady crop to grow.
The bush bean varieties will be produced all at once, so you will have one big harvest, and they are great if you only have a little time and cannot keep picking every three days.
With such a wide variety of green beans, you will find a cultivar to suit your garden and conditions.