Guide on Growing Runner Beans

Guide on Growing Runner Beans

Runner beans are one of the most reliable vegetables to grow. Not only do they produce a delicious crop of beans with very little effort but they will also produce a charming display of flowers around July time.

With the recent changes to our everyday living habits, many are now beginning to explore new hobbies. One such hobby seems to be growing your own food at home, so the whole family is self-sufficient. Check out our guide on growing your own food and 10 easy vegetables to grow at home.

Our gardening angels have put together a short but informative guide on how to grow your own runner beans.

When to sow runner beans

We suggest you sow runner beans indoors around April time in deep pots or root trainers or directly in soil ideally in a greenhouse to get better germination and to harvest an earlier crop of beans. Sowing in pots is an effective method of preventing slugs and snails from eating young plants. Likewise, you can use wildlife friendly slug pellets or cover soil with crushed egg shells to deter any slugs or snails.

Good germination seedlings can be planted out once the frost has disappeared, normally later in May. If you choose to, you can sow your seeds outside in May-June, but these won’t start flowering until July-August.

Runner beans tend to need moisture absorbent soil with a lot of well-rotted organic matter. Avoid adding manure instantly before planting as this will encourage foliage rather than beans.

If you only have a small space you grow runner beans in containers, why not check out our range of self-watering planters – many of which are ideal for growing in small spaces. Planters such as the Quadgrow will keep your runner beans perfectly watered. We suggest you add a thick layer of mulch to the compost surface to hold in the moisture and keep your pot from being exposed to the sun on warmer days. 

grow runner beans

Types of runner bean to grow

Whichever variety of runner bean you wish to grow, there are plenty to choose from. There is one to choose for every need!

Here are a list of some varieties:

-          Jackpot, Benchmaster, Scarlet Emperor, Firestorm, Snowstorm, Celebration, St. George.

Here are the different cultivars:

-          Climbing runner beans, Dwarf Runner Beans, Bi-Coloured.

runner beans

How to grow runner beans

1) Sowing Runner Beans Indoors

During April onwards, you can sow runner beans in small pots and transplant them onto bigger pots/beds down the line. Fill your pot with compost, making a 5cm deep hole for your seeds using a dibber. Firm down the compost and give your plant a water.

You will find your beans germinate in about 7 days and grow remarkably fast. We suggest you harden your beans off for around 9 days before potting them outside. Check your beans have fully rooted as an indicator of when to plant them on and ensure all frost risks have passed, normally around the end of May.

2) Sowing Runner Beans Outdoors

If you chose not to sow them indoors, try doing it outdoors. Do this from May-July. Again sow them around 5cm deep with a 30cm space of each other in adjacent rows roughly 45cm apart from each other.

Where space is limited, you can try planting Runner Beans against a wigwam structure - they make an eye-catching feature in your flower borders. They are perfectly happy growing in containers too, so you can even harvest a tasty crop from your patio.

If you only have a small space to work with, plant your runner beans on a wigwam structure. This can be done constructing three or more bamboo canes, they even add interest to mixed garden borders.

We suggest sowing a couple more seeds at the end of each row, as some seeds may have failed to germinate as well.

runner beans

Harvesting runner beans

You can harvest your runner beans from July when they reach 20cm long. Ensure you harvest them every 2 or 3 days making sure they are tender and to avoid them becoming stringy. If you find that there are too many beans to eat, freeze them or compost the excess to boost further fruiting.

Don’t forget that Greenhouse Sensation is still operating as normal, albeit with delivery times of up to 21 days, so if you need any fresh gardening supplies then we’re still here to help.