How Do Green Beans Grow? – Growth Habits & Commercial Grows

Green beans are separated into two major categories based on how they grow, vining and bush. There are different varieties of each type. Bush beans grow into a bush of about 2’x2′ that stands on its own and vining types grow up a trellis or other support and reach 6′-20′ tall.

Green Beans Grown In Fields

Green beans grown in fields are more commonly bush beans used for canned or frozen beans. The labor cost of hand harvesting pole beans and setting up trellises, training the plants up the trellises, and taking down trellises at the end of the season makes pole beans cost prohibitive in most fields.

how do green beans grow in fields
On the left are pole beans being grown in the field with bamboo poles with a large piece of cord going across from pole to pole and pieces of twine run from the ground to the cord. On the right are bush beans being grown in the field that don’t require support.

Most green beans grown in fields will be canned or frozen. The Green Giant processing centers where this is done are a big reason that Wisconsin is the #1 green bean producing state. Since most green beans are canned or frozen the size and location of processing centers limits the amount of green beans that farmers grow.

Green beans are a fast maturing crop reaching harvest time in 55 to 60 days. The crop does well with temperatures between 60-80 degrees. Most of the harvesting of green beans will start in the south and move north because southern farmers are able to get them planted earlier.

Here are two sample budgets for green bean field crops. This one is for a green bean field in Pennsylvania and this one for a green bean field in San Joaquin Valley, California.

Green Beans Grown In a Greenhouse

Green beans grown in greenhouses are typically pole beans that are run up twine and pruned regularly to keep their production focused on the main vine.

The pole beans in greenhouses typically will grow up to 15′ high. Late fall and early spring are common times green beans are grown in greenhouses. Varieties like French pole beans and Yardlong beans are well suited for growing indoors and are heavy yielders.

To learn what states and countries green beans grow in and where green beans originate check out “Where Do Green Beans Grow?“.

Do Green Beans Grow On Vines or Trees?

Green beans grow on vines or in a bush form. Green beans do not grow on trees but grown over an arbor the thick growth of bean vines can sometimes look like a tree.

green bean arbor
This is our profile picture at thepoolgardener. It’s my dad standing under green bean vines that start in the shallow end of the pool and run up a makeshift wooden trellis 10′ tall and then grow horizontally on twine from the top of the trellis to the porch roof another 10 feet. By the end of the growing season it makes a pretty solid arbor.

Bush varieties of green beans will grow to be 2’x2′ and do not need support to grow. Vining varieties will grow to be 6′-20′ tall and will have runners that can reach sideways that are about a foot long.

The Catalpa tree has long bean pods and it is sometimes called the “bean tree”. These are not green beans though and the seeds are not edible.

Do Green Beans Regrow After Picking?

Green beans will not regrow after picking but will continue to produce flowers and green beans for a period. Bush green beans have a shorter production time than pole beans. Bush beans will produce for about 2-3 weeks and pole beans will produce for 4-6 weeks.

Regular harvesting of green beans while they are young and tender will give you more crisp and tasty green beans and promote more flower development on the plant. More flower development leads to more bean production.

Do Green Beans Grow Back Every Year?

Green beans are annuals, not perennials. The root system and vegetative growth above ground will die when it becomes too cold and the plant will not grow back the following year.

However, green beans are strong growers and it’s tough to get all the bean pods at harvest time. So having volunteer green beans growing in the same spot that you grew green beans in last year is very possible.

How Long Does It Take to Grow Green Beans?

Green beans are quick growing crops. Bush beans produce before pole beans and most varieties are ready to pick in 50-55 days. Pole beans take 2-3 weeks longer and are ready to pick in 65-80 days.

Green beans taste best when harvested while immature before the beans start to bulge in the pod. These green beans will be more crisp and slightly sweeter.

These fresh immature beans are great for sautéing or light cooking. The young immature beans are also the best choice for eating raw green beans. The more mature the bean becomes the more lectins it contains.

Do Green Beans Need a Trellis?

It depends on whether the variety you want to grow is a bush bean or a pole bean. If it is a pole bean it will require some type of support to climb. You can grow pole beans along a fence or use any type of structure you can think up for the beans to climb.

If pole beans reach the top of the support and you don’t feel like adding more support you can prune the top of the plants and encourage side growth that can grow sideways across existing supports.

Native Americans would grow beans with corn and allow the beans to grow up the corn stalk. The ways to support your pole beans are endless and as long as you give these natural climbers a rope to climb they will make good use of it.

How Tall Do Green Beans Grow?

how tall do green beans grow - bush vs vine green beans
Bush beans on the right will grow about two feet tall and pole beans on the left from 8 to 20 feet tall.

Bush beans grow about 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide and like the name implies form into a bush. Pole beans can grow up to 20 feet tall and send runners sideways that are a foot or two long.

When you plant pole beans you want to have some sort of trellis in place at the time of planting so you don’t disturb the roots putting it in later on.

Start to train the beans up the poles as they grow. You may find a variety that is called a half-runner bean. These varieties need support to climb and end up around 3-5 feet tall with more side growth.

Check out “How To Plant Green Bean Seeds” for some information on the seed planting process.

Please comment below with any thoughts, questions, or experiences you have about how green beans grow.

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