How to plant Spanish beans

Phaseolus coccineus

Spanish beans are a climbing plant that can exceed three meters in height. Most cultivars have red flowers and pink or streaked seeds, but there are cultivars with white flowers and seeds, and cultivars with pink or bicolor flowers. Its immature pods and seeds at any stage of development can be eaten cooked, but this species is also much appreciated as an ornamental plant in gardens. There are also a few small cultivars, which reach only about 40 cm in height.


Spanish beans can be grown in regions with temperatures between 14 ° C and 30 ° C. In places where winter has low temperatures, this bean is grown only during the warm months of the year. In regions where the winter is mild, this plant is perennial and can produce for several years.


This plant needs high light, with direct sunlight for at least a few hours a day.


Cultivate in well-drained, deep, fertile soil rich in organic matter. The ideal soil pH is 6 to 7.5.

This plant can form a symbiotic association with bacteria known as rhizobia or rhizobium, capable of fixing the nitrogen in the air in the soil such as ammonia or nitrate, thus providing the necessary nitrogen for the plant and further enriching the soil with this nutrient.


Irrigate in order to keep the soil always moist, without being soaked.


Sow directly at the final location, at a depth of approximately 5 cm. Optionally, Spanish bean seeds can be pre-germinated before planting, leaving the seeds in a container with moistened paper towels or blotting paper.

The spacing can be 60 cm between the planting lines, with 15 cm between the plants for annual cultivation.


Most cultivars of Spanish beans are climbers and need a support about 2.4 m high or more, such as bamboo poles, wooden poles, fences, trellises or arbor.

Remove invasive plants that are competing for nutrients and resources.


Harvesting can start from 90 to 120 days after sowing, and may vary with the planted cultivar and cultivation conditions. The pods are harvested when well developed, 15 to 25 cm long, but still young and tender, before the seeds begin to swell in the pods. The seeds are usually harvested when the pods are completely dry, although they can also be harvested when they are still immature.

Spanish beans, like common beans, should not be eaten raw, as they contain phytohemagglutinin, a toxic lectin. Cooking destroys this substance.

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