How to Plant, Water, and Fertilize Green Beans (Easily)

fresh bean plant growing in the garden ready to harvest

Green beans are one of the favorite veggies of children. That’s cooked or raw! They are a fast and easy garden crop, making them a staple in many vegetable gardens. How do you plant, eat, and fertilize green beans to ensure a productive crop?

The bush and pole variety of green bean is easy to plant. Get the climate right, plus the soil, sun, water, fertilize, health of bean and harvesting, support and even companion plants, and you’ll get the hang of it quickly and easily. We also explain the difference between the pole and bush green beans and how to deal with them.

1.     Planting Bush Green Beans

Bush green beans are easy and fast to grow. Most varieties can grow up to 12 to 24 inches. Sow the seeds in late spring and expect to harvest your green beans in seven to eight weeks.

Harvesting can last for about three weeks.

Plant bush green bean seeds 2 inches apart. They should also be planted 1 inch deep and in rows of between 18 to 24 inches apart. Thin them to about six inches when they start to grow.

Bush beans are easy targets of pests such as aphids, spider mites, and Mexican bean beetles.

Spray them with water as you see them or pick them off with your hands. You can also use insecticidal soap.

Weeds can also be a problem. Pick weeds as you see them—spread mulch around the base of your bush weeds to prevent the growth of weeds.

Bush green weeds will be ready for Harvesting after 50-55 days.

Best Climate for Bush Green Beans

Bush beans prefer between 650F to 850F soil and air temperatures. This is most likely in early spring and after the last frost.

Transplant your plant outside only when you are sure there is no chance of frost.

The seeds may rot in the ground before they can sprout when the soil temperature is below 600F.

Soil for Bush Green Beans

The soil should preferably have a 6.0 and 7.0 pH level and well-draining that is rich in organic matter. Place some compost six inches deep into the soil before sowing your bush seeds.

Ensure, too, that your soil is not compacted so your seeds can easily sprout from the ground.

You prevent your soil from being compacted by slightly tilling or not tilling your garden and not standing or walking on the planting beds.

Green beans can secure their own nitrogen requirement. Using rich soil aid in the growth of good-quality plants even without fertilization.

Sun Requirements for Bush Green Beans

Bush beans require full sun – between six to eight hours a day. They can also bear partial shade, although they will grow better if grown in full sun.

High temperatures, though, can make the blossoms of your plant fall. To prevent your plants from high heat, cover them with row covers.

Watering Bush Green Beans

This plant needs good drainage, but it also requires consistent moisture. Make sure to keep the raised beds, ground, or containers moist. Do not waterlog the plant, though, until germination.

Water your plants with about two inches to three inches of water per week. Do this in the morning.

It then gives the foliage sufficient time to dry before night comes so you avoid fungal disease.

Water the plants directly at their roots instead of watering them from overhead. Also, water your plant after fertilizing it.

Fertilizer for Bush Green Beans

Like other legumes, bush beans do not extract nitrogen from the soil, instead, they produce nitrogen. This means you need to use fertilizer that is low in nitrogen content. You can choose from traditional fertilizers or organic fertilizers.

Add fertilizer into your soil before planting the seeds so the fertilizer goes directly to the roots. Have a second application of fertilizer when the established plant is almost blooming.

Do a top dressing of fertilizer on your plant to provide nutrients (slow-release) as it begins to produce beans.

Avoid fertilizer with too much nitrogen because it may cause your plants to grow more leaves than pods.

The fertilizer can damage or burn your plant if fertilizer is applied directly to the base of the plant.

Health Benefits of Green Beans

Green beans are one of the oldest grown vegetables, and they come in many varieties. They are good sources of Vitamins A, C, and K. They are a good source of calcium, folic acid, and fiber, too.

Green beans provide many health benefits, including:

Boosts Energy. Green beans are magical if you struggle with low metabolism, low energies, and anemia.

Enhances Heart Health. This vegetable is packed with flavonoids for the protection of your heart. It is also rich in calcium.

Good for the Bones. Beans are rich in Vitamin K which triggers osteocalcin, a non-collagen protein in bones that traps molecules to strengthen bones.

Good for the Eyes. Beans are rich in carotenoids, Zeaxanthin, and lutein that maintain good eyesight.

Good for the Hair, Skin, and Nails. Beans are packed with a type of silicone that is easily absorbed. This silicone promotes healthy hair and skin as well as boosts skin health.

Protection against Free Radicals. Green Beans are full of antioxidants that event damage from free radical activity.

Detoxification. This vegetable has diuretic properties that detoxify your body getting rid of unwanted toxins.

Bush vs Pole Green Beans

There are many varieties of beans. They can be grown in containers and gardens.

Beans can be categorized based on their edible parts (seeds vs pods) and how they can be eaten (fresh seeds vs fresh pods vs dried seeds.

They can also be classified based on their growth habit.

When looking for green bean seeds or seedlings, you will find bush green beans and pole green beans. You will be harvesting the same green beans, but their growth patterns are different.

Harvesting Bush Beans

Bush green beans will be ready for harvesting after 50-55 days.  Make sure to harvest the beans when they are mature and still tender, about one or two weeks after flowering. Regularly picking green beans will also make them periodically produce.

Bush Beans Companion Plants

Companion plants in proximity to bush beans can aid in pollination, pest control, and maximizing space to increase the productivity of your crop.

These plans can also provide a suitable habitat for beneficial insects.

Here are some plants that work well when grown together with bush beans: 

  • Beets
  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Radish
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Potatoes
  • Eggplants
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppermint
  • Oregano

On the other hand, growing garlic, onions, chives close to bush beans can stunt the growth of the beans and these companion plants.

Susceptibility to fungal diseases is one of the most common problems when grown near bush beans.

2.     Planting Pole Green Beans

vegetable garden, bean sprout ivy crutches and climbing up on bamboo

Pole green beans grow as climbing vines. They require a stalk, tower, tepee, netting, trellis, or any type of support.

Do not start by planting pole beans indoors because they do not like being transplanted.

The plant support should be planted 1-inch deep.

Pole beans should be grown at least six inches apart. The poles should be in rows two feet apart because green beans can get huge when adequately cared for.

Besides, your pole beans should have enough room for ample air circulation.

They may grow to be 10 to 15 feet tall. Be sure that their location will not shade nearby plants from the sun later.

Avoid soaking the seeds before planting them because it may impede germination.

However, don’t fertilize your rich soil before planting. Pole beans are disease-resistant, too.

Instead of having a large harvest over a short period, pole beans have a more extended harvest season than bush beans.

The harvest season can last for about six to eight weeks. You can start harvesting pole beans after 55-65 days.

Plant your pole beans every two weeks until early August to ensure a continuous harvest.

Pole beans are ideal if you have a small gardening space.

Best Climate for Pole Green Beans

Pole green beans grow and thrive in soil with 600F to 650F temperatures. This should be the time after the last frost, about late June in cooler regions and April in warm climate regions.

Soil Requirements for Pole Green Beans

You will need well-draining soil with a pH of about 6.0 or slightly acidic soil. Beans produce nitrogen so normal and rich soil will not need fertilization to produce quality crops.

Pole beans may require a lot of organic amendment or supplemental compost. Add them in the middle to ensure a large crop and to continuously produce crops.

Sun requirements for Pole Green Beans

Pole beans require full sun – about six to eight hours of full sun per day. They can also grow in partial sun but will have a smaller yield.

It is, therefore, essential to consider a site where your pole beans will receive the most sunlight.

Be careful, too, that they do not shade the other plants that love the sun, too.

Watering of for Pole Green Beans

Water your pole beans with at least one inch of water per week. While they should not be allowed to dry out, you should not keep the soil soggy, too.

If your pole beans become dry, they will stop producing.

The soil should be moist during the growing season and give them plenty of water to produce—water directly to the soil.

Fertilizer for Pole Green Beans

A 6-12-12 fertilizer (6 being the percentage of nitrogen content, 12 is phosphorous, and the last number is potassium) is good for pole beans.

Apply two and three ounces of fertilizer per square yard. Also put a thin layer of fertilizer on each row of the pole beans. Place the fertilizer about three inches from the stalks.

Put half of the fertilizer when your pole beans are halfway up the trellis. When the beans are approximately an inch long, apply the other half.

Support for Pole Green Beans

Your pole beans will need a lot of support and you have a lot of trellising options to manage your vines.

Most gardeners buy pre-made trellises from garden centers. Some opt to make their own using recycled materials.

Here are some materials you may have at home to use as a trellis for your pole beans. 

  • Steel rebar
  • Wire fences
  • Sticks and branches from trees
  • Bamboo canes
  • Poles
  • Tepees

Make trellises in walls, arches, round structures with legs or fences for the climbing vines. There is nothing to worry about because the vines will wind and climb around any structure.

Grow giant sunflowers, squash, and corn stalks near your pole beans so they can serve as support. When your corn plant gets to be a foot high, plant some bean seeds on its base.

The cornstalk will provide support for your bean vines. The squash, on the other hand, will prevent weeds from getting to your pole beans.

If opting for a tepee, you will need to plant about eight seeds around the base of a 7-foot pole.

Any of these pole bean structures can add visual interest to your garden.  

Your young bean plant needs some help climbing their support. They need to get off the ground to prevent rotting and losing their blooms.

How to Harvest Pole Beans

Your pole beans may be fully ripened after about 55 to 60 days. It is harvesting time when the pods are swollen, full, and start protruding through their skin. The beans should be about 6 inches long by this time.

Pick your pole beans every three days to prevent the beans from getting any older. Older beans taste bitter and woody.

Lightly pull the beans from the vines. Be careful and gentle so you do not damage the blooms. Every 2 to 3 days, harvesting will encourage the growth of more flowers and will make the vines live longer.

Shallow and regular hoeing can control weeds around your plants such as aphids, beetles, seed corn maggot, spider mites, and leafhoppers. They are prone to diseases, too typically bacterial and wilt.

Crop rotation can prevent diseases from remaining in your soil. Get new seeds every year to prevent diseases borne by seeds.

Growing pole beans may entail extra effort because you need to build its support, but your plant will get more sunlight. Besides, it is easier to pick the beans from vines.

When it comes to yield and reliability, pole beans are the best. They are also great if you have a small garden space because they grow vertically rather than horizontally.

Pole Beans Companion Plants

Here are some of the best companion plants for your pole green beans. 

  • Carrots
  • Chard
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumber
  • Corn
  • Eggplants
  • Potatoes
  • Peas
  • Strawberry
  • Rosemary

On the other hand, pole beans, avoid planting beets, basil, fennel, cabbage. radish, sunflower, kohlrabi, and the onion family near your pole beans.

You can eat the entire green beans, including the pods. The delight of biting a crunchy raw green bean is hugely satisfying. 

Green beans can also be blanched, steamed, roasted, sauteed, or even enjoyed raw with salt, butter, and/or pepper. They are also great with soups and casseroles.

Snap Beans or String Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) are annual vegetables. It is also often called snap beans or string beans. These legumes are always a joy to eat fresh from your garden.

Green beans are tender annuals. Most of them are green, but they can also be red, purple, and yellow.

Green beans grow well even in limited space producing large quantities. They can be planted as bush and pole types.

How To Choose Between Bush Beans and Pole Beans

Choosing between bush green beans and pole green beans depends on your gardening space and the variety of beans available.

Bush beans grow as a short and bushy plant. Pole beans grow tall and as a pant on climbing vines.

While Both Grow Differently, They Have Many Common Features: 

  • Both require air and soil temperatures between 650F and 850F and should be planted immediately after the last frost date.
  • Both need full sun to thrive – at least eight hours of full sun a day.
  • They’re both nitrogen fixers which means they gather nitrogen from the air to supply the soil.
  • Regardless of how your green beans are grown, you will have a great and delicious crop.

Here’s The Differences Between Bush And Pole Green Beans – To Help You Choose Which Type To Grow. 

Bush beans can grow up to two feet tall but grow wide, so you must plant seeds about six inches apart.

Pole beans grow up to 12 feet tall. The width of their growth depends on the width of their support.

Bush beans are ideal for compact garden beds. Pole beans are ideal if you have a lot of garden space.

Bush beans do not need any support because they grow sturdy and short. Pole beans need the support of a sturdy trellis or any pole to grow up.

If you are not up to the extra work of building a support system, opt for bush beans.

Bush beans are more prone to a wide variety of viruses and diseases. Pole beans are a bit more resistant to diseases.

If you do not like to worry about plant diseases, pole beans are a better option.

Bush beans mature more quickly than pole beans. You can yield the produce of your bush beans all once while pole beans produce beans longer.

If you want a quick crop with less harvesting time, bush beans are for you. If you are willing to wait a bit longer before harvesting your beans but want a long harvesting season, grow pole beans.


It doesn’t matter how you choose to grow your green beans- whether bush or pole. Either way, you will have nutritious and delicious vegetables fresh from your garden.

It’s such a good thought when you know you’re feeding your family with ultra-fresh veggies and saving money at the same time!

Doesn’t that qualify for bragging rights?

Jenny Marie

Tribal Writer


Edited By

Patricia Godwin


Patricia Godwin

Patricia has many years of experience as a content writer on various subjects, but her first love is gardening. She’s never met a plant she didn’t like and, consequently, she writes about every type of plant you can think of. Once an avid gardener with a herb garden, a succulent rockery, and a rose garden – to mention a few. Nowadays, she’s constantly on the move searching for interesting plants to bring to your attention; and explain to you all the details you need to grow, care and maintain these plants.

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