Growing the Bush Long Bean

When we think of long beans, most of us would conjure a picture of beanstalks climbing up a trellis. Climbing beans are also called pole beans. But do you know there are varieties of beans that take on a bush-like growth habit?

Bush long beans plants.

Out of curiosity, I went to buy some bush long bean seeds and grew them up a long time back. The picture above shows how the plants actually look like. Bush bean plants do not send out shoots that would otherwise seek a support to twine around. Initially, when the plants grow, they do so by growing upwards. As they continue to grow, they get weighed down by their own leaves and the plants trail along the ground subsequently.

Flowers of the bush long bean.

Depending on the cultivar, the growth habit of the bush long beans I grew was quite compact and they eventually covered up the entire planting bed. I found them quite attractive with the mounds of leaves that grew on the ground. Bush beans also make very good candidates for growing on a sunny apartment balcony. They do not require support to climb on and hence are space-savers. Do try growing them on a long trough.

The long bean pods.

The main advantage of growing bush-type bean varieties is perhaps their space-saving characteristics when compared with the climbing types. However, I have noticed that bush-type bean plants actually do not crop as heavily as conventional pole beans. In addition, because the pods they produce are close to the ground, they become the targets of snails, slugs and even ants where they get eaten away!

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6 responses to “Growing the Bush Long Bean

  1. I’ve never grown bush type long beans, so they may be different.

    For normal sized beans, besides not needing support while growing, there are two important differences with the bush varieties. The first is they are usually earlier plants, with a green beans in about 60 days and dried in 90 or so days. The second important difference is the harvest is almost always all at once.

    I like bush type beans for growing dried beans, or when I want to process a lot of green beans all at the same time. Otherwise pole types are usually better, for all the reasons you mentioned.

    Bush type beans are also just very easy. You just put the seeds in, and pull the weeds for about a month until the plants are big enough to smother the weeds on their own. Pole beans aren’t much work either, but you do need to use a pole and they don’t smother the weeds as well.

  2. Wilson, was intrigued by yr article on butterworts. Was wondering where in singapore’s local nurseries can I find some. Really interested in buying for my home. Also, it’s a good educational tool for my daughter as I’m beginning to introduce conservation and nature to her. Tks a million.


  3. I have a problem making my long beans bear fruit. It has reached great heights and is sprawling over a fairly large area (I love taking shelter beneath it). It has been 3 months now since I started and already some of my more leafy veggies are in the second season and is nearing harvest. What is wrong? Could it be that my seeds are sterile type? I bought the seeds in the garden section of a hyper-market (Tesco). Other seeds are doing fine. Btw, I am from a sub-tropical country.

    Would appreciate some advice here. Thank you ion advance.

  4. I used to have the leaves for eating. had a hard time to find the leaves since moved to Canada, except the long beans.

  5. Hi All,

    I confess that I have forgotten about having posted on this site or any site on gardening. Pepy’s comment came through my email a moment ago and to my surprise I found that i had written something earlier.

    Ok, here’s an update on the one I posted in – “John on June 20,2010″.

    1. That plant gave me a fruitful harvest subsequently! All of a sudden it started producing longbeans in a fruitful way. We had picked bundles of it and yesterday I picked the second last available. I expect to pick again one last time next week.

    2. To my surprise the flowers came in more white than purple. The previous batch, a very much healthier one, came in bright and beautiful purple flowers. This second batch, though less robust looking than the first and took a much longer time to bear seeds, yet was fruitful in its own way. Our family had a good harvest few times a week. Praise be to God!

    3. Our 3rd batch is already few inches and is promising. It is growing fast in a mixture of ‘dried grass compost and normal gardening soil’.

    5. After I transplanted a ‘dying’ tomato from a pot to a same type of ‘dried grass compost’ and normal gardening soil, it suddenly jumped into life and is shooting out enthusiastically in all directions and height. Two days ago the buds began showing!

    6. Using the same material, my ‘lady fingers’ are growing healthily too.

    7. So guys & gals. Here’s the secret. Scrape the grass off ( together with an inch or two of the top soil) in areas where they are going healthily. Just try to Pile them up and leave them for a week or two. Don’t try to clean up that pile and just leave it alone. After a about 2 weeks (longer if you prefer), just loosen up that pile and then start planting your seedlings (any variety) and watch for the magic!

    8. You will thank me for this tips. I promise you!

  6. Hey All,

    Guess what… I just recalled that my posting on the 20th June 2009 was about the FIRST batch of longbeans! I got it all confused.

    What happened to the first batch was that it gave me the riches harvest I had experienced. Why wife remarked that we picked about 20 handful of long beans during its entire fruiting period!

    The longer posting on January 6 2010 (also today) is about the SECOND batch of long beans. It gave us about 65% harvest in comparison to the first. We will have 1 last picking this week before it ends. We are letting that soil to fallow for a while.

    The third batch is growing healthily in another plot of space. I wonder whether Wilson wong will allow us to post veggie pics in this site :)

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