In-home gardens, green beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) are one of the first crops most people consider for their vegetable gardens. For several reasons, starting with green beans may produce a good yield even with the most challenging conditions. Second, you don’t need to be an expert gardener to achieve the best outcomes.
However, while growing fresh green beans, some things to consider, and green bean spacing is sitting at the top of the list. The spacing of the green bean plants can directly affect how well they grow because perfect spacing means your pole green beans can grow without fighting for nutrients or sunlight.
If you plant without considering how far apart to plant your string beans, you might get a smaller yield and smaller beans when harvesting green beans. In our guide, you can learn more about how far apart to plant bush beans and other bean varieties to get the best veggies and the largest yields. (Learn What Is Eating My Green Bean Leaves)
How Much Space Do Green Beans Need?
Knowing how large a bean patch you need starts with knowing the types of beans, you’ll grow. Here’s a quick overview of types and growing fundamentals to grow fresh beans effectively.
Green Bean Basics
Green beans are warm annuals, and growing conditions for bush, pole, half-runner beans and string beans (aka snap beans) are comparable.
Pole beans grow 10 feet tall and need a sturdy trellis, fence, or teepee. 11 to 12 weeks after planting, your beans are ready to pick, and harvests last 6-8 weeks.
Half-runner beans grow 3- to 4-foot vines. While generally cultivated like bush beans, trellises may support your vines to harvest additional beans.
Bush beans grow into 12- to 24-inch bush-like plants. By planting in two rows, the plants support each other. If grown in large containers, consider staking the delicate stems as the bush beans grow flowers and bean pods.
Seven to eight weeks after planting, the harvest may last three weeks. Plant green beans every two to three weeks if you want a longer harvest.
Green Bean Types
Sizes and colors of green beans vary, and green bean pods may be gold or red and turn green when cooked.
Green beans are plucked when tender before the seeds inside the pods enlarge.
Bush-type green beans include ‘Bountiful,’ ‘Bush Blue Lake,’ ‘Greensleeves,’ and ‘Tendercrop.’
Pole beans are more tolerant to hot weather than bush beans. So if you have a sunny spot where they can climb a trellis or wire fence, plant ‘Climbing French,’ ‘Kentucky Blue,’ ‘Lazy Housewife,’ and ‘Oriental Yard-Long.’
‘Brittle Wax,’ ‘Goldcrop,’ ‘Gold Rush,’ and ‘Wax Romano’ are yellow wax beans.
The heirloom ‘Red Swan’ bush bean has many blooms and red beans, while ‘Purple Queen’ has purple pods and is resistant to mosaic bean virus and anthracnose. Violet-purple Royal Burgundy is also disease-resistant.
Pole beans can grow yellow, red, and purple cultivars, such as ‘Monte Gusto,’ ‘Asparagus Red Podded,’ and ‘Purple King.’ ‘Trionfo Violetto’ are purple beans with brilliant green leaves, purple veins, purple stems, and lavender blooms. (Read Do Deer Eat Green Beans)
Difference Between Bush Beans and Pole Beans?
Growing style is the fundamental difference between bush and pole green beans.
- Bush beans grow compactly and don’t need a trellis.
- Pole beans grow as climbing vines that can reach 10 to 15 feet tall and require a trellis or staking.
Pros and cons
- Bush beans require less maintenance because of their size, but pole beans yield more beans for longer and are mainly disease-resistant.
- Bush beans produce in 50 to 55 days; pole beans take 55 to 65 days.
- Plant bush beans every two weeks for a constant harvest. If you keep harvesting pole beans, the vines will continue to grow and produce for another month or two. Thus, you’ll get more beans per square foot than bush types.
Beans grow best in well-draining soil with normal fertility and an acidic to neutral pH (6.0–7.0).
They don’t need supplemental fertilizer because they fix their own nitrogen.
Poor soil should be treated with manure or compost in the fall before planting or do the same a week before spring planting.
Set up pole bean supports before planting to avoid the shallow roots.
Beans roots hate to be disturbed, so you can see why the spacing is vital as you can’t dig them up and space them later.
When Do I Plant Green Beans
Green beans are a warm-weather crop that should be planted after the spring frost—plant beans in full sun.
Seed when the soil temperature reaches 70 F (21 C). Most beans are direct-seeded outdoors since they germinate quickly and don’t transplant well.
Green beans grow well in raised beds, pots, and planters.
Pole beans require a container that is at least 18 inches in diameter and filled with high-quality potting mix and compost.
How to plant bush beans
Sow bush bean seeds 1-inch deep and 2 inches apart in rows 18 to 24-inch rows after the last frost.
Once the plants are growing nicely, thin them to 6 inches.
Beans don’t need a long growing season, but for the longest harvest, plant bush bean seeds every two to three weeks until approximately two months before the first forecast fall frost.
How to plant pole beans
Before you grow pole beans, build trellises or teepees to support their heavy vines.
Sow seeds 1 inch deep and 3 inches apart for trellised pole beans, then thin. It’s best to plant pole bean seeds 6 inches apart to save work.
For a teepee, use poles at least 7 feet tall and plant six to eight seeds around the base of each pole.
Can I Plant Beans Close Together?
Too many beans planted close together compete for soil minerals and water. If all the bean seeds you plant are similarly powerful, this won’t be a problem.
Green bean plants will struggle against competing plants to absorb nutrients and moisture, thus leaving some dried and abandoned.
Closely spaced green bean plants will produce fruit, yet not all plants will deliver veggies as expected.
Too-close-together bean seeds complicate disease control. Diseases and pests can spread quickly since these plants don’t have territories.
When stems and roots touch a lot, expect the circumstances to spread to the entire garden in days or hours.
It’s best to leave as much space as you can between green bean plants, and you may get a better harvest with fewer plants.
Below are steps to follow for spacing green bean seeds:
Ensure you’ve optimized the planting environment for temperature, soil quality, moisture, acidity, etc.
- Bush green beans require a 1-inch hole which needs to be 2 inches apart. Therefore, each hole will have 4 inches of space between the next hole.
- Pole beans require extra consideration. While the hole must be 1 inch deep, extra space is needed between them.
- Each of these 1-inch-deep holes must be 3 inches apart. So we’re talking about six inches of space surrounding a hole.
What Month Is Best To Plant Green Beans?
Green beans are warm-season crops sown in the spring once the threat of frost has gone.
Green beans do best when the air temperature is between 65°F and 85°F; green beans do best when the air temperature is between 65°F and 85°F; green beans do best when the air temperature is between 65°F and 85°F As a result, the soil temperature must be at least 55°F for green bean seeds to germinate successfully.
If you’re growing beans in rows, space them 18 to 24 inches apart. For example, make them about 16 to 18 inches wide and 16 inches apart for wide rows.
Within the row, the green bean plant spacing of your beans needs to be at least 3 to 4 inches apart. For extensive bush bean cultivation, use the same spacing.
How far apart to plant beans? Pole beans require at least 3 to 4 inches between plants. How you support yours makes a difference in getting the proper spacing.
Between planting areas, a metal fence panel requires 18 inches. Beans need 1 foot between them, although bean teepees need 3 feet.
Growing pole beans can be done on little mounds or hills, with at least 5 or 6 seeds per hill.
Space the hills at least 40 inches apart and be sure to determine the green bean plant spacing while planting. (Read Companion Planting Garden Layout Guide)
Mexican bean beetles and other insect issues can be avoided by placing row covers on your green bean plant when young.
Powdery Mildew is another concern. If you get this fungus, you need to destroy infected leaves or plants, but resistant varieties may be available.
Also, if possible, plant in full sun, allow for enough air circulation and spray plants with 1 teaspoon baking soda diluted in 1-quart water to destroy crop residue.
Another reason to correctly space your green bean plant spacing is that the seeds and plant growth at the start, as you can see.
Other insects and diseases you can find because your crops are too close and spread are as follows:
Shriveled seeds; scarred, dimpled, or malformed pods; yellow/white markings on leaves; eggs, typically keg-shaped, in clusters on leaf undersides
Although bugs give off a stink, handpick, so make sure you wear gloves. Destroy eggs and spray nymphs using insecticidal soap. You can use row covers when plants are small enough; weed till your soil in fall to help.
White Mold Fungus
Pale gray or water-soaked cause enlarged and sprout white, cottony growth, subsequently with black particles, on stems, leaves, and other plant components.
You can find rotted crowns, pods, and wilted or collapsed plants with these bleached areas.
You will need to destroy infected plants and ensure good air circulation and water in the morning rather than the evening.
Wilted and stunted plants can result from sticky “honeydew” or sooty, black mold, or even yellow/silver areas on leaves.
When startled, adults fly, and they can easily transmit viruses from here.
It is best to remove infected leaves and plants, or you can remove pests with a handheld vacuum. An easier way is to spray water on the undersides of leaves.
Also, you could use yellow sticky traps around your plants. Spray with insecticidal soap besides leaving pest control up to beneficial insects and hummingbirds. You can weed and use row covers and cover with reflecting mulch.
Trap wireworms by digging 2- to 4-inch-deep holes every 3 to 10 feet, filling them with a mix of germinating beans, corn, peas, or potato sections as bait, covering them with soil or a board, and uncovering and killing them after a week.
Seeds should be planted in warm soil to ensure early germination; sufficient drainage should be provided; plant debris should be removed; and crops should be rotated.
With all the above, you’ll have healthy yields, and to store beans, keep them in plastic bags inside your refrigerator.