- French Beans in my opinion are a much easier crop to grow than their runner bean cousins as they rarely have the problem of flower setting, normally resulting in a much more consistent harvest.
- For the best results French Beans will need to be grown in full sun, so make sure to plant them in one of the sunniest spots in the garden.
- Do not start French beans too early as they do not like the cold. Any frost will kill them or at least badly damage the plant.
- French beans come in a wide range of varieties but are normally grouped into either: Bush, Dwarf or Climbing
- If you are growing a climbing variety they will need shelter and deep fertile soil.
- All varieties can be grown in containers, however, bush or dwarf varieties are the best options in you are planning a container garden.
Sowing & Growing
- As with most plants I recommend sowing the seeds in seed modules or small pots, inside a propagator, greenhouse or polytunnel to get a head start on the growing season. French beans need at least 11*c to germinate, if sowing directly it would be a good idea to warm up the soil under cloche or fleece.
- If the seeds are being sown inside, start sowing in late March, if you are directly sowing outside, wait until the last frost date which is normally in May.
- For dwarf varieties sow 5cm deep in blocks 40cm apart, 15cm between plants. This is closer than recommended but with good watering and feeding they will be fine.
Between each plant
Between each row
- If growing in pots inside plant out at 10cm high and harden off for 10 days
- The growing methods and rules are the same for French beans as they are for Runner beans so make sure to check out our Runner Bean grow guide.
- Most French beans are self-pollinating making them an easier crop to grow.
- From seed to harvest is approximately 9 to 13 weeks
- I highly recommend you pick the pods at 10cm for the best flavour and texture.
- Once all pods have been picked, water well and feed with liquid fertiliser you might get another albeit smaller crop
- I often find Dwarf varieties crop faster but climbers bear pods for longer. Try all the different varieties but keep growing space in mind when selecting what one to grow.
- Blamhilden: Climber, long purple pods turn green when cooked
- Cobra: Cimber with mauve flowers
- Purple tepee: Dwarf purple pods that turn green when cooked
- Safari: Cultiver of stringless beans
- Sonesta: Washy butter yellow dwarf variety