Methods to Plant and Develop Scarlet Runner Beans

Phaseolus coccineus

Cherished by gardeners for each their decorative and edible qualities, scarlet runner beans have brilliant crimson flowers that entice pollinators along with the edible pods and beans.

Plus, these climbing vegetation have some benefits over common pole beans and there are various totally different cultivars you may develop!

A close up horizontal image of scarlet runner beans growing in the vegetable garden in full bloom.

We hyperlink to distributors that will help you discover related merchandise. In the event you purchase from considered one of our hyperlinks, we could earn a fee.

With brilliant crimson blooms, these legumes are a beautiful annual choice for creating climbing screens and protecting trellises – and so they even have edible pods, seeds, flowers, and roots.

Able to learn to develop these red-flowered legumes? Right here’s what we’ll cowl:

What Are Scarlet Runner Beans?

Scarlet runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus) are vining vegetation that produce edible inexperienced pods and brilliant crimson flowers.

Vines can attain seven ft lengthy – or extra – and are coated with alternate leaves, every of which is made up of three spade-shaped leaflets. These leaves are edible.

A close up horizontal image of a pile of 'Celebration' runner beans set on a wooden surface.

The seeds contained in the pods are beautiful and may be eaten each contemporary, when they’re shades of purple or lavender, and as soon as they mature to a darkish blueish-black hue mottled with purple or gentle brown. Some varieties have white seeds.

Earlier than pods set, nevertheless, the vines are coated with eye-catching blooms in a brilliant scarlet hue – crimson with an orangish tint.

A close up horizontal image of the bright red flowers of scarlet runners pictured on a soft focus background.

Some varieties have white, pink, or purple coloured flowers.

Cultivation and Historical past

P. coccineus is native to Mexico and Central America. It grows in its native vary at mid to excessive elevations the place nights are cool, and in a variety of open habitats.

This leguminous species has been used for meals by people for a minimum of 5500 years, however maybe as many as 7000 years.

A close up vertical image of scarlet runner beans growing in a corn field using the corn as natural trellis.
P. coccineus rising up corn for help in an instance of companion planting. Picture by Awkiku, Wikimedia Commons, by way of CC BY-SA.

P. coccineus was described taxonomically in 1753, and was grown by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello in 1812.

This species is a member of the legume household, associated to such various stars of the backyard and panorama as inexperienced beans (P. vulgaris), redbud bushes (Cercis spp.), and fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)!

In Spanish they’re referred to as “ayocote,” and in English these vegetation are often known as “runners,” “multiflora beans,” and generally “butter beans” – although the latter identify is most frequently used for his or her relative, the lima bean.

Fashionable within the UK as a backyard crop, within the US, scarlet runner beans are extra generally grown as ornamentals than for his or her edible qualities, and pollinators take pleasure in their blooms as effectively.

A close up horizontal image of a bee feeding on the nectar of a scarlet runner bean flower pictured in bright sunshine on a soft focus background.
Bumble bee forages from flower.

Though many are tempted to develop these vegetation uniquely for his or her decorative blooms, all components of the plant are edible – pods, seeds, foliage, and tuberous roots!

Whether or not grown for meals or for his or her stunning flowers, ayocote may be grown as a brief lived perennial in USDA Hardiness Zones 7 to 11, and as an annual in colder zones.

Methods to Sow Scarlet Runner Beans

The easiest way to propagate these vegetation is by way of direct sowing since these vegetation have delicate roots that don’t like being transplanted.

A horizontal image of a pile of shelled 'Painted Lady' runner seeds set on a wooden surface.
Scarlet runner seeds.

You’ll want to attend till one to 2 weeks has handed after your final common frost to sow your seeds, since though this crop is tolerant of cool climate, it isn’t immune to frost.

First set up your trellis, teepee, or different climbing help, and the day earlier than you propose to sow, water the soil in order that it’s moist.

A close up horizontal image of scarlet runners in full bloom climbing up a wooden trellis in the garden.

In anticipation of sowing, you’ll additionally need to supply out some inoculant in your scarlet runner beans.

Be certain the product you select accommodates R. leguminosarum biovar phaseoli.

I like to recommend Exceed Backyard Mixture Inoculant, which incorporates this bacterium and inoculates all kinds of legumes.

A close up square image of a packet of Exceed Garden Combination Inoculant set on a wooden surface.

Exceed Backyard Mixture Inoculant

Exceed Backyard Mixture is out there in one-and-a-half-ounce packets, sufficient to deal with eight kilos of seeds, by way of Excessive Mowing Natural Seeds.

Apply the inoculant proper earlier than you’re able to sow.

Put the seeds in a small bowl with a little bit water so they’re evenly moist, then sprinkle the inoculant over the seeds.

Study extra about utilizing inoculants with legumes in our information.

In the event you’re rising scarlet runner beans in a raised mattress following the sq. foot gardening methodology, sow eight seeds per sq. foot. In case you are planting in rows, sow one seed each six inches.

Planning to sow your scarlet runner beans in containers? Study extra about rising greens in containers with our article!

Poke one-inch-deep holes within the soil or rising medium with a dibber, your finger, or a pencil.

Drop one seed into every gap, then shut the opening up by squishing the soil collectively and patting down the floor to make sure good contact.

Water within the seeds after sowing, and preserve the realm evenly moist whereas seeds germinate and seedlings change into established.

Methods to Develop Scarlet Runner Beans

This species tolerates cooler climates than sorts of the widespread bean (P. vulgaris), so in case you stay at a excessive elevation and expertise cool nights within the summertime, this crop could be very blissful in your location!

A horizontal image of the flowers and foliage of scarlet runner beans growing in the garden.

P. coccineus grows fortunately at temperatures between 60 to 90°F.

Nonetheless, fruit set can decelerate when temperatures rise above 90°F, so don’t count on a bumper crop in case you stay in a location with a number of months of 100°F climate throughout the summer season.

In the event you’re planning to develop your scarlet runner beans on a teepee model trellis, ensure that the opening of the teepee is going through north, in order that the majority of the vines are receiving southern publicity.

A vertical image of scarlet runner bean vines growing up a teepee trellis outside a residence.

These legumes want full solar, organically-rich, well-draining soil with a pH vary of 6.0 to six.8, and a considerably moist rising medium – ensure that they obtain one to 1 and a half inches of water per week.

Need to develop this crop together with some companion vegetation? Learn up on the very best companion vegetation for beans in our article.

Rising Ideas

  • Develop in full solar.
  • Enable vines to climb a trellis or different help.
  • Preserve soil moist.


Whereas younger vegetation are getting established, it’s vital to remain on prime of weeding as a result of weeds can outcompete and smother small seedlings.

In the event you really feel such as you spend an excessive amount of time on that gardening chore, perhaps it’s time to learn to weed extra effectively! Learn our article to study extra.

A close up horizontal image of scarlet runner beans with bright red flowers growing up a wooden trellis.
Picture by Dinkum, Wikimedia Commons, by way of Public Area.

Mulching across the base of vegetation might help stop weed competitors, whereas additionally saving time and sources spent watering.

I favor utilizing flowering floor covers as dwelling mulches across the base of my runner beans, akin to candy alyssum and nasturtiums.

Study extra about mulching in our information.

To overwinter scarlet runner bean tubers within the floor, don’t dig them up when vegetation begin to die again. As an alternative, use a pair of pruners to clip the vine again a few inches above the soil.

In USDA Hardiness Zones 7 and eight, cowl the tubers with a couple of inches of mulch to guard them from chilly winter climate.

Relying on the size of your rising season, these tubers could not develop very huge.

In the event you aren’t making an attempt to overwinter them, throw the tubers into your compost pile on the finish of the rising season along with your different backyard detritus!

Scarlet Runner Bean Cultivars to Choose

When selecting which sort of scarlet runner bean to develop, you’ll have your decide amongst a number of sorts:

Black Knight

‘Black Knight’ is an heirloom runner selection that produces crimson blooms adopted by black pods.

Seeds are pink when contemporary however flip black and lavender as they dry.

Vines attain seven to 10 ft tall, with pods prepared to reap beginning in 65 days.

‘Black Knight’

You’ll discover packs of fifty ‘Black Knight’ seeds from the Park Seed Retailer by way of Amazon.

Woman Di

‘Woman Di’ has the basic crimson blooms we love these vegetation for, and produces stringless pods which might be tender at six to seven inches lengthy and comprise black seeds.

Vines attain 10 ft tall, and mature in 84 to 100 days.

Scarlet Emperor

‘Scarlet Emperor’ is the scarlet runner bean selection you’re most definitely to return throughout, identified for its good crimson flowers on vines that attain 4 to seven ft tall.

Pods comprise seeds which might be black, mottled with purple, and are prepared to reap in 75 days.

A close up square image of a white bowl of dried black and pink scarlet runner seeds with dry pods in the background.

‘Scarlet Emperor’

You’ll discover ‘Scarlet Emperor’ in quite a lot of packet sizes accessible at Eden Brothers.

Managing Pests and Illness

Like different backyard legumes, scarlet runner beans may be focused by pests and ailments, notably when vegetation are confused.

You may assist them resist these onslaughts by cultivating the vegetation in optimum circumstances.

Past offering this legume with the very best solar, soil, and water circumstances, interplanting them with companion vegetation may assist deter pests.

Study extra concerning the scientifically confirmed advantages of companion vegetation in our information.

Listed below are the most typical pests and ailments to maintain an eye fixed out for:


In the case of wildlife snacking in your runners, you’ll need to be cautious of deer.

Deer fencing is the simplest technique of conserving these browsers out of your backyard – however there are different methods that can assist as effectively.

Learn our article for tips about deer-proofing your backyard to study extra.

Rabbits can even gladly snack in your legume crop.

The easiest way to maintain them out is by putting in fencing with small openings, akin to hen wire, however there are a couple of different techniques you could need to strive first, which you may study in our information.


Bugs can compromise a legume crop, making harvests inedible. Right here’s what to look out for:


Aphids are tiny sapsucking bugs which may colonize the foliage, the place they suck vitamins, weakening vegetation and generally spreading ailments.

You could discover discolored or curling leaves earlier than you discover the aphids themselves, that are normally hiding on the undersides of foliage.

Generally all you might want to do to eliminate aphids is to spray a powerful jet of water out of your hose. Repeat this removing technique every day for a few week, then control the foliage. If aphids don’t come again you’re within the clear!

Study extra about the way to management aphids right here.


You might have admired your scarlet runner bean seedlings sprouting from the soil, solely to return a day or two later and spot that these seedlings now look fairly odd.

If there’s solely a stem remaining the place there was once leaves, or the leaves of the seedling have instantly vanished, go forward and blame the cutworms.

These larval caterpillars hand around in the soil, and await the solar to go down earlier than popping out from their lairs to chew by means of the tender stems and leaves of younger seedlings.

Fortunately, it’s not too onerous to cease them, particularly since these legume seedlings are pretty giant in measurement.

A collar comprised of an empty rest room paper roll may be inserted into the soil round every seedling to forestall cutworms from reaching the stems.

Study extra about making cutworm collars in addition to different choices for controlling these pests.

Mexican Bean Beetles

Mexican bean beetles are a sort of ladybug that can munch on plant leaves, leaving foliage skeletonized when infestations are extreme.

Not like the brilliant crimson ladybugs which might be useful bugs, these beetles have a yellowish orange to copper brown coloration.

A close up horizontal image of a Mexican bean beetle on a leaf pictured in bright sunshine.
Mexican bean beetle.

You may stop issues with these pests by encouraging the presence of pure predators akin to inexperienced lacewings and useful ladybugs.

Study extra about natural management strategies for beetles on bean vegetation in our information.


Right here’s what to look at for in the case of ailments:


In the event you discover brown or black lesions on vines, foliage, or pods, you could be coping with anthracnose.

A fungal illness brought on by Colletotrichum lindemuthianum, anthracnose may be unfold by means of contaminated seed or plant particles, particularly in heat, damp circumstances.

In the event you discover this illness amongst your crops, take away the affected vegetation, and don’t develop any sorts of beans in that very same location for one more two years.

Even higher although – stop this illness from concentrating on your legume crops. You are able to do so by selecting to irrigate on the base of vegetation as a substitute of with sprinklers, selecting disease-free seed, and rotating crops.

Damping Off

Damping off can kill off younger seedlings shortly after they’ve emerged from the soil. Seedlings sprout, however then begin to weaken, look sickly, and wilt, by no means to get well.

This plant illness is brought on by fungal organisms within the soil, so prevention is crucial – take care to not overwater as a result of soggy soil can encourage the expansion of those undesirable fungi!

In case you are rising your scarlet runner beans in containers, ensure that to make use of clear pots. If they’ve been used beforehand, sterilize them earlier than reuse.

Study extra about damping off in our information.

Powdery Mildew

You’ll acknowledge powdery mildew, one other fungal illness, by the presence of powdery white spores on the floor of the foliage – particularly within the components of the plant shaded by different crops, or on the bases of the vegetation the place daylight doesn’t penetrate as effectively.

The easiest way to manage this illness is thru prevention. Be certain to plant these legumes in full solar and house vegetation correctly to permit loads of air circulation.

Learn our article to study extra about the way to deal with powdery mildew organically.


If you wish to take pleasure in consuming the pods of your scarlet runner beans, on the whole, you’ll need to decide them when they’re round 4 inches lengthy, earlier than they attain full size.

Discover step-by-step particulars for choosing younger pods in our information to harvesting snap beans.

A close up horizontal image of a hand from the right of the frame harvesting scarlet runner bean pods from a vine in the garden.

The pods of those legume vegetation are typically more durable than these of widespread beans – and over 4 inches lengthy they are typically too robust to chew.

You may enable them (deliberately or not!) to measurement up and decide them to make use of as shellies as a substitute of pods– simply take away the attractive pinkish purple seeds from the pods, which you’ll be able to relegate to the compost.

You can too enable pods to completely mature, drying on the vines, and save the seeds as dry pulses.

A close up horizontal image of two hands from the top of the frame opening a pod of scarlet runner beans.

On this plant the younger pods, leaves, flowers, and seeds are all edible!

If you wish to have a go at consuming the leaves, ensure that to choose them when small – simply make sure you solely harvest fewer than 1 / 4 of the whole variety of leaves on every vine at a time in any other case you’ll be sacrificing your pod harvest.

Be at liberty to pluck a couple of of the beautiful crimson flowers from the vines so as to add to salads in case you are feeling experimental. Simply do not forget that with each flower you decide, that’s one much less pod in your dinner plate.


Identical to with common inexperienced beans, you might have a couple of choices in the case of preserving the bounties of your harvest.

Younger pods may be handled like inexperienced beans – they are often canned, dehydrated, frozen, or lacto-fermented.

Focused on utilizing fermentation to protect your harvest? Try the recipe for lacto-fermented pickles on our sister web site Foodal – simply substitute younger runner pods for cucumbers.

A close up horizontal image of a pile of pink and black scarlet runner beans shelled.
Dried scarlet runner beans.

As for storing the mature seeds, ensure that they’re fully dry earlier than packing them away.

Lay out the harvested, mature seeds on a drying rack in a cool darkish place in a single layer.

Test them for dryness by utilizing a fingernail to attempt to dent a seed. In the event you handle to make a dent, they want extra time drying.

As soon as dry, retailer in a jar in a cool, darkish location. This methodology is similar whether or not you’re saving these pulses as a meals staple, or as seeds to develop future crops.

Recipes and Cooking Concepts

Younger snaps can be utilized similar to inexperienced beans. Want a prep thought?

Try this recipe for garlic lemon roasted inexperienced beans on our sister web site, Foodal!

A close up horizontal image of shelled pink scarlet runner beans pictured on a wooden surface.

In the event you’re on the lookout for cooking concepts for the shelled or dry seeds, it’s onerous to beat the all-time basic: beans and rice.

This nourishing and easy combo may be dressed up in limitless methods – consider it because the little black costume of the culinary world.

Try this recipe for the very best beans and rice, additionally on Foodal.

Fast Reference Rising Information

Plant Sort: Tender perennial vine, grown as an annual Water Wants: Reasonable
Native to: Mexico, Central America Tolerance: Cool climate
Hardiness (USDA Zone): 7-11 Upkeep: Low
Season: Summer season Soil Sort: Organically wealthy loam
Publicity: Full solar Soil pH: 6.0-6.8
Time to Maturity: 65-75 days Soil Drainage: Properly-draining
Spacing: 6 inches Attracts: Bees, hummingbirds
Planting Depth: 1 inch (seeds) Companion Planting: Basil, cosmos, marigolds, nasturtiums, candy alyssum, zinnias
Top: 4-12 ft Household: Fabaceae
Unfold: 3-5 ft Genus: Phaseolus
Frequent Pests and Illness: Aphids, cutworms, Mexican bean beetles; Anthracnose, bean widespread mosaic virus, powdery mildew Species: Coccineus

Invite Miss Scarlet to the Backyard Social gathering

Now that you realize the ins and outs of rising scarlet runner beans, you may confidently embody this stunning plant in your veggie backyard or edible landscaping!

Do you might have a favourite selection we didn’t point out right here? Or do you might have any of your personal ideas you’d wish to share with our readers?

Are you utilizing something inventive as a trellis? Tell us within the feedback under. And when you have any remaining questions, be at liberty to drop them there as effectively.

Need to continue to learn about rising beans? Now we have extra studying for you proper right here:

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles