Food Gardening Network

Growing Good Food at Home

Types of Green Beans

Pole beans

Pole beans

There are two basic types of green beans: bush beans and pole beans. As you might expect, bush beans are low growing and pole beans need support and grow tall. Here are some characteristics of each:

Bush beans:

  • Grow 1 to 2 feet
  • Prefer warm to hot weather
  • Produce all at once (which is why they’re preferred for commercial, mechanical harvesting)
  • Can be grown in gardens, raised beds, or containers

Pole beans:

  • Grow vertically as runners or vines, typically 6 to 8 feet
  • Need support to climb; teepees, tunnels, and other support systems add interest to the garden and are fun for kids
  • Produce over a period of weeks, making them easy to harvest by hand
  • Can be grown in gardens, raised beds, or containers
  • Good choice if you have limited gardening space.

Within these two main types, you’ll also find varieties with certain characteristics.

Most common bean variety types include:

  • Classic snap: Your basic, reliable green bean.
  • Romano or Italian-style beans: Have flat, broad pods. Includes the beautiful yellow and purple-streaked Dragon’s tongue variety.
  • Stringless snap beans: Cultivated without the string along the seam of the bean (no need to spend time pulling off the string before cooking).
  • Filet cultivars: Slim beans (known in French as haricot verts), usually prepared whole.
  • Long-podded cultivars: Large, long bean varieties.
  • Yellow-podded cultivars: Commonly called “wax beans,” they keep their color when cooked.
  • Purple-podded cultivars: The dark purple color looks beautiful in the garden and makes them easy to see for picking—alas, they turn green when cooked.
  • Runner beans: Similar to pole beans, these green beans are species Phaseolus coccineus. and grow 8 to 10 feet.

Which type of green beans have you grown? Do you have a preference? Please share your opinion.

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