Beans are one of the easiest vegetables to grow in a garden. Not only are beans easy to grow, but many different types are available! Beans are frost-sensitive, so for folks who live in an area like me (Ohio), this means that starting bean plants indoors is important and maybe even necessary.
Can beans be grown indoors? Yes, in the correct conditions both bush beans and pole beans can be grown successfully indoors.
Let’s learn more about the types of beans that exist and how you can get them started successfully indoors!
Types of Beans
Generally speaking, two kinds of beans exist and these are bush beans and pole beans. Bush beans grow roughly three feet tall as a self-supporting plant. Pole beans, or vining beans, can and will grow as large as possible. Pole beans require some form of support, such as a fence or pole. If these beans do not have support, then they will grow by attaching and climbing on other plants. Both of these types of beans can be grown indoors with success, but it does require some work and creativity.
Growing Bush Beans Indoors
Bush beans may be easier to grow indoors due to their compact nature. Let’s look at some basics on how you can get your bush beans started on the right path.
Bush beans grow best in temperatures from 70 degrees Fahrenheit to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. They can tolerate 60 degrees if exposed to warm light. Bush beans do not tolerate temperatures over 90 degrees, so they may only produce beans in shaded areas of the plant if this is the case. In my case, my plants stopped flowering and went dormant until the temperatures went down to more reasonable levels. This led to over a month of no production on my bush bean plants last year. During this period, my bush beans still required watering twice a day to beat the heat. Heat causes stress on plants and it is a natural defense mechanism to reserve energy in the roots instead of using that energy to produce flowers and fruit.
When growing bush beans indoors, the temperature becoming too high is an unlikely problem, but overwatering is a larger concern. Bush beans should only be watered when the soil is completely dry (not even damp) roughly two inches into the soil. To estimate this measurement, stick an index finger into the soil up to the second knuckle.
An estimated growing season for bush beans started from seed is 80-100 days after germination. The season length will depend on how well the plants enjoy being inside, if they have enough nutrients in the soil, and if they can avoid being stressed. If the plant is fed and happy, then a longer season with higher production from plants is possible.
When choosing a container for growing your bush bean indoors, you need to remember that we are not going to be growing high intensity with this method, meaning plants are planted closely together. Indoor growing can cause stress on the plant. Obviously, the goal is bean production, not sad or stressed plants. Bush beans do well in three-gallon pots. If starting from seed, start directly in this pot to reduce the risk of transplant shock. If buying starts from the store, make sure to grab healthy looking plants with solid stems and clean leaves. From experience, three-gallon pots are big enough to allow bean plants to flourish.
Check out the article we wrote on The 9 Best Containers for Growing Vegetables.
Bush beans require six to eight hours of sunlight per day. If beans are being grown over winter (in Ohio, we are lucky to see six hours of sun per day for a few months), grow lights will become a great friend. By using grow lights on plants, the amount of light the plants receive over the day is controlled and can potentially give them some heat as well. Placing plants in a window area that receives enough natural sunlight is another great option. Remember, though, that windows are cold spots in the house, so the temperature by the window may be too cold for your bean plant.
Growing Pole Beans Indoors
Growing pole beans indoors is a little trickier than growing bush beans indoors. Pole beans vine, so they require some form of training and securing to grow properly. The good news is that creativity goes along with gardening and some very creative ways exist to grow pole beans indoors!
Pole beans also enjoy temperatures between 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. They do well with six to eight hours of sunlight daily. If these plants are close to other plants in the house, make sure that they do not block the light to the other plants. It can be difficult to get enough light on your vining pole beans, so you will have to experiment with
Proper watering is also important for these plants. They have a shallow root system, so they cannot handle dry soil. That being said, like all vining plants, they also cannot handle overly wet soil. Vining plants are prone to fungus, so being careful not to water the leaves or allow the soil to become extra wet will help prevent this. Efficient air flow will help as well.
Pole beans can tolerate closer quarters than bush beans. Some people have success planting three pole bean plants in a three or five-gallon container indoors. If pole beans are planted like this, it is important that the soil is well draining, full of nutrients, and does not dry out.
I personally believe that growing pole beans indoors stresses the plants out enough, so I do not plant them as close together as I do outside. For my containers, I use fabric grow bags. You can use any container that suits your purpose if you want something that looks nicer. If you use fabric grow bags, be aware that the soil will dry out faster, and that your bag may absorb some of the water from your soil.
A creative way to grow pole beans in a small area and get efficient sunlight is to run them around the window frame. Place one plant on the left side and string it up using plastic hooks that attach to the wall, and plant another plant on the right using the same method. Run the vines around the window, allowing them access to sunlight and providing decoration for you.
Another possibility to grow pole beans all year long indoors is to put hooks in the ceiling and run
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I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.John 15:5
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Can I grow lavender plants indoors? Lavender can be grown indoors in a sunny area with a breeze. Many different kinds of lavender exist, so definitely research which types of lavender are container and indoor friendly. Do not let pets or children eat or chew on the plants!
Can beans be grown with tomatoes? When planted outside, beans and tomatoes can be grown close to each other. It is important to strategically stake and trellis tomatoes and beans if they are being grown near each other because pole beans can wind around and “choke out” tomato plants if they break free of their trellis. It is also important to plant with consideration of the sun because these plants could cast shade on each other. Both plants have similar sunlight, temperature, and water need, so by growing them close together, it can be easier to ensure that they are cared for properly.
Can you grow beans upside down? Both pole beans and bush beans can be grown upside down in the correct conditions! Pole beans typically grow better upside down than bush beans, as they are better suited for dangling in random spaces. Bush bean vegetables may need to be picked when they are on the smaller side to keep them from falling off or becoming too heavy and straining the plant.