Proper Spacing for Green Beans

Proper spacing for green beans can improve production and help prevent disease. Spacing can differ depending on whether you plant bush or pole varieties, soil fertility, available water and climate. The beans' disease resistance may also be a factor. Since each garden is different, you may need to experiment to get things just right.

What’s a Green Bean?

Also known as string or snap beans, green in this case means immature. Color is irrelevant, as green beans can be yellow, purple and streaked as well as green. Older green beans were known as string beans because they had a tough fibrous string along the inner side that was removed for cooking. The term snap comes from the sound beans make when you break them to prepare them for cooking.

Pole vs. Bush

You can chose from dozens of green bean varieties in both pole and bush form. Bush beans usually mature more quickly and work better for intensive gardening or succession planting. Pole beans, however, produce over a longer period – often until frost. The longer production time means more beans per square foot. Spacing is also different for the two types.

Green Bean Varieties

You’ll find plenty of choices, such as:

  • Jade – bush, 60 days.
  • Maxibel – bush filet bean, 50 days.
  • Contender – bush, good for short seasons, 50-55 days.
  • Tendergreen – bush, good for hot climates, 55 days.
  • Spanish Musica – pole, Italian/Romano bean, 75 days.
  • Trifono Violetta – purple podded pole, 75 days.
  • Kentucky Wonder Wax – yellow pole bean, 65 days.

Spacing Bush Green Beans

Although the basic spacing for bush beans is about three to four inches, it makes a difference what system you are using. If growing in rows, each row should be about 18 to 24 inches apart. For wide rows, make the row about 16 to 18 inches wide and 16 inches apart. Plant beans three to four inches apart within the row. Use the same spacing for intensive gardening.

Spacing Pole Green Beans

Pole beans also need three to four inches between plants. What makes the most difference is the supports you use. A metal fence panel requires at least 18 inches from the next row of plants. Individual poles should be at least one foot apart, while bean teepees should be placed three feet apart. Plant four to six beans at the base of each individual pole or teepee sport.

Water, Temperature and Disease

If you’re growing in drought or dryland conditions, your beans need more space. Increase space to about six inches between plants, with an additional foot between rows. In warm, humid climates, closely-spaced plants are more likely to develop viral and fungal disease. Additional space promotes air circulation and helps keep plants healthier.