Flowers – the Key to Green Beans

In your haste to get the all-important beans from your plants, you may overlook the flowers. Yet the flowers are essential and should receive just as much attention and care as the plants themselves. Proper management will promote better and healthier flowers, which of course means more beans on the table or in the freezer.


About Green Bean Flowers

Like all legume flowers, green bean flowers have a distinct and immediately recognizable shape. Unlike many other flowers, however, they are not designed to attract insects or birds for pollination, as green beans are self-pollinating. The ovary, anthers and stigma are all located within the petals. Hybrid beans are therefore less common, as it takes human intervention or unusual circumstances to create a hybrid bean.

Using Bean Flowers

In addition to providing a vehicle for the beans, green bean flowers are certainly ornamental. Many gardeners grow both bush and pole varieties among garden flowers, allowing them to enjoy their appearance as well as eat the beans. In addition, the bean flowers themselves are also edible – although it does mean sacrificing some beans in the long run.

Bean Flower Colors

Bean flower colors may or may not be related to the color of the bean. Flower colors include:

  • White – probably the most common color; can be pure white or ivory.
  • Pink – some beans produce pink flowers in varying shades.
  • Purple – bean flowers from purple-podded beans tend to be light lavender.
  • Multi-colored – usually white plus a color above.

Timing of Blossoms and Beans

The sight of bean flowers on your plants is an indication that you’ll be picking beans before too long. Since varieties have differing maturity rates, it’s not a hard and fast rule you can rely on. However, in most cases, bean pods will begin to appear about two weeks after the plant sets blossoms. It will take another week before the beans are ready.

Bean Blossom Drop

While losing a few bean blossoms early in the season is normal, garden conditions and practices may increase blossom drop. Too much nitrogen makes it difficult for plants to create pods; they shed blossoms instead. Very high temperatures and either excess or inadequate water stresses the plants, which may drop their blossoms in order to survive. Too little sunlight may also increase bean blossom drop.

No Blossoms on Bean Plants

If your beans aren’t producing any flowers or producing only a few, there could be several reasons. Too much nitrogen sends growth resources to leaves at the expense of flowers and pods. Beans subjected to cooler temperatures will not set blossoms or abort the blossoms they do set. Beans won’t flower until they reach maturity, so no flowers may simply mean young plants; check maturity dates.