Runner Beans: How to Sow

Runner Beans grown in Rootrainers

Runner Beans can be sown directly into their final growing position or in pots if you want to aim for an early harvest. Whichever you choose, find out when your final frost is likely to fall in your area. For me in London it’s mid-May so I wouldn’t plant or sow outside until this has past. Further north I’d wait until June.

How to Sow Runner Beans in Pots

The advantage of pots is to get a healthy plant ready for planting out once the final frost has past. You can sow the seed into cell seed trays or 6in standard nursery pots but ideally they like enough space for their roots to develop. Rootrainers (pictured above) are excellent because the entire plant can be removed without disturbing the roots and the soil around them.

Seeds can be sown in April and May. Place 1 seed per pot using seed sowing compost. Gently push the seed into the compost until it’s the depth of your first knuckle. Water and continue to water once a week or more often if a heatwave is forecast. Make sure the soil is a little on the dry side rather than always wet.

How to Sow Runner Beans in the open ground

You can sow directly in their growing position up against a cane structure (post coming soon). Loosen the soil and sow the seed to the depth of your knuckle. Water and continue to water once a week or more often if a heatwave is forecast. Make sure the soil is a little on the dry side rather than always wet.

Recommended Varieties

If you are ever unsure of what variety to grow, always look for the ‘RHS Award of Garden Merit‘.


Our suggestions are: Painted Lady (heritage variety), Moonlight (RHS Award of Garden Merit), Firestorm (RHS Award of Garden Merit), Benchmaster (RHS Award of Garden Merit), St George (RHS Award of Garden Merit), Celebration (RHS Award of Garden Merit), White Lady (RHS Award of Garden Merit).

At-A-Glance

Sow

Sow April and May.

Harvest

Harvest July, August, September and October.