Phaseolus vulgaris

'Old Homestead Kentucky Wonder'
Common Name: bean
Type: Annual
Family: Fabaceae
Native Range: Central and South America
Zone: 2 to 11
Height: 2.00 to 15.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Pink, red, white or yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual, Vegetable
Flower: Showy
Fruit: Showy, Edible

Culture

Best grown in consistently moist, fertile, organically-rich, well-drained loams in full sun. Propagate by seed which should be planted at the time of the last spring frost date. Bush beans are usually planted without support in rows. Pole beans are also best grown in rows but up a pole, stake or tripod. Harvest time for beans is 45-60 days for common bush beans, 55-65 days for pole beans and 75-100 or more days for shell/dry beans.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Phaseolus vulgaris, commonly known as bean, is a large genus of annual vegetables in the pea family that are primarily native to Central America and South America, with a few species native to North America. Columbus reportedly introduced some plants of this genus to the Mediterranean in 1493 when he returned from his second voyage to the New World.

Beans are legumes which acquire nitrogen from the air. Beans in this genus have trifoliate compound leaves with ovate to ovate-orbicular leaflets, bilaterally symmetrical pea-shaped flowers in clusters from the leaf axils and elongate pods that contain from three to a dozen or more seeds. Colors and shapes of pods and seeds vary considerably.

Common names given to bean varieties generally refer to culinary use. Commercially, most beans in the genus are classified as (1) pod/snap beans (string beans, stringless beans, pole beans or wax beans in tender tasty immature pods), (2) shell beans (pod is not eaten, but beans are shelled from the pod when swollen and somewhat dry but prior to full maturity) or (3) dry beans (removed from the pod at full maturity only after totally drying and beginning to rattle around inside the pod). Examples of dry beans (some of which may be shelled if picked prior to maturity) include black beans, cranberry beans, kidney beans, pea beans, pinto beans, white beans, navy beans, yellow beans and cannellini.

Common green beans in edible pods are the most important food legume in the world today. Bush varieties are self-supporting and generally grow to 18-30” tall or more. Climbing or trailing varieties (pole beans) need a support structure on which to grow, but may be allowed to trail along the ground with stems growing to as much as 15’ in length. Flowers are pink, red, white or yellow. Pods are green, purple or yellow.

Genus name comes from the Greek word for fava beans or an ancient Greek one for a species of Vigna.

Specific epithet from Latin means common.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Mosaic viral disease (stunted yellow-mottled leaves), bacterial blight (irregular brown leaf blotches surrounded by yellow halos), and anthracnose (cankered pods) may appear. Additional potential disease problems include powdery mildew and white mold. Mexican bean beetles and Japanese beetles may chew holes in foliage. Watch for aphids, leafhoppers and maggots.

Garden Uses

Annual for vegetable gardens.