How do I know if my beans are pole or bush?

Answered by Willian Lymon

To determine whether your beans are pole or bush beans, there are a few key characteristics you can look for. By observing the growth habit, height, and spacing of your plants, you can easily identify whether they are pole or bush beans.

1. Growth Habit:
Observe how your beans are growing. Pole beans have a climbing or vining growth habit, meaning they will send out long, twining stems that need support to grow upwards. On the other hand, bush beans have a more compact growth habit, with a bushy and spreading form that doesn’t require any support.

2. Height:
Check the height of your plants. Pole beans are known for their impressive vertical growth, reaching heights of 6 feet or more. They will often require the use of trellises, poles, or other structures to support their upward growth. In contrast, bush beans are generally shorter, usually staying under 2 feet tall.

3. Spacing:
Consider the spacing between your bean plants. Pole beans typically require wider spacing, usually around 4-6 inches apart, to allow for their spreading vines. This allows each plant to have enough space to climb and prevents overcrowding. On the other hand, bush beans can be spaced closer together since they don’t require as much room to grow laterally. You can plant bush beans around 2-4 inches apart.

4. Observation of Leaves and Stems:
Look closely at the leaves and stems of your plants. Pole beans often have larger leaves and longer, twining stems that wrap around supports. Their leaves may also be slightly serrated or toothed. In contrast, bush beans tend to have smaller leaves and shorter, more compact stems that don’t twine or climb.

5. Harvesting Technique:
Consider the harvesting method you’ve been using. Pole beans are typically harvested by picking the beans individually as they mature throughout the season. This is because the plants continue to produce beans up the vine. Bush beans, on the other hand, tend to produce a more concentrated crop all at once, making it easier to harvest them in one go.

By observing these characteristics, you should be able to determine whether your beans are pole or bush beans. Remember that there are different varieties of beans, so there may be slight variations in growth habits and characteristics. If you’re still unsure, consulting a gardening expert or referring to the seed packet or plant label can provide more specific information about the type of bean you are growing.