Growing Pole Beans & Green Beans – Starting Beans Indoors

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Green beans are one of our family’s favorite vegetables. Recently, I made the switch from growing bush beans to growing pole beans. It just made so much more sense to grow vertically and maximize our garden space. Starting beans indoors is a longtime tradition for our gardens for year and years now.

Beans are also the first plant I really worked hard at growing since moving to our own home all those years ago. They’ll always be a special part of my garden, no matter what kind we grow.

In 2021, we grew Kentucky Wonder pole beans, purple podded pole beans (possibly Royal Burgundy beans), Nonna’s Blue Beans, and a few others.

Growing Pole Beans Indoors - Starting Beans from Seeds - Pole Bean Seedlings under grow lights
Growing Pole Beans Indoors – Starting Beans from Seeds – Pole Bean Seedlings under grow lights

Anyway, it’s been fun and rewarding starting green beans indoors and especially growing pole beans instead of bush varieties. It’s been a nice change for us.

I’d love for you to try it, too.

You must want to, since you’re here, right? Okay, great! Let’s get started!

How long do bean seeds take to germinate?

Beans seeds may take one to two weeks to germinate, depending on conditions and seed quality. You may be able to achieve faster bean seed germination by planting beans in wet paper towels inside plastic baggies. Germination may then occur in a matter of days.

What do bean seeds look like?

Bean seeds come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. In fact, you’ll find more than 400 different types of beans in the world. Green bean seeds tend to be white, light brown, or creamy in color. Some beans are black, pink, or burgundy. These bean seeds may also be solid in color, marbled, or mottled.

Pole Bean Seeds Dried and Saved from our garden
Here are some Pole Bean Seeds dried and saved from our garden.

What do you need for growing pole beans?

When growing pole beans, you’ll need a few materials to get started. Gather pole bean seeds or starter plants, soil for a container or a garden plot, and something the beans can climb, like a trellis. You can read about my adventures creating a pole bean teepee here!

How to Start Beans Indoors from Seed

Starting beans indoors from seed is one of the easiest plantings I’ve ever done. The bean seeds are typically large and easy to handle. This is a great project for kids or even elderly gardeners and everyone in between.

How to Grow Pole Beans

Planting pole beans is just about the same as planting bush beans. Both are just as easy to handle with a no-frills planting method.

Follow these steps to start beans from seed indoors.

  1. Choose a planting tray like an egg carton or a seed starting tray.
  2. Make sure you find some drainage holes on the bottom.
  3. Fill each of the cells with potting soil to about 2/3 full.
  4. Poke a hole about one-inch deep in the soil where you’ll plant the seeds. (Sometimes I plant two per cell to account for possible less-than-perfect germination rates.)
  5. Drop a seed into each hole and lightly cover it back up.
  6. Label each seed cell with the bean variety. You can use a plant marker, popsicle stick, masking tape label, or similar.
  7. Water thoroughly without totally drenching the seeds.
  8. Place the seed trays in sunny place such as a south-facing window or under some grow lights.

Starting green beans indoors is really that simple!

(So is starting dry beans or any other kind of beans, as well!)

Now all you have to do is check on your seeds regularly to watch for soil moisture needs and signs of growth. That’s also lots of fun!

Tips to Keep in Mind When Starting Beans Indoors

Starting beans indoors is so easy, even for beginners! Now that you know how to plant pole beans, I hope you’ll join me in this fun and rewarding gardening endeavor.

Still, a few tips help to make the experience as productive and trouble-free as possible.

Pole Bean Seedlings Getting Tangled Under Grow Lights Indoors
Pole Bean Seedlings Getting Tangled Under Grow Lights Indoors

Growing Beans Indoors – Survival Tips

Here are my best learning lessons when growing pole beans and starting the seeds indoors.

  • Some beans grow tall quickly. Pole beans, for example, may become problematic as they look for something to climb. Before they weave themselves throughout your grow rack and LED lights, plan ahead and plant them later than some of your other seeds.
  • Mini greenhouses can be moisture traps! Use caution if planting in those seed trays with the plastic lids. Sometimes the seed cells get waterlogged and the bean seeds will rot before they even have a chance to grow.
  • Less than optimal sunlight makes a big difference. You may end up with really leggy seedlings if you don’t have enough light shining down on your bean seeds and baby plants! Avoid leggy green beans and ensure the proper amount of light.

Also, don’t forget to plan ahead so you can choose some good pole bean companion plants, which should also work just fine for bush beans.

Well, that’s it! That’s about all I’ve got on starting beans from seed. So much fun! See, I told you learning how to plant bean seeds was super easy!

When growing green beans, don’t forget to save some seeds for next year’s crop! If you need some tips, check out my post on How to Save Green Bean Seeds! (Bush Bean OR Pole Bean!)

If you have any favorite tips or fun stories about growing beans indoors or otherwise, please share them in our comments below. We love hearing from you!

Happy Gardening!

06.09.23 – Updated to add links to green bean posts and improved spacing, added heading to last section.

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