Grow Scarlet Runner Beans For The Flowers


Monarch on scarlet runner bean

We’re working toward growing and producing more and more of our own food. We’ve planted fruit trees, berry patches, herbs, and perennial and annual vegetables. Even so, we also like to plant certain species simply because they are the favorites of butterflies and hummingbirds, and we like to have these creatures flitting through our garden. Yes, these animals do provide a service by pollinating, and that is a benefit to us, but we just like to share our garden with them. We simply enjoy their presence.

We exercise organic gardening principles by building up the soil and rotating plants rather than applying fertilizers or pesticides. Insects are welcome to our garden. We do lose some of our harvest to the more pesky insects, but the damage is minimal because these pests are kept in check by the predaceous insects that also inhabit the gardens. We attempt to work with nature rather than fight against it and imposing our own design.

The fact that wildlife chooses to visit our garden is evidence that it is a living ecosystem. Our garden is alive. It is a place where nature can play out its story of life and death. While canaries portend doom in a coal mine when they cease to sing, the zipping flight of a hummingbird or the dainty flutter of a butterfly are likewise signs of an atmosphere’s quality, though in this instance, they indicate a healthy, functioning system.

>One of our favorite wildlife plants is scarlet runner beans. The beans sport bright, red blossoms that are magnets for hummingbirds. A bean in bloom boasts the same colors as the male Ruby-throated Hummingbird - green and red. And when one is visiting the bean’s blossoms, it can be so well camouflaged that the only evidence that it is present is the whirring sound of its wings. Among the butterflies that visit the bean’s red flowers are Tiger Swallowtails, Giant Swallowtails and Monarchs.

Scarlet runner beans are relatively easy to grow. Give them a sunny spot with something to climb upon and they should do well. If the soil is rich with compost, they will do even better. Being an annual, the beans have no tolerance for frost. The seeds should be placed directly into the soil after all chance of frost is past. These beans grow as climbers and like to twine themselves around something for support. We grow them on trellises at the end of our raised beds. But they can be grown along a fence, on a teepee structure in a garden, or even up a sunflower or corn stalk. In our garden, the scarlet runners are in full flower about 2 months after the first sprouts appear. The red blossoms will persist until the first frost.

6/16/2019 8:33:16 AM

The dried mature bean is one of my favorites - definitely worth cooking up! They take a long time but they are SO delicious, flavorful, starchy-creamy, and the skins stay intact but aren't tough.

9/14/2018 7:37:01 PM

Scarlet runner beans are so beautiful and I love them... the blooms are long-lasting and come not only in the bright red they are famous for, but in light peach and variegated varieties as well -- next year I plan to plant the Painted Lady and Sunset Runner varieties.

9/3/2018 9:28:11 PM

I leave the beans until they are huge and purple/pink. they taster much better if I do Not so fond of the younger ones and have tried eating the small young pods ... I'll pass on them and wait for the big, mature beans ... yum

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