Pole Bean, Snap Bean, String, Green, or French Bean 'Kentucky Wonder'

Phaseolus vulgaris

Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Phaseolus (FAZ-ee-oh-lus) (Info)
Species: vulgaris (vul-GAIR-iss) (Info)
Cultivar: Kentucky Wonder
Additional cultivar information:(aka Old Homestead)
» View all varieties of Beans





6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

Seed Type:

Open Pollinated

Growth Habit:


Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Days to Maturity:

61 to 70 days

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Los Angeles, California

Walsenburg, Colorado

Largo, Florida

Miami, Florida

Palm Coast, Florida

Augusta, Georgia (2 reports)

Round Lake, Illinois

Benton, Kentucky

Ewing, Kentucky

Deridder, Louisiana

Lake Charles, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Millersville, Maryland

Trenton, Michigan

Fergus Falls, Minnesota

Fayette, Missouri

Ozark, Missouri

Saint Louis, Missouri

Albuquerque, New Mexico

West Kill, New York

Siler City, North Carolina

Chillicothe, Ohio

Portland, Oregon

Indiana, Pennsylvania

Lafayette, Tennessee

Thompsons Station, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Carrollton, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Houston, Texas

Abingdon, Virginia

Norfolk, Virginia

Radford, Virginia (2 reports)

Troy, Virginia (2 reports)

Wytheville, Virginia

Spokane, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 24, 2011, CaptDenny from Narragansett, RI wrote:

"Very vigorous growth. Hopeful for a good yield. However, I'm very concerned about the yellow, bronze or rust coloring on some of the leaves. Has anyone had this experience with Kentucky Wonders?


On Jun 10, 2010, Melissande from Chillicothe, OH wrote:

I live in the south of Ohio, and for me, the admittedly very positive qualities of Kentucky Wonder actually worked against me. It IS prolific AND vigorous. So much so, I had a hard time staying ahead of picking it, thus avoiding the strings. I grew it next to a less vigorous, purple podded Italian bean. I have poor eyesight and poor health, and the Italian heirloom purple pod beans worked better for me. I could stay ahead of them, and the purple pods helped me make sure I wasn't missing any of the beans. Testimony to how many of the Kentucky Wonders I missed, I had a lawn FULL of volunteers this spring. It's a great bean, just not for the half-blind.


On Mar 30, 2007, stoutl from Trenton, MI wrote:

What can you say about this bean that hasn't been said?

I grew up on it as a staple in our garden in Knott County Kentucky. It had been grown by our family as far back as we knew of. We planted it in the corn to climb the stalks thus getting double use out of a single plot. A true staple grown by folks who mostly lived on what they produced themselves.

Very prolific and unbeatable for old-time bean flavor


On Oct 16, 2004, trifunov from Brandon, MS (Zone 8a) wrote:

I ordered these from http://www.superseeds.com. According to their website "This dual purpose bean can be used for either eating fresh or as a shell bean... Pods grow to 9 inches in length and yield is continuous from mid-summer to the first frost. Picked young, they are among the tastiest of green beans. " I will update after growing them in spring!


On Jul 29, 2004, kadawn74 from Portland, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is the first year I have planted beans, and although my bush beans have outproduced and outgrown these, they are finally blooming and have produced a dozen or so beans. I just can't seem to leave them alone long enough to get a pot's-worth to cook, I tend to pick them when I'm watering and eat them raw in the garden. Very very tasty!


On Nov 29, 2003, Farmerdill from Augusta, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

The old standby of pole beans. It was listed as a standard in the 1888 Burpees catalog with an alternate name of Southern Prolific so I have no idea of its origen. It is a string bean, but retains its eating qualities when "beany". For me, the vine go 8-10 feet with 9 -10 inch pods. In my Grandmother's time it was widely used as a dried snap bean (leather britches or breeches depending on which side of the mountain you happened to be living). It is best when cooked southern style i.e. simmered in an iron kettle on the back of a wood range and seasoned with ham hocks or cured side meat and "new" Irish potatoes.


On Mar 29, 2003, tomato_lady from Crossville, TN (Zone 6a) wrote:

I really like this variety and always plant several rows of it in my garden. The vines are strong and vigorous with large yields of tender, tasty beans.


On Jan 23, 2003, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

Easy to grow and abundant yields.A wonderful beany taste that surpasses the slick,uniform hybrid stuff.They make great snaps and the more mature ones are yummy 'shelly' beans.Plants grow thick and lush.As long as beans are harvested,new blooms will produce more beans.


On Jan 13, 2003, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

Makes a good snap bean when young and is string-less. But, as the it matures, it does have a strings and is good for shell beans. Its a good canning and freezing bean. The beans are from 7-9 inches long. Has a high yield. It is believed this was first offered around 1864, as the 'Texas Pole', then in 1877 changed to 'Kentucky Wonder' by James J.H. Gregory & Sons.