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PlantFiles: Runner Bean
Phaseolus coccineus 'Scarlet Runner'

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Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Phaseolus (FAZ-ee-oh-lus) (Info)
Species: coccineus (kok-SIN-ee-us) (Info)
Cultivar: Scarlet Runner

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2 vendors have this plant for sale.

22 members have or want this plant for trade.

Category:
Annuals
Vegetables

Height:
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

Spacing:
6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

Seed Type:
Open Pollinated

Growth Habit:
Climbing

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Danger:
Seed is poisonous if ingested

Days to Maturity:
51 to 60 days
61 to 70 days
71 to 80 days
81 to 90 days

Bloom Color:
Red

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

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Profile:

13 positives
4 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Positive coriaceous On Jun 23, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This is a beautiful climbing ornamental and a tasty productive vegetable. Blooms are red-orange and not really scarlet, and they attract hummingbirds. If you keep the pods well picked, it will continue to bloom for months. Blooming may pause in the hottest summer weather, then continue when it cools.

I enjoy the pods steamed or boiled, with a little butter. They get tough if allowed to get too mature on the vine.

All beans contain lectins. Runner beans are no more toxic than any other bean. Cooking destroys the lectins.

As with any bean, wait till the soil is warm before direct sowing, as they can rot in cold soil. I use the traditional phenology for planting corn---plant when the oak leaves are the size of a squirrel's ear.

Positive Clary On Jun 22, 2014, Clary from Lewisburg, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

An excellent vine for any hummingbird fan(atic) who wants the benefits of a trumpet vine without the care and potential problems. Growth is vigorous (10 feet so far, mid-June) and flowers are brilliant red-orange with sweet-pea shaped throats that attract the hummers. I did not have luck growing cypress vine and didn't like the look of that plant's foliage; morning glory vine reseeds too prolifically for the area that I intended to plant; the runner bean fits the bill (pun intended) perfectly :) Due to the twining nature of the runners I am growing it on string and can cut the whole thing down at the end of the season. There are only flowers and no beans on the vine yet (mid-June) but I intend to harvest & eat the beans when they are young, as is advised. What's not to like?!

Positive NicoleC On Mar 28, 2013, NicoleC from Madison, AL (Zone 7b) wrote:

An attractive ornamental bean with vines that grow quickly and get up to 10' tall even in thin, unamended soil. An absolute bumblebee favorite, it also attracted hummingbirds. The plants take a break from blooming during the hottest part of the summer here but bloom again in the fall.

I did not eat the beans, but the seeds are easy to collect and are very attractive.

Neutral CCPikie On Nov 20, 2012, CCPikie from Elmhurst, IL wrote:

I planted this for hummingbirds, which we don't often see. Scarlet Runner (pole) bean doesn't do well in our poor clay soil. I suppose it would grow much better with added compost, etc. When small the plants also are prone to infestation by two spotted spider mites. I have seen at least one ruby throated hummingbird at the flowers.

Neutral Poetinwood On Apr 17, 2010, Poetinwood from Council Hill, OK wrote:

While reading an article about kidney beans having extremely high levels of lectins, so high that 5 beans will cause symptoms of extreme nausea, severe vomiting, followed by diarrhoea and abdominal pain. The article also mentioned "Even green beans, such as French or runner beans, contain a small amount of lectins and should not be eaten raw."
I'm wondering about necessary cooking times for the dried runner beans.

Positive Erminetrude On Apr 14, 2010, Erminetrude from Oxford
United Kingdom wrote:

Runner Beans are my favourite veg. I love the flavour and eat piles of them in the summer. They need to be cooked within minutes of picking for the best flavour. They should be added to boiling lightly salted water, then a knob of butter, served with a light dusting of pepper. Delicious !! Here in the UK there are a huge number of different varieties available. Red, white, bicolour and salmon pink flowered. There is even a new one that does not require bees to pollinate.

You need to catch them at the right moment, too small they have little flavour and too big they get tough and stringey.

Positive StevenWorster On Jan 31, 2010, StevenWorster from Clearlake Oaks, CA wrote:

Back in the 1960's, my great-grandmother who lived near Dupont, IN, introduced me to scarlet runner beans.

One day during one of our visits to her old farm, she handed me some funny looking purple seeds and told me they were 'magic beans'. She said they would grow up to the sky!

When I returned home and with my parent's help, I immediately planted the seeds in a clay pot, and placed them in a bright window.

Within days, the beans sprouted and began growing like crazy! I remember taking my school ruler and measured the vines - they grew over an inch per day! Quickly, the vines grew and covered the entire window, blooming bright orange-red flowers all over. Several times I had to add string and other objects for the vines to attach, for they never stopped growing! They were indeed 'magic beans' to me! I was so fascinated by these beautiful purple seeds that I planted them and grew "magic beans" each year, and secured my own crop of seeds for the next year.

Many years have past since then and the world is a much different place. One day while planting a garden at my house in California, I remembered my great-grandmother and her 'magic beans'. I began searching the internet for pictures of these seeds, and to see if they really existed. After much searching, I found the seeds, learned their name, and ordered a packet of seeds. I planted the seeds and they grew into beautiful 10" pods, and watched them bloom and climb all summer.

One day, I approached my young son, and handed him a fist-ful of the seeds. I told him they were 'magic beans' and would grow to the sky! As I had once done many years ago, he planted the seeds and watched them grow with eager fascination. The best part of each crop was splitting open the dry pods and finding the beautiful purple seeds!

Now, each time that I gaze upon those prolific vines with their beautiful orange flowers, I remember my great-grandmother and how she so graciously instilled in me a love for gardening.

Someday, I hope my son has similar memories, and will pass the joy of gardening on to his children!
Steven Worster
Clearlake Oaks, CA.

Positive Hawkwood On Oct 15, 2009, Hawkwood from Sebastopol, CA wrote:

This is a very versatile bean. Use as a green bean, a shelling bean, and as a dried bean. Something no one else has mentioned: here in California the plants are perennial. Don't pull out the roots and next year your plants will spring out of the ground and be flowering before your soil warms enough to plant other varieties. This year I didn't get most of my vegetable garden planted, but I sure had plenty of green, shell and dry beans!

Positive coolandwet On Sep 30, 2009, coolandwet from Volcano, HI wrote:

My zip code shows me as being in Volcano, HI, but the rainfall in Fern Forest is significantly higher at 12-20 inches/month. Adapting my gardening from Santa Cruz, CA to this particular micro-climate is proving quite a challenge. Scarlet Runner Beans have been VERY successful, so far. They stand up to spells of rain and bounce back from vog. I'd like to promote their growing locally and to that end, I'd like to get more definitive information on the danger of eating them raw. Is it sufficient to keep away from the bean seed itself? I am accustomed to eating the very young ones raw in salad, cooking them as green beans when they get larger and then when they develop a significant seed size, using them as dried beans.

Positive lycodad On Feb 21, 2009, lycodad from Hornell, NY (Zone 5a) wrote:

This edible bean has often been related to the story "Jack and the Beanstalk". It's a very tall vine, beautiful bright red flowers, and black lima type beans that make a pretty good black bean soup. Said to have come to New England States with the British troops during the American Revolution in the 1770's. It's an absolute "must have" for your hummingbird patch or children's garden.

Positive cascoly On Oct 16, 2007, cascoly from Seattle, WA wrote:

i've grown these for years in Seattle - they're prolific and i grow them on a trellis outside my office window so i can watch the hummingbirds.

we mostly pick them small before any seed develops, but i discovered that grilling is a great way to use the larger ones that escape our notice -- i toss 6-10 8" beans in a bag w 1 t of olive oil, then toss them on the grill for a coupla minutes each side. great alone, or added to a salad.

steve

Positive keefy On Jul 31, 2007, keefy from Awendaw, SC wrote:

As an ex pat Brit I can tell you that this is the most eagerly awaited vegetable in England, somewhat like you guys waiting for the sweet corn. As a vegetable, pick them before they form round lumps ( the bean ) and slice them. A Krisk slicer is the best tool I have found over here and is available online for around $5:00. they are best if steamed or boiled for about 8 minutes and they are still light green. If you overcook them they turn dark green and lose the tenderness and flavour. Once sliced they can be frozen for six months or more and can be put into the pan whilst still frozen. When I lived in Pennsylvania I grew them quite successfully as long as I put manure in a trench, covered it with about two inches of topsoil and planted the seed into the soil. They require a lot of watering and I always used a leaky hose. Picking them was great as the humming birds were flitting in and out of the blossoms whilst I was picking. Since moving to Charleston, South Carolina I have not tried to grow them yet. I suspect that the heat of summer will compromise the plants although I did read somewhere on line that they could be planted in September. I would welcome any advice from anyone who has successfully grown them in the South

Neutral Spriggin On Jun 18, 2007, Spriggin from Selma, OR wrote:

This a beautiful, rapid growing bean, but flavorwise, it's nothing I'd run up hill for.

Neutral berrygirl On Mar 2, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

One of the oldest runner beans now in existence. First documented in 1750. Good for use as either small snaps, sliced pods or green shells; used in place of limas in cooler climates. Highly ornamental. Pole habit, 65 days.

Positive rtsquirrel On Aug 10, 2005, rtsquirrel from Santa Cruz, CA wrote:

We purchased a 6 pack of seedlings at a local fundraiser and planted them immediately. I ammended our poor soil (clay) with a 50-50 mix of planting mix and compost. The plants didn't even shock, they took off at once. I've placed them along a 12' length of deer fence (about 5' hi) and they have taken it over, completely concealing the landlord's car while it rusts into nothingness. We've harvested enough young beans for 3 dinners, more are still growing. I plan to leave about half the yeild on the vines to harvest fully developed beans at the end of the season.

Positive Breezymeadow On Mar 19, 2005, Breezymeadow from Culpeper, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

This is by far my favorite pole bean - in fact, it is the only one I've grown now for the last several years. Suitable for both the vegetable &/or the flower garden, this highly ornamental veggie with its bright scarlet flowers attracts hummingbirds & pollinating bees both. (And although obviously not called "Scarlet" runner, there are also salmon pink & red/white bicolor varieties now as well.)

Vines climb & attach themselves to their supports easily with no assistance necessary. I've grown them on traditional 6-8' bamboo teepees in the garden, & this year I may try a few on some plastic netting along one side of my deck. If using teepees, be forwarned to stake/install them solidly, as a full teepee can topple easily in the wind.

Flowers are edible with a light, beany flavor, & make a bright & tasty addition & garnish to salads. Although edible as such, I've never eaten the beans as "shell beans", but prefer instead to enjoy the young flat pods - stringed, sliced into 1-2" pieces, & steamed or boiled - as one would a flat Italian/Romano-type string bean, which these strongly resemble. Dressed with a little butter, salt, pepper, & perhaps some marjoram, they are absolutely DELICIOUS, with a beanier flavor than your regular green bean.

Positive rebecca101 On Mar 18, 2005, rebecca101 from Madison, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:

Gorgeous plant, pretty beans, decent taste. This bean grows vigorously, putting out long runners. The runners remain covered with bright red flowers for a long time. Then large, bumpy bright green pods form. Immature, the beans are neon pink. Leave to mature on the vine and they turn a speckled maroon-purple. Not the best-tasting beans in the world, but quite edible. The plant makes a wonderful display on a fence or trellis.

Regional...

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

Madison, Alabama
Amesti, California
Clearlake Oaks, California
Fields Landing, California
Hercules, California
Lemon Grove, California
Santa Cruz, California
Sebastopol, California
Ocala, Florida
Mountain View, Hawaii
Volcano, Hawaii
Elmhurst, Illinois
Bloomington, Indiana
Silver Lake, Indiana
Gaithersburg, Maryland
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Albertville, Minnesota
Thayer, Missouri
Buffalo, New York
Hornell, New York
West Kill, New York
Fargo, North Dakota
Vinton, Ohio
Whitehouse, Ohio
Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
Santa Anna, Texas
Florence, Vermont
Arlington, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Madison, Wisconsin



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