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What initiates pole bean twisting/twining?

Manassas, VA(Zone 6b)

I recently started a handful of pole beans (Blue Lake Pole variety), to get a feel for their growth speed/patterns before starting a bigger batch "for real". They've come up and appear to be doing well, but I'm curious as to when I can expect them to begin showing the usual twisting and twining behavior that they use when they climb. So far, they're standing between eight and twelve inches high, and growing straight up, or arcing slightly towards the light source.

Is the twining something that they develop on their own after growing straight up for a while, or is it brought about by some sort of environmental factor?

Manassas, VA(Zone 6b)


I reviewed my notes, did some digging on the Internet, and as it turns out, the twining behavior I was looking for was there all along - I was just looking for it on the wrong timescale.

See, I've had these beans growing in front of a time-lapse camera for a couple of weeks, and what appeared to be somewhat random growth at a rate of one frame per hour turned out to be a very smooth circular motion at one frame every five minutes. They've been groping around for something to climb on all along, and I just missed it.

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Colderwild...yes, tis true...

Beans will "look" for the nearest thing to attach/twine to. However, sometimes the nearest thing is another plant so apparently your plants were too far apart or you would've seen them wrapping around each other.

Most bean plant will twine counter-clockwise, some will twine clockwise (runner beans).

Hope you got some good pics!

By the way, a big hearty WELCOME TO DG! from me.


Manassas, VA(Zone 6b)

Yes, these are spinning counterclockwise as viewed from the top, at about 75 minutes(!) per rotation. Any faster and I'll have to anchor the pot as it tries to take off!

The plants in question are probably close enough to twine on each other, except that they popped out of the ground far enough apart timewise that the one that's really whipping around the most is too high to grab any of the others, and the shorter ones haven't begun spinning enthusiastically enough to grab the taller one. These are really an experimental set of "calibration beans", to give me some idea of how quickly and vigorously I can expect the "real" batch to grow once I get those planted. Their container for the time-lapse experiment is a special-purpose germination vessel specifically designed for this experiment by the Coca-Cola Company, available in soda machines everywhere.

These initial seeds were planted next to some morning glories on my window sill to compare their growth rates, and tinker with the time-lapse rig. I got some interesting footage from that, and I'll post a link as soon as I can figure out how to add a link in these forums. Currently, the beans have been moved to a new location, where they're being filmed at a higher rate, to capture the twining behavior.

So far, it's proven to be an interesting experiment.

Blanchester, OH(Zone 6a)

Interesting project Colderwild. You might try using a photo posting website like PhotoBucket or Webshots. Upload the photos onto their site, which is free and then add a link to you photo album here like I did. Just type out the link and Dave does the rest....Mine were taken with a disposable camera. This year I will be using digital.

Blanchester, OH(Zone 6a)

Oh, the first 17 pics were taken once every week - same time.....

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