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Runner Bean 'Scarlet Runner'

Phaseolus coccineus

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
» View all varieties of Beans





8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)


6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

Seed Type:

Open Pollinated

Growth Habit:


Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


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:


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:

Flowers are good for cutting

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round


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

Issaquah, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Madison, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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

This is a beautiful twining ornamental and a tasty productive vegetable. Blooms are reddish orange and not really scarlet, and they attract hummingbirds. If you keep the pods well picked, it will continue to bloom for months. (Flowering stops if pods are allowed to mature on the vine.) Blooming may pause in heat of summer if temperatures are often over 90F, then continue when it cools.

Consistent moisture is needed for good bean production. In drought, these must not be allowed to dry out.

I enjoy the pods steamed or boiled, with a little butter. All parts of the plant is edible, including the roots.

All beans contain lectins, which can cause GI distress. Runner beans are no more toxic than any other bean. Cooking destroys the lectins.
... read more


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?!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 ne... read more


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!


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.


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.


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.



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 ... read more


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.


On Mar 2, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 8a) 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.


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.


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... read more


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.