How to Grow Lima Beans

Lima beans are a unique type of bean that grows during the summer months. They are native to Central America, although they can also be grown in other parts of the world. If you’re wondering how to grow lima beans, they’re very similar to string beans. All you need is well-prepared soil, sunshine, heat, and a few months from seed to harvest to get started.

How to Grow Lima Beans - Lima bean baby plants growing in the garden.

What are lima beans? 

Lima beans are a type of legume with a moderate flavor, creamy texture, and distinctive color that ranges from beige to green. It’s also known as the wax bean, double bean, or butter bean.

There is a wide variation of pod size and seed size in both bush and climbing forms, shape, thickness, and color. The pods are wide, flat, and bent slightly. The unique tiny ridges in the seed coat that radiate from the “eye” distinguish the lima bean itself.

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How can you grow lima beans?

You must first learn how to plant lima beans in order to understand how they grow.

  • When planting lima beans, choose a location in the garden that receives full sun all day. Add some well-rotted compost or manure to the soil and loosen it thoroughly.
  • The pH of the soil should be between 6.0 and 6.8. Seeds may not germinate and plant roots may rot if the soil is not sufficiently draining. Plant seeds at a depth of at least one inch (2.5 cm).
  • Thin seedlings to 4 inches (10 cm) apart once they have sprouted. Set poles or stakes once plants have several pairs of genuine leaves if you’re planting a vine kind. To support the heavy bearing stems of bush beans, utilize tomato cages.
  • Lima beans don’t require any additional nitrogen and can be side-dressed with straw, leaf mold, or even newspaper to keep weeds at bay. Each week, provide at least one inch (2.5 cm) of water.

If outdoors, what are the steps?

Here’s how you grow lima beans in your garden.

  • Plant your lima beans in 1 to 1 1/2 inches of deep, warm soil to begin.
  • Rows should be around 2 feet apart.
  • Plant the seeds 2 to 4 inches apart in the rows.
  • After planting the lima beans, keep an eye out for signs of germination so you can thin the plants to 4 to 6 inches apart.
  • During the time when the blossoms and pods are forming, water at a rate of around one inch each week. If you don’t give your lima beans enough water during blooming, the blossoms will drop prematurely, and you won’t get many pods.

If indoors, what are the steps?

Lima bean growing inside is simple and gratifying. This is how you go about doing it.

  • Get a bunch of fresh lima beans that aren’t more than a year old. Submerge them completely in warm water for at least eight hours. If the seeds haven’t sprouted by this time, sandwich them between several layers of damp paper towels, then seal the sandwich baggie with the damp towels inside.
  • Fill one to two 8-10 inch containers 1/2 inch deep with gravel, then fill the remaining space with organic potting soil. Make a 1-2 inch deep hole in the soil with your finger. Place a lima bean sprout in the hole, pointing down toward the pot’s center. In each pot, no more than two lima beans should be sown.
  • Fill the remaining space in the pot with a little dusting of potting soil after placing the sprouted lima bean in it. The pots should be put in a bright indoor spot that receives at least six hours of direct sunshine per day.
  • Attach the bean plants to a support system with tomato wraps, dental floss, or twist ties as they grow. Only water them when the top inch of soil has dried completely or if the foliage appears weak or brittle.

When do you harvest lima beans?

Harvesting lima beans vary by variety, but it typically takes 65 to 75 days to produce a crop. When the pods are bright green and well-filled, it’s time to harvest your beans.

Is lima bean easy to grow?

Lima beans are a simple and enjoyable garden crop to raise. They grow in much the same way as green beans, but they take a little longer to mature. Lima beans can be harvested at the shelling stage and cooked and eaten right away, or you can wait until they are dry.

How many lima beans will one plant produce?

Bush lima beans should yield two or three harvests in a season.

Growing lima beans in a patio.

Do lima beans climb?

Lima beans have a tendency to climb and will require trellising. On the other hand, others are bush beans that don’t require much assistance. Before you plant your bean in your garden, learn about its developing habits.

What conditions do lima beans grow best in?

Lima beans require a pH of 6.0 to 6.8 and a loose, evenly moist, well-draining soil. Lima beans thrive on soil that is at least 65 ℉ and air temperatures that range from 65 to 80 ℉; if the weather is too hot, bean pods will not set.

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