How to Grow Beans in Pots

Green beans can be beautiful plants for pots. With their pretty flowers and attractive foliage they can be a real asset on a sheltered patio, balcony or in a courtyard setting.

There are climbing and bush forms of green beans which include scarlet runners and haricot or French beans; all are possibilities for containers.

(Photo: Hmun)

Sowing the seed

Beans dislike cold and are killed by frost, so start the seeds in pots indoors and plant out in late spring or early summer. Scarlet runner bean seeds can be sown individually in 9cm (3”) pots or in root trainers.

Haricot beans can be sown two or three seeds to each pot. Sow about three weeks before you want to plant out. This will produce substantial, well-rooted plants that will get off to a flying start when planted out.


Climbing beans need a large container, deep enough to support canes or other framework used to grow them up. A half barrel filled with multi-purpose growing media with added loam is ideal.

A container that is 75cm ( 30”) in diameter would support eight or nine plants growing up a simple wigwam of canes.

Although climbing beans can be grown in grow-bags this is rarely ideal. The small volume of compost means that it is difficult to keep them watered when fully grown; supporting the plants is a challenge. If you want to use grow bags then choose bush haricot beans.


Watering is critical at the flower production stage. If the plants dry out the buds drop. In warm weather, when the plants are in full growth and flower; they enjoy being sprayed with water over leaves and flowers in early morning or evening. This also helps with pollination.

Companion planting

Climbing beans can be combined with lighter growing sweet peas such as the old-fashioned ‘Cupani’ to make them even more attractive. The scarlet blooms of a red-flowered bean make a striking combination with the rich purple flowers of the sweet pea.

A few nasturtiums or calendulas can be sown around the base of the beans to add colour around the top of the container.


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