Knowledge of the life cycle of bean plants allows for greater appreciation and better luck when growing them in your garden. Growing through many different stages, a bean becomes a fully blooming plant. The relative ease of growing bean plants makes them a home vegetable garden staple. No matter the type of bean plant (lima bean, chickpea or soybean), the life cycle remains the same.
Understanding the life cycle of a bean will help you to become a better gardener of these particular kinds of plants. Knowing what to expect will alert you when something goes wrong, and will ensure that your bean plant is headed on the fast track to germination. Becoming intimate with the process will also give you a greater appreciation when your little bean becomes a big, healthy plant sprouting beans of its very own. Through the processes of germination to flowering and fruiting, one bean becomes a plant that yields many, providing food as well as the chance for many more bean plants in the future.
The process begins with a single bean, which is covered in a hard shell and has not yet germinated. When water and heat are provided to the bean it will begin to germinate. It does not yet need to be in soil, though it can be, because it has a storage of food already in the cotyledons on both sides of the bean.
After germination the plant begins to sprout out of the ground, first with a stem and then with leaves. After this process the flowering of the plant begins. The flower color varies depending on the type of bean, but they will always appear on the ends of the stems.
Fruiting then begins, with the flowers turning into beans. After the plants have thrived for a time, which will vary depending on conditions, the plants die off and shrivel.
A bean, given proper conditions, can germinate in a very short period of time, usually a matter of days. From there, the sprouting of a stem and leaves begins immediately.
Flowering begins approximately six weeks after germination. Garden conditions will then determine how long it takes for the plant to go from flowering to fruiting, and how long the beans (the fruit) lasts before the plant dies. These conditions include weather, fertilization, watering and sunlight. In order to speed up the time between flowering and fruiting, and to slow the time between fruiting and death, make sure your plant is receiving the best care possible.
In order to get the seed to germinate, place the bean in the soil about an inch down and water, or you can use the paper towel method by placing the bean inside a plastic baggie, nestled in paper towel that has been wet with warm water. This can then be taped to a window in order to assure it receives ample warmth through the sun.
After germination, place the sprouted bean in soil, with the roots down and the green stem pointing up out of the soil. After the plant gets big enough it should be given a trellis to wrap around and support itself. Make sure to water the plant frequently and to fertilize once it has begun to flower.
When the life cycle ends and the bean plants have shriveled and died, till them back into the soil so that the nutrients get into the garden for next season.