How to Plant Lima Bean Seeds


Lima beans are native to Central America where they grow as perennials, but they can be grown in any place where the soil gets to 70 to 85 degrees, and there are 60 to 100 days of growing time available. Commercial growers will usually inoculate their lima beans with bacteria for better growth, but it is rarely necessary for home gardens where there is plenty of organic material in the soil. Unless you have plenty of space and don't mind setting up supports for the vines, you should plan on using bush-type varieties that will bloom and fruit like other garden beans.

Step 1

Prepare your garden by removing the weeds and working the soil down about 4 to 6 inches. If there are any obvious rocks or large objects in the soil, you will want to remove them. Lima beans can be planted every 3 to 4 inches in rows about 24 inches apart, so you can drag your hoe through the soil to mark your rows.

Step 2

Set your seeds into the row, one seed every 4 inches. If you notice a seed is cracked or shriveled so it doesn't look like the others, throw it out. You can plant them a little closer if you have plenty of seeds and want to make sure you don't have any gaps where some seeds don't germinate. You can thin out crowded seedlings later.

Step 3

Push the soil in over the beans so that they are buried about an inch under the soil. Press the soil down by walking single-file over the planted beans, one foot in front of the other. This will also make the beans a little more inaccessible to hungry birds or squirrels.

Step 4

Water the lima beans by sprinkling the soil after the beans are planted. The water should not unearth the beans, simply moisten the soil. Water the area every day until you see the sprouts appear on top of the soil. Once the visible growth has started, you should not have to water the lima bean plants unless they start wilting.

Things You'll Need

  • Lima bean seeds
  • Hoe


  • University of Delaware: Lima Beans
  • Oregon State University: Lima Beans, Commercial Vegetable Production
Keywords: plant lima beans, lima beans garden, lima bean seeds

About this Author

Based in Maryland, Heidi Braley, currently writes for local and online media outlets. Some of Braley's articles from the last 10 years are in the "Oley Newsletter," "Connections Magazine," GardenGuides and Braley's college life included Penn State University and Villanova University with her passions centered in nutrition and botany.