How to Plant Scarlet Runner Bean


Scarlet runner beans produce edible beans packed with fiber and nutrients, but they are often grown for their ornamental value. These fast-growing vines reach heights of 10 feet or more when planted in a sunny location, and they quickly cover trellises and fences with heart-shaped leaves to offer shade to weary gardeners. Blooms appear in midsummer and grace the vines with abundant scarlet flowers that later develop into pods, producing rose-colored beans that are considered delicious.

Step 1

Prepare an area for scarlet runner beans in a sunny location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. These hardy plants thrive in summer sun and prefer all-day sun in northern climates, but they may benefit from partial shade from the afternoon sun in southern gardens.

Step 2

Till the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches and remove rocks, roots and other debris.

Step 3

Add a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost or well-rotted manure. This will improve drainage and condition the soil. Mix it in well with the top 6 inches of soil.

Step 4

Apply 1 cup of 5-10-10 fertilizer per 50-foot planting row and work it in well.

Step 5

Plant scarlet runner beans in spring after the danger of frost has passed in your area and soil temperatures remain above 50 degrees F. Cool, damp soil inhibits germination, and seed often rots before sprouting if subjected to cold, wet soil for more than one or two days.

Step 6

Plant bean seeds to a depth of 1/2 to 1 inch. Space them 3 to 4 inches apart and 2 to 4 inches from the fence or trellis that will be used for their support. These runner beans require a 10-foot structure, such as an arbor or trellis, for support.

Step 7

Cover the seeds with soil and firm it down with the back of a hoe.

Step 8

Water to moisten the soil to a depth of 2 to 3 inches. Keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate. Seedlings typically emerge within 7 to 14 days, depending on the soil temperature and moisture level.

Step 9

Cultivate with a hoe, or pull weeds by hand, to the keep the area free of competing weeds. Use caution when weeding because scarlet runner beans develop shallow root systems and are easily uprooted along with large weeds growing close to the base of the beans. Pull weeds when small or cut them with the blade of the hoe to avoid damage to bean roots.

Step 10

Water the bean plants deeply once each week. Allow soil to dry before watering again.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden tiller/shovel
  • Hoe
  • Rake
  • Compost or manure
  • Measuring cup
  • 5-10-10 fertilizer
  • Fence, trellis or arbor


  • Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service: Growing Beans in the Home Vegetable Garden
  • University of Illinois Extension: Watch Your Garden Grow--Beans
  • Ed Hume Seeds: Scarlet Runner Bean

Who Can Help

  • University of Vermont Extension: Grow Vertical Vegetables
  • The-Organic-Gardener: Tips for Growing Runner Beans
Keywords: scarlet runner beans, grow beans, plant beans, grow runner beans, plant runner beans

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.