How the Presence of Iron Affects Bean Plant Growth


Bean plants require a mixture of nutrients in the soil during the growth, bloom and production periods of the life cycle. Iron is vital to the healthy growth of the bean plant. Iron aids in the formation of life-sustaining chlorophyll. It also helps the legume plant process and use nitrogen, which prevents stunted growth.


The bean plant is sensitive to low iron levels in garden soil. Low iron areas in the soil will have a high pH, low organic matter content, and free calcium carbonate, according to Colorado State University Extension. Low iron content in the soil will give specific symptoms to the bean plant.


A bean plant that is receiving less iron nutrients than it needs will develop chlorosis. Iron deficiency shows up on young plants or new growth of a plant first. Young leaves of a plant that is suffering from chlorosis are yellow. The emerging young leaves of the severely deficient plant will be yellow or nearly white.


The roots of an iron deficient plant excrete phenolic compounds which will turn them a brown color. The phenolic compounds produced by the roots cause a distinct smell. An unhealthy root system is a weak foundation for a deficient plant. The subsequent crop will be lacking in volume and quality.

Soil Tests

Soil tests should be performed on garden soil if there is any question of deficiencies. County extension offices will have information and soil test kits available for purchase, according to Texas A&M University. The test results will show the gardener what nutrients will be needed to amend the soil.


Crop rotation can give the soil a period of time to recover after an iron-deleting crop has been grown there. Iron nutrients can be incorporated with fertilizer into the soil if it is tested before crops are planted. Iron-containing compounds are mixed with water and sprayed on to a crop if it is tested and proven to be iron deficient.

Keywords: iron deficient beans, growing bean plants, iron and beans

About this Author

Suzie Faloon is a freelance writer who has written online content for Demand Studios and Associated Content. As a professional crafter and floral designer, Faloon owned a florist business for nearly 25 years. She completed the Institute of Children's Literature course in 1988.