Developmental Stages of a Bean Plant

Considered as one of the fastest growing species of the plant empire, a bean is a large seed classified under the legume family, where peas and lentils also belong. The common bean hails its roots as far back as the Native American era and is a common ingredient in many meals. Like other living things, the bean plant goes through a life cycle.

Germination Stage

A hard outer shell covers the bean seed. The germination stage for a bean plant happens rapidly; it can take only one week for the seed to germinate. It needs water to complete this stage of its life cycle.

Swelling Stage

Soon after receiving its healthy dose of water, the bean plant goes through a swelling stage. This happens before the hard shell bursts open. The sprout appears, and soon after, the shoot (or the hypocotyl) surfaces, which looks similar to a bowed hairpin. The roots, at this stage, also grow underground.

Growth of Stem and Leaves

After the bean plant springs out, it begins the process of developing into a full-grown plant. When the shoot emerges from the soil, it has its first taste of sunlight. The plant's exposure to direct sunlight triggers phototropism. This process enables the shoot to stand upright. This stage in the life of a bean seedling requires approximately six weeks. At the end of this cycle, the bean plant is ready for the reproductive stage.

Reproductive Stage

Also known as the flowering stage, this stage in a bean plant's life is when flowers appear and fertilization starts. Upon completion of the fertilization stage, the flowers wither and disappear, when all the petals finally dry out. Then, the ovaries of the flowers breed into bean pods.

Green Bean Stage

In the green bean stage, the bean pods are very fragile and green in color. Bean pods that fully grow evolve into stuffed pods filled with luscious seeds. These seeds at this stage are edible and are rich in protein. Many people eat green beans whether in uncooked or cooked form as a source of protein.


Farmers and home growers do not harvest all bean pods; they preserve the plant and allow it to flourish. Upon full maturity, the remaining bean pods wither and break open. The seeds from these dried-up pods fall on the ground and germinate. A seed-to-seed process happens, wherein the annual life cycle of a new bean plant begins. The bean plant goes through nitrogen fixation with the help of bacteria present in the soil.

Keywords: beans, soybeans, lima beans, plant growth, development of plants, phototropism

About this Author

Josie Borlongan is a full-time IT Manager and a writer. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in medical technology from Saint Louis University, Philippines. Borlongan writes for eHow, Garden Guides,, and She is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and a Cisco Certified Network Associate.