By: Heather Rhoades
When bean blossoms drop off without producing a pod, it can be frustrating. But, as with many things in the garden, if you understand why you are having bean blossom problems, you can work toward fixing the issue. Read on to learn more about this problem with bean plants.
Normal early season drop – Most bean plants will naturally drop some blossoms early in the season. This will pass rather quickly and soon the bean plant will produce pods.
Lack of pollinators – While many bean varieties are self fertile, some are not. And even the plants that are self fertile will produce better if they have some help from pollinators.
Too much fertilizer – While piling on the fertilizer may seem like a great idea, oftentimes this can cause problems, especially with beans. Bean plants that have too much nitrogen will have trouble creating pods. This will also cause the bean plants to produce fewer blossoms overall as well.
High temperatures – When the temperatures go too high (normally above 85 F./29 C.), bean flowers will fall off. The high heat makes it difficult for the bean plant to keep itself alive and it will drop its blossoms.
Soil is too wet – Bean plants in soil that is too wet will produce blooms but will not produce pods. The wet soil prevents the plant from taking up the right amount of nutrients from the soil and the bean plants will be unable to support the pods.
Not enough water – Much like when the temperatures are too high, bean plants that receive too little water are stressed and will drop their blossoms because they must focus on keeping the mother plant alive.
Not enough sunlight – Bean plants need five to seven hours of light to produce pods, and eight to 10 hours to produce pods well. A lack of sunlight could be cause by improperly locating the plants or by planting the bean plants too close together.
Disease and pests – Disease and pests can weaken a bean plant. Bean plants that are weakened will focus on keeping themselves alive rather than producing bean pods.
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This is my first year growing veg's. I've created a 6'x6' plot with loads of old compost into which I have a couple of Marrow Plants, 3 Tomatoe plants, a couple of rows of peas and a long row of Runner Beans.
All are growing beautifully & healthily and have loads of flowers from which the various vegies are growing - All apart from the Runner Beans - They were purchased as small plants, planted at the base of 6' canes and have shot to the top and beyond and are a Mass of Red Flowers that are well visited by Bees and other polinating insects - HOWEVER - The flowers eventually drop and just leave a stalk. No little runner bean, ready to grow big and feed me. All plants are watered regulary but not over watered, I've added a bit of feed to the water on a couple of occasions over the past month.
Can anyone enlighten me as to why the flowers just drop off and are not producing beans ??
Hi, I've just been to look at our beans which are in flower and as yet there are no new beans growing. My husband Ian says spray the plants with water, but in my gardening book it says this has no effect, as they are insect pollinated and the insects are brought out by warmth. Grow runners in sheltered rather than exposed positions to encourage insects. They are also more attracted to the white flowered runner varieties than they are to pink or red flowered ones.
Needless to say we have always grown red flowering varieties and there has been no problem with the setting of the beans. I think the weather this year has been too cold and wet and everything is later than usual, you could always use an artists brush to pollinate them if the insects aren't doing their job.
Here’s a question I get often: “I've always planted bush beans before. Is there anything I need to know about growing and harvesting pole beans that may be different?” One of the major differences between bush beans and pole beans is how they mature. Pole beans grow six to eight feet tall if they've got a structure to climb, and the blossoms will form and begin to produce beans at the base of the plant weeks before you get a harvest from the top. This is one of the reasons pole beans are so prolific. Your harvest starts down low early on, but as your plants grow they will produce more and more blossoms and beans.
My Blue Lake Pole beans haven't been blooming quite that long, but I noticed today that they don't have many pods either.
I did pick a big bowl of Fortex today (and dug my potatoes)!
yes, the heat can have something to do with it. also the variety of bean. some seem more heat tolerant than others, and others are quite a bit more finicky about trace nutrients. i have some right now that show some deficiency problems but they are growing next to others in that exact same soil that are doing just fine.
that said, i have tons of beans here and it has been into the mid-90sF, but recently it has cooled off and even more beans are coming along.
if your heat has been into the 100sF that would likely be most of the reason IMO.
beans are self-fertile, they should just do their own thing.
one thing you can check is to see if the young beans have been falling off (aborted) or not forming at all. the aborted beans would be because of plant stress or lack of water or trace nutrients. but if you have other plants doing ok and putting on beans then it would be a sensitivity of that variety.
one of the reasons i grow so many beans is to find varieties that do well here no matter what.
I have been waiting for my broad beans to grow for months now, the flowers have been there for so long now I don't believe I will get any broad beans.
I am very upset cos this is the first time I have grown any-thing and even though every-thing else has done ok, my broad beans have been very difficult to take care of.
Please tell me that all is not lost and that I will get broad beans on my plant when the flower has finally died. At least 2 months if not more the flowers have been out. thank you x
The reason why you have flowers and no beans on your broad beans could be due to a number of factors that you should be able to control.
First of all, check your soil. As mentioned in the article, broad beans love a heavily manured, rich soil that should contain high levels of calcium, magnesium and potash to grow really well. Also feed them regularly with a dose of seaweed or compost tea.
Natural sources of calcium include wood ash, crushed egg shells and bone meal. A natural source for magnesium is banana peels. Cut them up and dig them around your broad beans. Potash may be added in the form of rock dust, seaweed meal or ash from your fireplace as long as you burn untreated timber. Liming the soil will also help in growing broad beans.
Secondly, broad beans are partially self-pollinating, and partially cross-pollinating. If you have a lack of bees or insect action on your broad beans you will have a lack of pods.
If the weather has been too windy for the bees to come out then you won't have the pollination you were hoping for. Also, if the weather has been too hot, then your pods won't set either.
For the pollination problem you can try and self-pollinate yourself by taking a small paint brush and tickling the throats of the broad bean flowers to get the pollen onto the stamens. Time consuming, but if your soil conditions are right, you will definitely see the results with pods shortly after that.
If the weather has been hot of late, then mist the broad bean flowers to encourage them to set. The best time to do this is of an evening time. Add 2 tablespoons of agricultural lime to about 2 gallons of water. Spray the plants and deep water to keep the roots cool.
Broad beans do take a while to grow it takes 3-4 months from seed to harvest, so you may be a little impatient.
Let us know how you get on and don't give up. Growing vegetables are well worth the trouble.
Can I please know how to pollinate beans by myself?
You can pollinate any vegetable by yourself, but why would you? If you keep bees, and encourage insects into your garden, pollinating vegetables and fruit trees should be done for you.
However, if you want to pollinate yourself then get yourself a small paint brush. Brush the pollen from the stamens and then brush over the stigma of the plant. This will ensure that your broad beans will be pollinated and should produce a good harvest.
Broad beans only produce beans during the spring months no matter when you plant them (go here for a info sheet http://www.agric.wa.gov.au/objtwr/imported_assets/content/hort/veg/cp/peas/f04899.pdf )
For anyone in Australia, it may be useful to know that honeyeaters are excellent pollinators.
Perhaps there are some birds in UK too that perform this function.
I assume you are growing your beans in a sunny location so let's go to the next item.
The most important requirement is to have the proper nutrients in the soil. I myself use well rotted manure from my neighbors cows. If you do not have a close enough neighbor for manure then start a compost bed if you have not done so.
I find my beans grow best in a loose rich soil. I also use manure tea. Just place manure in a 5 gallon bucket filled with water and let soak for several days. I pour mine directly on the soil using any handy item for dipping the liquid from the buck. Then I just replace what ever water I took out.
You can usually tell by the color when it is time to dump the spent manure on the compost pile and start a new batch.
When strained through a filter of some kind I even use this on all my other plants as well as my house plants.