When do pole beans start climbing?

LinelleMay 21, 2012

Last year I grew shell beans for the first time. Love love love. However, I thought bush beans would be the way to go, but everything was hidden and difficult to see under all the foliage. This year I planted pole beans, which were MUCH harder to find. I have erected teepees on which to climb and am wondering when the tendrils will appear and take hold. Right now they are about a foot high, still erect, but no sign of grabbing onto the structure.

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Should be any day now. As soon as it reaches the teepee and starts wrapping around it.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 2:09PM
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n2xjk, thanks for the reply! Can't wait. Usually I have to deal with birds eating my seedlings so I tied sparkly tape on the teepees to dissuade them. However, they grew soooo fast (like Jack and the Beanstalk) that they suddenly were too big for the birds to pick off.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 2:12PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

My Blue lakes were planted the Fri. before Easter. I needed a taller trellis since they have outgrown it! They attached to the rope trellis when they first started running.

I leaned my rake against the trellis the other day and forgot to put it up. I went out 2 days later and had to unwind the beans wrapping around it!

I'm going by the big box store to pick up some 2x2x8's on my way home. I'm going to use wire ties and tie them to the T-posts so that I can extend them.

Might not be as pretty, but hopefully it will work.

Note to self, buy longer T-posts for next year!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 3:01PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

"...wondering when the tendrils will appear..."

Beans don't have tendrils. The vine itself winds around the support.


Here is a link that might be useful: How do pole beans climb?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 3:12PM
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Beans don't have tendrils. The vine itself winds around the support.

Good to know. Now I'm wondering about some plants that are a few inches away from the teepee poles. Do I need to guide them over, or will they figure it out themselves?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 3:17PM
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Usually they figure it out. You should see a time lapse movie of a pole bean growing. The tip of the plant waves in circles until it finds something to wrap around.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 3:31PM
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n2xjk, awesome!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 3:43PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Bean vines tend toward a corkscrew even before they "find" a support. So, sometimes I help them a little by gently guiding them around the support a few times, although it isn't really necessary.

BTW, in the bean forum thread linked above, there are some interesting facts about the direction of spiral. It's something you can show your friends to amaze them with your gardening knowledge, as well as something interesting to watch in your garden.


    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 4:23PM
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According to the journal I've been keeping of what happens when: (In Southern MD)
I planted Kentucky Wonder pole beans on April 8th
They sprouted April 20th
I noted that they were starting to climb the trellis on May 17ths, but it may have started a day or two earlier.

I don't know how helpful zone 7 timing (And I think I have a microclimate) is for someone in 10, but I like keeping track of things that way, so I don't freak out next year....like I almost did about my peas taking a month to sprout. It was the same last year because I always plant them too early, haha.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 10:31PM
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suprneko(9b/sunset 16 NorCal, S. Bay)

Not directly related to the question but a funny story - I was still living with my parents and decided to plant a bunch of stuff for the first time, including pole beans along a chain link fence. There was 7" of retaining wall under the fence, so I carefully placed sticks along the planting holes and attached them to the fence. My experienced gardener mom asked me what those were for, I explained it was a bridge so the bean seedlings could reach the fence (duh). Of course the beans found the fence on their own. I am sure my mom had a good laugh over that...lol

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 11:49PM
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