When to sow runner beans in time for an abundant harvest this summer

This is the best time to sow your runner bean seeds for a successful and plentiful growing season

Runner bean plant
(Image credit: Getty Images/brytta)

As we’re slowly but surely heading into spring, this is the perfect time to start thinking about your garden and what to sow to have plenty of fresh produce when the time comes. But the timing of when to sow your chosen seeds is crucial to achieving success. And if your crop of choice is runner beans then you need to know when to sow runner beans.

Runner beans are a go-to vegetable to grow in English gardens as they're not only delicious but easy to grow and bountiful. It’s the perfect easy garden idea!

So if you’re after an abundant harvest this summer, then follow our garden experts’ advice on when to sow runner beans for the best results.

A garden with a basket filled with harvested crops including runner beans

(Image credit: Future PLC)

When to sow runner beans

If you’re wondering whether runner beans are one of the things to plant in February, we’re sorry to disappoint as February is far too early and too cold for runner beans to successfully grow and thrive. 

If you’re opting to start growing your runner bean seeds under cover, then you can sow them as early as April. But if you want to plant them directly into the ground, it’s recommended to wait a little longer for the soil to warm up.

A kitchen sink with the tap on washing a handful of runner beans

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

‘Here in the UK, I recommend sowing runner beans in late spring or summer - anywhere between May and July,’ says Steve Chilton, garden expert at LeisureBench.

Petar Ivanov, Fantastic Gardeners' gardening and plant expert, adds, ‘Seedlings of runner beans shouldn't be planted until the frosts are over.’

And then you just have to wait patiently until the summer to harvest your crop – depending on your particular variety, this should be anytime between July and October at the very latest.

Runner bean plant

(Image credit: Getty Images/Claire Plumridge)
Steve Chilton portrait
Steve Chilton

Steve is a passionate and knowledgeable garden expert with several years of experience within the field. As the director of LeisureBench, an industry-leading garden furniture company, Steve has developed strong expertise for all things nature and plants. 

Where to buy runner bean seeds:

Runner bean plant

(Image credit: Getty Images/R A Kearton)

FAQs

Which way up do you plant runner bean seeds?

Similarly to the technique how to plant bulbs, there is also a right and wrong way when planting runner bean seeds. Especially when it comes to which way the seed should be placed.

‘They should be planted so that they're face down in the soil,’ Steve says. ‘There should be a little scar where the seed was originally attached to its pod, and this should be facing downwards in the soil. The root will grow down and then turn itself up so that it's facing the light.’

Petar Ivanov portrait
Petar Ivanov

Petar Ivanov is one of the company's top-performing experts and manages over six teams of gardeners, delivering stunning landscape results and fostering a deep connection with nature through his work.

A basket with harvested crops including runner beans and beetroot

(Image credit: Future PLC/Alun Callender)

Do runner beans like sun or shade?

‘Runner beans like a sunny, sheltered position,’ Petar advises. ‘Weed the ground thoroughly, then fork in lots of well-rotted manure or garden compost,  at least two bucketfuls per square metre.’

Steve concludes, ‘Eight hours of direct sunlight a day is ideal but anything from six to eight is fine.’

Now you should be all set to sow and grow your own runner beans. Just hold your horses for a couple more months.

Sara Hesikova
News Writer

Sara Hesikova has been Ideal Home’s News Writer since July 2023, bringing the Ideal Home’s readership breaking news stories from the world of home and interiors. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors. She feels the two are intrinsically connected - if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.