How to Plant, Grow and Care Lima Beans Plants (FAQs Answered)

Want to know more about how to plant, grow, and care for lima beans in your garden? This article will answer all your questions about lima beans plants.

Lima Beans

Lima beans sometimes called “butter beans” due to their starchy but buttery texture; lima beans have a delicate flavor that complements a wide variety of dishes. Although fresh lima beans are often difficult to find, it is worth looking for in summer and fall, when they are in season. Dried and canned lima beans are available year-round.

The lima bean pod is flat, oblong, and slightly curved, with an average of seven centimeters in length. Inside the pod, there are two to four flattened kidney-shaped seeds, which we call fava beans. The seeds are usually cream or green in color, although some varieties have colors like white, red, purple, brown, or black.

How to plant Lima Beans
Lima Beans

Lima beans are a great source of cholesterol lowering fiber, as are most other legumes. In addition to lowering cholesterol, the high fiber content of lima beans prevents blood sugar levels from rising too quickly after a meal, making them an especially good option for people with diabetes, insulin resistance, or hypoglycemia when combined with whole grains like rice lima beans provide high-quality protein with virtually no fat.

You may already be familiar with the beans fibers and proteins, but that is far from all that lima beans have to offer.

Lima beans have been grown in Peru for over 7,000 years; historians are not sure whether they originated there or in Guatemala. Shortly after Columbus’ discovery of America, Spanish explorers noticed different varieties of lima beans growing in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean.

They were introduced in Europe and Asia, while Portuguese explorers introduced lima beans to Africa. Because lima beans can withstand the humid tropical climate better than most beans, it has become an important crop in areas of Africa and Asia.

Lima beans were introduced to the United States in the 19th century and most domestic commercial production was concentrated in California.

What are the different types of Lima Beans

There are two types of beans: the bush and pole or vine varieties.

Bush types grow to about 60 cm in height and tend to have smaller seeds; yield faster than pole lima bean varieties.

Pole Lima beans have large seeds and can grow from 3 to 3.6 meters in height.

Small seeded lima beans, usually shrub type, are also called Butter beans, Sieva beans, Burmese beans, Madagascar beans, Carolina beans, and baby lima beans. Large-sized lima beans are sometimes called potato limes.

Lima beans with large seeds are often sold as dried beans. Lima beans have light green pods that vary from 7 to 10 cm in length to 12 to 20 cm, depending on the variety. Lima beans are eaten, not pods. The leaves are usually composed of three leaflets and the flowers are white.

Some varieties are better for extended hot season climates and others stand out in more temperate zones. Many traditional varieties are still offered and work just as well as the newer varieties.

  • Natal: Large beans, burgundy and white, with a texture similar to that of potatoes. They are a traditional variety and take 90 days to mature.
  • Jackson Wonder butter beans: These beige beans have wine stains. They handle heat well, in addition to a shorter season, and take about 66 days to grow.
  • King of the Garden: The most cultivated variety, this one has large navy beans that are produced over a long season (88 days).
  • Henderson’s Bush: This is a very old and reliable variety with small white beans. It continues to produce for weeks and reaches maturity in about 65 days.
  • Ford hook 242: Large medium bean producer is a good option for colder climates. It takes about 72 days to mature.

How to plant Lima Beans

grow Lima Beans
plant and grow Lima Beans
  • Planting lima beans is not very difficult. They are similar to green beans, if that helps. However, the cultivation of lima beans involves specific cultural requirements.
  • Because they are native to Central America, they require a soil temperature of not less than 65 degrees F. The temperature of 65 degrees F. in the soil helps plants to germinate.
  • Start planting your lima beans in about 1 to 1 1/2 inches of warm, deep soil.
  • Space the lines about 60 cm apart.
  • Inside the rows, spread the seeds 5 to 4 centimeters apart.
  • After planting lima beans, keep an eye out for signs of germination, as you will want to thin the plants from 10 to 15 cm.
  • Watering should be done at a rate of about 2.5 cm per week during the period of flower and fruit development.
  • If lima beans run out of water during the flowering period, the flowers will fall prematurely and you will not get much fruit.
  • Lima beans grains can be grown as green beans, as some are a kind of gunpowder variety and others are a shrub variety. When lime grains are grown in the bush variety, the easiest ones are Ford hook 242, Henderson’s Bush and Baby Ford hook. The cultivation of lima beans is best carried out at temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees F. Summer is definitely the time to cultivate lima beans.

How do you grow Lima Beans

1# Best Site for Lima Beans

Grow lima beans in full sun; they will grow in partial shade, but the harvest will not be complete. Lima beans prefer loose, well-drained soil, rich in organic matter. The bean prefers soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8. Prepare planting beds in advance by working on a lot of old compost.

Avoid planting beans where the soil nitrogen is high or where the green manure crops have just grown; these grains will produce green foliage, but few grains.

2# Best Planting time for Lima Beans:

Lima beans are a tender year that grows best in air temperatures between 60° and 70°F. Plant the lima beans in the garden 3 to 4 weeks after the average date of the last frost in the spring, when the soil temperature was heated to 65° or more for at least 5 days.

Start the beans indoors 2 to 3 weeks before the average date of the last frost in the spring to transplant in the garden 3 to 4 weeks after the last frost. The beans can continue in the garden until the first frost in the fall.

Lima beans require a long period of growth and are not a good choice when the season is short. Lima beans do not harden fruits in temperatures above 27°C or in cold or humid weather. Schedule your plantings to avoid heat. In mild winter regions, lima beans can be sown in the fall for the winter harvest.

3# Planting and spacing requirement for Lima Beans

Sow lima beans 1½ to 2 inches deep. Plant lima beans, 7 to 6 inches apart; arrange the lines 24 to 30 inches apart. Plant lima beans 15 to 25 centimeters apart; arrange the rows 30 to 36 inches apart. Put poles, stakes or supports in place when planting.

Beans can also be planted in inverted hills: 5 or 6 seeds per hill; space hills 40 inches apart. Thin strong seedlings 10 to 15 centimeter apart. Remove the weakest seedlings by cutting them at ground level with scissors, taking care not to disturb the roots of the other seedlings. The beans can get crowded; they will use each other as support.

4# Companion plants for Lima Beans

Green beans: cucumber, corn, cucumber, celery, potato, summer salty. Beans: corn, beans, savory, sunflowers. Do not plant beans with onions, beets or kohlrabi.

How to care Lima Beans plant

Grow lima beans in well-drained soil with uniform moisture. Bean seeds can crack and germinate poorly if the soil moisture is too high at the time of planting. Do not water the seeds before planting them or they may crack; do not over the water after planting.

care Lima Beans plant
care Lima Beans plant

Keep the soil evenly moist during flowering and pod formation. Rain or aerial irrigation during flowering can cause flowers and small fruits to fall. When the soil temperature is above 60°F, apply mulch to conserve moisture.

Large lima beans may have difficulty penetrating soil that has not been well worked; when sowing, cover the seeds with sand, vermiculite or a mixture of peat moss and vermiculite. Cultivate around the beans carefully to avoid disturbing the shallow root system.

Do not handle wet beans; this can spread mold spores. Place posts, stakes or trellises before planting the beans. Select stands tall enough for the variety being grown. Rotate the beans to the beds where lettuce, pumpkin, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower or cabbage have grown in the past two years.

Lima Beans can be attacked by aphids, bean beetles, flea beetles, leafhoppers and mites. Aphids, leafhoppers and mites can be sprayed with a jet of water from the hose or controlled with insecticidal soap.

Look for eggs and infestations and crush them between your thumb and forefinger. Eliminate major infestations. Aphids can transmit the bean mosaic virus. Keep the garden clean and free of debris so that pests cannot lodge or spend the winter in the garden.           

Lima Beans are susceptible to rust, mosaic and anthracnose. Keep the yard clean and free of debris. Avoid handling plants when wet to avoid the spread of fungal spores. Diseased plants removed; put them in a paper bag and throw them away.

Beans are susceptible to many soil-borne diseases; Rotating beans so that they don’t grow in the same place more than every three years will reduce soil-borne diseases.

Are Lima Beans easy to grow?

Lima beans are easy to grow, but it takes time to reach maturity, which is why many gardeners don’t like Lima beans due to the long-term investment in this to get a beautiful end product. Lima beans are very easy to grow and nutritious. They are the natives of South and Central America.

They are vegetables that grow at temperatures between 15 degrees Celsius and 22 degrees Celsius. Harvesting and cooking beans is very easy. You can start preparing beans for cooking immediately after harvest or you can even dry them so they can be stored for a long time. Freshly harvested beans last up to two weeks when stored in the refrigerator.

Lima beans are generally easier to handle than bar varieties.

Do Lima Beans need a Trellis?

Yes. But Pole lima beans varieties require a trellis for support. Know your bean’s growing habit before planting it in the garden. Bushy types grow 2 to 3 feet tall and may need cuttings when covered with fruit. Some lima beans are in the habit of climbing and need a trellis.

Others, however, are wild beans that do not need much support. The pole lima beans need a strong support, as the vines can easily grow 3 meters or more and fill with pole. Plant four to six seeds on each side of a trellis. Pole lima beans have much better resistance to insects. They mature later than shrub varieties and need a fence, lattice, or wire mesh to climb, but will produce more beans per square meter of garden space.

How long does it take to grow Lima Beans

  • The lima bean varieties are ready for harvest 60 to 80 days after planting; Grain bean varieties are ready for harvest in 85 to 90 days.
  • The general time period for germinating lima beans is between six and 18 days. This occurs after the beans are planted in moist, well-drained soil to a depth of 1 inch in the soil, which is at least 65 degrees.
  • Cold soil temperatures increase germination time, while warmer temperatures with a lot of humidity decrease germination time, perhaps as low as three to six days. Dry soil never promotes germination.

Where do Lima Beans grow?

Lima beans are an interesting bean crop that grows in the hot season. They are native to Central America but can be grown elsewhere. In the USA, it is a hot season crop, grown mainly in Delaware and the Mid-Atlantic region for processing and in the Midwest and California for dry beans.

Lima beans are planted in early June and harvested 10-12 weeks later. Bush-type lima beans are often the best choice for climates with short-growing season. Lima beans work best on fragile and fragile soils, so that sprouts can easily break through the soil surface.

The lima bean grows in slightly acidic soils with a pH of 6.0 to 7. Plant the lima bean when you are sure that the danger of frost has passed, as the lima bean cannot tolerate even a light frost.

Germination and growth are poor when the soil temperature is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Lima beans do best in climates where the air temperature varies from 60°F to 70°F during the growing season. They will not rot if temperatures exceed 80°F or become very cold for a long time.

They must be grown somewhere where they receive a lot of direct sunlight. Avoid soils with high nitrogen content or garden beds where other legumes have recently grown.

Where do Lima Beans grow
Where do Lima Beans grow

Why are my Lima Beans not producing?

Water stress and heat can also wreak havoc your lima bean production. Hot days and hot nights dry the plant and reduce the number of seeds or result in poorly developed seeds (flat fruits). This is more prevalent in large planted lima beans.

Water regularly during periods of heat, but be careful of downy mildew. If you live in a typically warm region, start growing your seeds in early May with black plastic mulch to heat the soil and row mulches to protect the plants.

There are several pest and disease problems that create problems in growing lima beans. In fact, many fungal spores have been in the soil for two to three years, so you should always change the location of the beans every year. The empty fruits of the eating insects would obviously be obvious, as there would be holes in the fruits.

Like all beans, they fix nitrogen, so these beans don’t need that extra dose that you would normally give to other garden products. This means that there is also no fresh compost. Too much nitrogen will give you lush foliage, but it won’t affect bean production too much. You can dress with compost if you want.

Finally, immature beans or a lack of pods can be a time factor. You may not have waited long enough for the beans to ripen. 

What’s the difference between Butter Beans and Lima Beans?

The lima beans are more related to the butter beans, they are the same! In the south, lima beans are often referred to as butter beans and in the UK they are almost exclusively referred to as butter beans. It seems that a lot of people don’t like lima beans.

The lima beans may have some kind of flavor to taste raw starch. Lima beans can be consumed both in the immature phase (fresh and green) and in maturity (dry and beige). Americans tend to eat them mainly at the immature stage, but if you’re not a Lima lover, you might want to try them cooked dry, rather than fresh.

You can cook them yourself, which like all dried beans can take a long time to soak and boil, or you can. The texture is creamier and the flavor is rich and buttery. You can be surprised and convert.

Can Lima Beans kill you?

No way. Lima beans don’t kill you, but they are one of many plants that naturally contain some level of the poisonous cyanide. You may have been forced to eat these vegetables, but you should never eat a raw one. Lima beans have a compound called linamarin, which breaks down into cyanide.

Fortunately, cooking beans for just 10 to 20 minutes makes them completely harmless to eat. Unlike other parts of the world, Lima beans sold in the United States are expected to have relatively low levels of cyanide.

As a result, people don’t normally die from eating raw lima beans, but in theory, this is possible if consumed in large quantities. Don’t do it!

Can Lima Beans kill you
Can Lima Beans kill you

How tall do Lima Beans grow?

Shrub types grow 2 to 3 feet tall and may need cuttings when covered with fruit. The pods need a strong support, as the vines can easily grow 3 meters or more and fill with pods. Plant four to six seeds on each side of a lattice or tent.

The height can negatively affect many factors, such as: pests, diseases, environment, companion plant, fertilizer (especially nitrogen fertilizer), and plant to plant distance, cultivation medium (pot, container or garden).

What makes Lima Beans grow faster

Additions of coffee ground in soil make boost to lima bean plant to faster its growth due to presence of nitrogen.

The correct soil pH is necessary for a bean. When pH levels are outside the ideal range for plants, seeds and young plants have problems absorbing the necessary nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, which are necessary for root and stem growth. Lima beans prefer a slightly acidic soil, with a pH level between 6 and 6.5.

Lima beans are easily affected by fungi or soil bacteria, as it is rich in carbohydrates, making it an ideal food source for these pathogens.

Bean treated with antifungal before planting has faster germination and higher germination percentage. Thus, when the plant is free of fungi or bacteria, the best vegetative and reproductive growth is obtained.   

A rich, clayey soil with a high content of organic matter is ideal for better growth of lima beans. In addition to being rich in nutrients, compost or soil rich in organic matter is less likely to form a hardened crust.

What is the best fertilizer for Lima Beans?

The bean grows best in fertile soil. On marginal or medium soils, place 1.5 pounds of balanced universal fertilizer (20-20-20) per 30 meters of row during planting. Place two inches on the side and two inches below the seed to avoid damaging it.     

Legumes generally do not need additional fertilizers, especially if the soil is already rich. However, since lima beans have a long growing season, it is useful to give them compost or compost, or a dose of organic fertilizer, in the middle of the season. These sources of slow-release nutrients will help plants continue for the rest of the season.   

Avoid adding more nitrogen because beans and other legumes have nitrogen-fixing nodules in their roots and fix yours after they are established. The excess of nitrogen slows flowering and favors the excessive growth of the vine.

How often do you water Lima Beans

Keep the soil moist until germination and make sure that the plants receive at least 1 inch of water per week. In hot, dry climates, water more often and cover the roots to keep the soil fresh. Pay special attention when the plants are in bloom and start placing the pods; they will drop them if they experience a drought at this point.

Water the beans regularly. Keep the soil moist, but don’t over water; it should never be soaked. Plant-based water such as overhead irrigation can cause fungi and diseases in the foliage. As the fruit develop, water gently to avoid breaking the beans. Use mulch to keep the soil moist and control weeds.

What animal is eating my Green Bean plants

As if insects and plant diseases were not enough for a gardener, deer, rabbits, groundhogs, squirrels, squirrels and rats also do their share of damage. Like their tiny counterparts, these animals do not distinguish between what to eat and what not to eat. They instinctively go where the food is, especially when their regular food sources are interrupted.

Bean plants (Phaseolus vulgaris), both from the bush and from the mast, are readily available to them, and each animal species leaves its mark that helps to identify them. Putting a physical barrier between beanstalks and four-legged harvesters may be the only safe way to protect your crops.

  • Rabbits can reduce a lush garden at ground level in no time. They feed on all sides and all parts of the plant.
  • Squirrels, squirrels and rats, all rodents, attack beans from all angles. Squirrels often chew on ripe leaves and / or beans.
  • Like rabbits, groundhogs can decimate a garden in no time, but they eat more mess than rabbits and leave a lot of debris behind. Marmots are attracted by the leaves, stems and pods of beans. They can damage parts of plants, eating portions of them, tearing off pieces of leaves and consuming parts of beans or whole beans.
  • Deer usually feed on bean plants from top to bottom, starting from the leaves and up the stems, consuming flowers and beans. If they don’t finish the job, the plants will appear to have been cut off at the top or their top leaves will be lost.

Are Lima Beans poisonous

Lima beans or butter beans (of the same species-Phaseolus lunatus L.) contain linamarin, a cyanogenic glycoside. When the plant is damaged (chewed) or in the early stages of processing (crushing, shaking, etc.), cyanide can be released, which is believed to be a protective and evolutionary advantage for the plant.

Humans have the ability to detoxify small amounts of cyanide, as long as they are not consumed frequently and have enough protein in their diets. Sufficient protein in the diet provides adequate sulfur to the liver and muscle tissues to support excretion in the urine.

Parts of Africa suffer from chronic cyanide poisoning (a disease called konzo) because they have to live on under-processed cassava during droughts.

The cyanide content of wild beans can be very high (Costa Rica, Mexico, Nigeria: 3,000-4,000 mg / kg) Fortunately, in the USA, commercially grown beans must have <200 mg of cyanide / kg. The cyanide content in US lima beans is typically 100 to 170 mg / kg.

Do Lima Beans need Sunlight

The lima beans must be in an area that receives full sunlight, which means eight to 10 hours of sunlight a day. Planting lima beans in an area that receives six to seven hours of full sun a day can reduce the expected yield of the plants.

What makes Lima Beans grow faster
What makes Lima Beans grow faster

Most beans require a soil temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit or more to germinate well; Lima beans need at least a soil temperature of 70 F.

Since beans need full sun, they can be in trouble if they don’t get at least six hours of sunshine a day. Plants that receive less than six hours of sunshine per day may bloom, but will not produce as many grains. This is because the wrong amount of sunlight causes the flowers to fall.

W hat type of soil is best for Lima Beans

Lima beans work best on crumbly and loose soils, so that sprouts can easily break through the soil surface. Lima beans thrive in slightly acidic soils with a pH of 6.0 to 7. The type of soil affects the depth of planting. If your soil is heavy and moist, plant lima beans just a few inches deep.

On sandy soil, plant the lima beans a little deeper, about two inches. In cold and humid conditions, lima beans are at higher risk of bacterial and fungal diseases, such as stem and root rot.

Before planting lima beans, loosen the soil to a depth of at least 30 centimeters, as the vigorous roots extend up to 36 to 48 centimeters in the soil. Lima beans benefit from the application of a 5-10-10 fertilizer incorporated into the soil at the time of planting.

Use only about 1 cup of granulated fertilizer for every 15 meters of line, as too much fertilizer usually results in lush plants with few grains. To improve the alkaline soil, apply a generous amount of peat moss to the soil.

Can I grow Lima Beans in a Container

Yes. It is easy to grow lima beans in a container. The only downside is the need for vertical space as they grow. Plants are climbing plants and need a 3-5 foot support system to keep them growing strong.

The porch or deck railing is a perfect source of support for growing vines and a large container can provide many fresh lima beans during the summer. Use these tips and grow lima beans and enjoy many delicious vegetables this summer.

Growing Lima Beans in Containers

To grow lima beans at home, select a container at least 15 centimeters deep and 30 centimeters wide. . A porch rail planter, window sill planter, or recycled Apex Trellis Planter 0-1 dish pan are the perfect size for growing lima beans grains in containers. Mix equal parts of potting soil and compost, then add 1/4 cup of balanced granulated fertilizer (10-10-10) to the mixture.

Make sure that the container has enough drainage holes (1-3) and place a coffee filter over each hole to prevent dirt from running out during watering. Put the mixture in the selected container and water the soil until the water drains through the bottom drain holes. Let stand for 2-3 days before planting the seeds.

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I hope you get an idea on how to plant, grow, and care for lima beans at home, and its answers all the FAQs related to lima beans:

  • What are the different types of Lima Beans
  • How to plant Lima Beans
  • How do you grow Lima Beans
  • How to care Lima Beans plant
  • Are Lima Beans easy to grow?
  • Do Lima Beans need a Trellis?
  • How long does it take to grow Lima Beans
  • Where do Lima Beans grow?
  • Why are my Lima Beans not producing?
  • What’s the difference between Butter Beans and Lima Beans?
  • Can Lima Beans kill you?
  • How tall do Lima Beans grow?
  • What makes Lima Beans grow faster
  • What is the best fertilizer for Lima Beans?
  • How often do you water Lima Beans
  • What animal is eating my Green Bean plants
  • Are Lima Beans poisonous
  • Do Lima Beans need Sunlight
  • W hat type of soil is best for Lima Beans
  • Can I grow Lima Beans in a Container
  • Growing Lima Beans in Containers