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Grow & Care - Lima Beans

Fast Facts

Light Requirements Full sun
Temperature Adaptations Tender: plant between average date of last spring frost (about when the first apples bloom) and July 15.
Acidity (pH) Tolerance 6.8 - 5.5
Salinity (Ec) Tolerance 1.0
How Pollinated Self pollinating
Growth Habits Annual

Additional Information

Fertilizer Requirements

Beans grow best in fertile soils. In marginal or average soils, band 1.5 pounds of balanced all-purpose fertilizer (20-20-20) for every 100 feet of row when planting. Place two inches to the side and two inches below the seed so that it does not damage the seed.

Avoid adding further nitrogen because beans and other legumes have nitrogen fixing nodules on their roots and fix their own once established. Excess nitrogen delays flowering and encourage excess vine growth.

Water Utilization

Lima Beans require an average amount of water, but do best in a well-drained soil. Water frequently to avoid water deficiency during bloom/fruiting period. Root systems are shallow and plants wilt easily during hot summer weather. If Lima Bean plants are allowed to dry out, they may drop their flowers.

Plant Development and Care

Beans have four stages of development: germination and establishment, rapid vegetative growth, flowering and pod development, and pod fill and maturation. During germination and establishment phase, the seedling emerges and three nodes are visible on the main stem. During rapid vegetative growth, branches develop in leaf axes at each node and a new node develops every three days. During flowering, the blossoms appear at the nodes and pods grow 5 to 6 inches long.

Beans grow best in well-drained silty loam soils. They are very sensitive to excess water which will injure bean plants and encourage disease. Organic matter can be added to improve some types of soil.

Bean seeds rot in cool, wet soils. Plant in moist, warm soil to hasten germination. Use high quality, certified seed that has been treated with pesticides to avoid problems with fungi, bacteria, insects, and seed-borne pathogens. Remove and dispose of diseased plants to avoid spreading diseases.

Beans are extremely sensitive to saline conditions so the soil and irrigation water should be managed properly to avoid salt accumulation. A high salt content in the soil will cause some damage to the plants and possibly reduce yields.

Germination Time (Days)

31 days at 59 F
18 days at 68 F
7 days at 77 F
7 days at 86 F

Seed Germination and Temperature Range

75 F

Common Fertilizer Deficiencies

Zinc (Zn) Beans are sensitive to zinc deficiencies. They generally occur in soils where the topsoil has been removed, soils low in organic matter, or soils with a pH greater than 7.0.

Lima Beans


Harvest lima beans when the pods bulge and you can feel the beans. Split open pods much like peas to remove beans.