The Green Bean Plant Stages: Cycle of Development

Green Bean Plant Stages

The green bean plant, also called Phaseolus Vulgaris, is a widely popular vegetable throughout the world. These delicious green veggies can be steamed, stir fried, roasted, or even added to salads. In this article, we will go over the many green bean plant stages that the plant goes through during it’s lifecycle. Valuable information about it’s growth and development will be provided along the way.

In This Article

What are the Green Bean Plant Stages?

The green bean plant stages are the seed stage, the germination stage, the seedling stage, foliage growth, the flowering stage, pod development, and the harvesting stage. Each individual stage consists of a very important time within this plant’s life. The plant will focus its energy on completing different goals during each phase, allowing for different types of development to occur.

Seed Stage

Green Bean Seeds

The green bean plant stages start off with the seed stage. The seed contains all of the genetic information that the plant will need in order to grow and develop. It also contains vital nutrients needed to start the plants lifecycle and growth. When the conditions are right for the seed to initiate the growth of the plant, the seed will begin to absorb moisture from the soil and then begin growing.

It’s important to note that green beans do not generally need to be started indoors prior to the last frost. These plants are usually directly sown into the garden when the risk of last frost has passed. Sow the seeds roughly 1 inch deep in well draining soil, in an area that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. Be sure to read the instructions on the seed packet for additional information about your specific variety, such as spacing and height. The optimal soil pH for green beans is between 6.0 and 6.8.

Tip: Green beans do not typically need to be fertilized, unless the soil is poor. Avoid applying fertilizer that is high in nitrogen due to the fact that green beans are nitrogen fixers and make their own within the soil. Too much added nitrogen can hinder successful growth of the plant.

Germination Stage

The germination stage marks the beginning of the plant’s life. The seed continues to absorb water, swelling, and softening it’s outer shell. A small first root known as the radicle will begin to grow out of the seed. This root will allow the plant to stabilize itself within the soil for additional growth. A thin stem with two small leaves will begin to grow up through the soil seeking light.

Germination of green beans is best done in temperatures between 70° to 80°F. Temperatures below this may cause slower germination and growth. You can expect your green beans to germinate within one to two weeks, depending on the temperature and weather.

Tip: Soaking green bean seeds overnight before planting them in the soil will allow for them to germinate faster. This is because the outer shell will have already absorbed moisture and softened.

Seedling Stage of the Green Bean Plant Stages


The seedling stage begins as the leaves and stem emerge from the soil’s surface. The first set of leaves, known as cotyledons, will begin to open. These leaves will begin photosynthesis for the green bean plant, harvesting plenty of energy from the sun. This energy will be used for addition growth to occur, allowing the plant to begin vegetative growth. In this stage, the seedling will continue to grow a stronger root system, which will allow it to better absorb water and nutrients from the soil.

Foliage Growth

Vegetative Growth

During this part in the green bean plant stages, the plant will begin to focus much of its energy on foliage growth. The roots of the plant will continue to grow further into the soil, making a stronger and more stable foundation for the plant. The stem will continue to grow longer, as new leaves begin to grow. The new leaves will increase the plant’s ability to collect energy from the sun.

The growth pattern of the green bean plant will depend on if you are growing pole beans or bush beans. Pole beans will have vines that will help them grow tall, while bush beans stay compact and small like a bush. You will typically see pole beans growing up a trellis or fence. Bush beans are great for growing in the ground or even in containers due to their contained growth pattern.

Be sure to regularly water your green bean plants, with on average one inch of water per week. This will keep the soil moist and provide the plant with enough water to support additional growth. This becomes even more important during flowering and pod development. You may need to water more often if the weather is very hot and dry.

Flowering Stage

Green Bean Plant Flowering

As the green bean plant matures, it will reach the point where it is ready to reproduce, which is when the flowering stage begins. In this stage, white or light purple flowers will begin to grow on the plants. Green bean plants are self pollinating, which means that they have both male and female parts within their flowers. Though this plant does not require insects to pollinate it, you may still see pollinators arriving at your plant to aid in the process.

Pod Development

Bean Pod Development

Pod development will begin after successful pollination occurs. Each one of the flowers will begin to grow slender, elongated pods. The pods will continue to grow larger, lengthier, and more plump as time goes on. Inside of each individual pod, there will be several green bean seeds in a row that will continue to increase in size as they mature. These seeds can eventually be eaten or saved for future crops.

Bush beans are determinate plants, which means that they will generally only produce a singular crop. They go through only a singular flowering stage and pod development. Pole beans are indeterminate, meaning they will continue to produce flowers and beans along the vines. Both the flowering stage and pod development will continue to occur until the end of the season allowing for multiple harvests.

Harvesting Stage of the Green Bean Plant Stages

Green Bean Harvest

The final phase of the green bean plant stages is harvesting. This stage typically occurs about 45 to 60 days after germination, depending on which variety that you choose to grow. If you are intending to eat the green beans that your plants produce, it is recommended to pick them before they are fully mature. This is when the beans flavor is at its best. If you want to harvest your beans for the seeds, you will want to leave these on the plant until they are fully mature.

There are certain signs that you should look for to know if your green beans are ready to be picked. Look for these features:

  • The green bean is uniform in size, long and firm. You want to pick the bean before you see the seeds bulging inside of the pod. Once the bulging occurs, it indicates that the seeds within the pod may have matured. This may compromise taste.
  • The bean has reached the ideal length and size of the variety you have grown.
  • Most green bean varieties should generally be about the thickness of a pencil.

How to Harvest Green Beans

When you deem your green beans ready to harvest, you should pick the green beans by cutting or breaking the small stem that connects them to the plant. Be very careful to not pull too hard, as you may injure the plant. If you cannot easily release the green bean, use scissors to cut the small connecting stem.

Tip: We recommend that you pick one green bean at first and taste it to see if it’s at the optimal point for picking. This will help you determine the best harvesting point for your variety.

Article Sources:

Home Garden Green Beans. University of Georgia Extension

Bush beans. Cornell University