The Best Types Of Garden Beans To Grow In The South

Green Beans in Garden

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It’s hardly a meal in the South without green beans on the table! Fortunately, the common garden bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) is one of the easiest vegetables to grow, even if it’s your first garden. Sometimes called snap beans, garden beans are inexpensive seeds and fast growers, with some types ready in as little as 50 days. They’ll produce bumper crops so you’ll have plenty of green beans to cook fresh, freeze or pickle.

With top picks from All-American Selections (AAS), which trials seed performance for home gardeners,  Johnny’s Selected Seeds, extension services at Clemson University, North Carolina State University, Louisiana State University, University of Georgia, and University of Kentucky, here are the best types of beans to grow in the South:

What Kinds of Beans Should I Plant?

It mostly depends on your garden’s size, and you even can plant some types in containers on your deck or patio if you’re short on space. Many gardeners plant both types. The basic types of garden beans include bush beans, which have a compact form so they can be planted in either beds or containers. They produce for about three weeks. Pole beans have a vining habit and need supported with a trellis or netting. They produce for about six to eight weeks.

How To Plant Beans

Plant bean seeds directly in the ground because they don’t transplant well. Choose a spot in full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight per day), and wait until after the last expected frost in your area. Cool, wet conditions will cause seeds to rot if you plant them too soon; wait until soil temperatures are in the 60s (find your soil temperature here). You also can sow seeds every two weeks for a continuous harvest.

Plant seeds about an inch deep and spaced 2 to 4 inches apart in the row, then thin to 2 to 3 inches apart for bush and 4 to 6 inches apart for pole beans once the baby plants pop up. If planting in pots, you can fit about three bush-type plants per pots that are at least a foot deep. Keep seeds moist, not sopping wet, until germination, then water deeply (it should feel wet 6-inches down) if dry about once a week.

When Are Beans Ready To Harvest?

Check the seed package for the days to maturity, which will give you some idea of when each variety will be ready for picking. Most types are more tender when harvested small, before the seeds start bulging. Beans also will “snap” when you bend them if they’re ready. Once you can start picking, check your plants every day. The more you harvest, the more your beans will produce!

The Best Bean Varieties To Grow in the South

These are beans that tend to do well in heat and humidity throughout the South:


Smooth, straight, 5 to 6-inch long stringless pods with good disease resistance make these prolific pole beans a must-have in the garden. They’re an All-America Selections (AAS) winner.


These bush beans produce 5 to 8-inch-long round, straight beans on plants. They are prolific, have good disease resistance, and adapt well to diverse soil conditions.


Originally from Asia, these pole beans have smooth, sweet, stringless pods; the beans grow up to 20 inches long. These flower and produce all summer, even in extreme temperatures.


Similar to above, these beans produce long, skinny, sweet beans up to 20 inches long and don’t mind the heat.

“Greasy” Beans

Not really a variety, these beans are a group of heirloom or heritage beans, traditionally grown in the Appalachia region. The beans are often pole types and get their names because the pods lack hairs so they appear slick or “greasy.” They’re often named for the families who saved the seeds to pass along. Popular types to try include Non-Tough Half Runner, Greasy Grits, and Josephine Jackson.

Dragon’s Tongue

This heirloom bush bean has wide, crispy 6 to 8-inch-long cream-colored beans mottled with purple, which fades to green when cooked.

Kentucky Blue

This pole bean yields long, round, straight beans up to 10 inches long. It’s another AAS winner and long-time favorite in Southern gardens.

Rattlesnake Beans

This heirloom pole type has 8-inch-long pods that are known for their sweet, tender pods when fresh. They’re bright green with purple streaks that fade to green when cooked.


This bush type has classic green bean flavor with pods up to 7 inches long. It produces well even during heat stress.

Willow Leaf

This heirloom lima or “butter bean” is a pole type with heavy yielding plants.

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