French Beans

French beans are delicious as vegetables or used in salads and are easy to grow

French beans

Phaseolus vulgaris

Common Name
French beans

There are two types of French beans ‘climbing’ (pole beans) and ‘bush’ beans. Sow the dwarf bush varieties in July.

Interesting Facts

Phaseolus is from Greek name for a kind of bean ‘phaselos’, and vulgaris is Latin for common.

Growing Tips

French beans are sensitive to frost and cannot be grown outside until late May–June. Beans prefer light, fertile, well drained soils. You can add organic matter, such as compost, to improve soil structure before sowing.

Varieties to try

Dwarf Bush: ‘The Prince’, ‘Purple Teepee’, ‘Cropper Teepee’ ‘Mont D’or’, ‘Purple Queen’

You will need:

  • Gardening gloves
  • Packet of French bean seeds
  • Label and pencil
  • Hand trowel
  • Rake

What to do:

  1. If the soil is dry, trickle water along the bottom of the drill before sowing the seeds.
  2. Sow seeds 5cm (2in) deep, 10cm (4in) apart, in rows 30- 45cm apart (12–18in).
  3. Cover with fleece to exclude the bean seed fly from your crop and to protect from cold weather.


  • The bush types may not need supporting, but short twigs can be used to help keep the beans off the soil.
  • Keep well watered, especially during periods of prolonged dry weather.

Get involved

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