Hestia is a superb variety with all the best characteristics of modern runner beans, but on dwarf plants.
Very disease resistant and easy to grow, they grow to a height of around 40 to 45cm (16 to 18in). Early to crop with 60 to 70 days to harvest, they produce a good yield of tasty, slim, straight, stringless 20cm (8in) pods, held above the soil to avoid disease.
Dark green bean pods follow the blooms, keeping this hard-working dwarf been busy all summer!
Dwarf runner beans are a suitable crop where space is limited, such as in containers on balconies or patio, or as a border plant in small gardens. They are highly decorative with rich foliage and prolific flowers they are perfect for the flower garden.
Train up a small obelisk or support, or let it trail over the sides of hanging baskets or a window box for a lush cascading effect. Plant three seeds per 10 to 12inch pot for a very full look.
Hestia is the runner bean for gardeners with limited space and a love of bright colour!
Where to grow:
Beans prefer to grow in moist, fertile soil in a sunny, sheltered spot away from strong winds. Prepare the soil for planting by digging over and adding plenty of organic material, this will help to improve the soil's moisture-retaining ability and fertility. Beans can also be grown in pots. Choose pots at least 45cm (18in) in diameter and make sure there are plenty of drainage holes. Fill with a mixture of equal parts loam-based compost and loam-free compost.
Even when temperatures are not below freezing, cold air can damage bean plants, so don't plant too early. Plant outdoors only after the last frosts.
Sowing seeds early indoors gives a faster and more reliable germination rate, particularly for runner beans. At the end of April sow a single bean seed, 4cm (1.5in) deep, in a 7.5cm (3in) pot filled with multipurpose compost. Water well, label and place on a sunny windowsill to germinate. Seedlings will be ready to plant out after about three weeks. Before planting, put in a cold frame to acclimatise.
Alternatively, beans can be sown directly in the soil between the second half of May and the middle of June. Plant two seeds next to your support about 5cm (2in) deep. Water well. After germination remove the smaller and less robust of the two young plants. As they grow, ensure the plants continue to twine around their canes.
Create a support before planting. Either make a wigwam with 2.4m (8ft) canes, lashed together with string at the top, or create a parallel row of canes, which have their tops tightly secured to a horizontal cane. Each row should be 60cm (23in) apart and canes spaced 15cm (6in) apart in the row.
Having shallow roots regular and plentiful watering is vital. Runner beans should be watered particularly heavily, twice a week in dry weather, both when the flower buds appear and once they're open. Mulch when conditions are dry. Don’t hoe around bean plants too deeply or you may damage the roots. Beans capture nitrogen from the air, so make sure the soil contains the other essential ingredients, phosphorus and potassium. So for the fertiliser use something like 10-20-10. They leave the soil nitrogen-enriched even after harvest.
Runner beans are pollinated by honey bees and long-tongued bumblebees. Short-tongued bees do not pollinate the flowers because they cannot reach the nectar from the front and so nip a hole in the base to gain access. While there is no way to prevent this, sufficient bees usually visit the flowers in the conventional way for a good crop to set if other factors, such as water availability and temperatures, are favourable.
Harvesting: Matures in 60 to 75 days
Regular picking is essential - the more you pick, the more they produce. Most should bear pods from late July and cropping of all types can continue until the first frosts, or longer if plants are protected.
Runner beans are at their best when fresh, young and tender. They should be harvested when the pods are less than full length, snap easily and while the seeds are still small and pale in colour. As the pods get older they develop string and the pod-walls become more fibrous, with pronounced bumps on the surface indicating that the seeds are enlarging and that moisture is going into the seed from the pod.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 25 grams Average Seed Count 30 Seeds Common Name Dwarf Runner Bean Family Leguminosae Genus Phaseolus Species coccineus Cultivar Hestia Hardiness Hardy Annual Height 40 to 45cm (16 to 18in) Harvest 60 to 75 days