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PHASEOLUS vulgaris 'Brockton Horticultural'

Image of Phaseolus vulgaris 'Brockton Horticultural'



Botanical Name

PHASEOLUS vulgaris 'Brockton Horticultural'

Plant Common Name

Brockton Horticultural Shelling Bean, Pole Bean, Shelling Bean

General Description

Red-striped green pods are the highlight of the heirloom shelling bean, 'Brockton Horticultural'. Introduced in 1885, it was first sold by the Aaron Low Seed Company, which obtained it from a market gardener in Brockton, Massachusetts. The beans grow on tall, vining plants and have colorful pods filled with even more colorful beans with a nutty flavor. The seeds are tan splattered with dots and smears of mahogany red. Mature, dry bean pods are ready for harvest about 85 days after sowing.

Bean leaves are trifoliate (three-leaved), arranged in an alternate fashion on the stem and have somewhat diamond-shaped leaflets. The flowers are typical of peas or beans; larger, rounded petals subtend smaller petals that form a lip or keeled beak. They are produced in loose clusters on short stalks among the foliage and may be white or pinkish. Modern bean cultivars are self-fertile. If harvested young the immature bean pods are eaten, as with green or wax beans. If allowed to mature, the dry, hard seeds can be shucked, stored and eaten at a later date or saved for planting the next year. Brockton Horticultural Shelling Bean should always be harvested dry.

After the danger of frost has passed, plant bush beans in full sun and fertile, evenly moist, well-drained garden loam. Seeds should be sown directly in the soil at a depth of about three times their width. Beans should be spaced about a finger’s length apart, in rows wide enough to allow easy access to the plants. Over watering seeds prior to germination may cause them to rot, so be sure to keep them moderately moist, never wet. To ensure a longer harvest, successive plantings may be made two to three weeks apart, continuing through midsummer. Tossing the seeds in a commercially available Rhizobium inoculant may be beneficial, but is not essential for success. Harvest beans every few days to keep plants producing.

Originating from regions of Central and South America, common beans have been cultivated for many centuries. These frost-tender vegetables are grown as summer crops in cooler temperate climates; whereas in warm, tropical zones they are planted as fall and winter crops.


  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type


  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    6'-10' / 1.8m - 3.0m

  • Width

    1'-3' / 0.3m - 0.9m

  • Bloom Time


  • Native To

    Central America, South America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate


  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit


  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest


  • Flower Color

    White, Pink, Lavender

  • Fruit Color

    Green, Dark Red, Tan, Sienna

  • Fruit Color Modifier

    Bicolor, Striped/Striated, Spotted/Mottled

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Lime Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)


  • Foliage Color (Fall)


  • Foliage Color (Winter)


  • Fragrant Flowers


  • Fragrant Fruit


  • Fragrant Foliage


  • Bark or Stem Fragrant


  • Flower Petal Number


  • Repeat Bloomer


  • Showy Fruit


  • Edible Fruit


  • Showy Foliage


  • Foliage Texture


  • Foliage Sheen


  • Evergreen


  • Showy Bark


Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Edible, Herb / Vegetable, Vine

  • Sharp or Has Thorns


  • Invasive


  • Self-Sowing