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PHASEOLUS vulgaris 'Bumble Bee'

Image of Phaseolus vulgaris 'Bumble Bee'

Family

Fabaceae

Botanical Name

PHASEOLUS vulgaris 'Bumble Bee'

Plant Common Name

Bumble Bee Shelling Bean, Heirloom Bush Bean, Shelling Bean

General Description

A bush bean grown for its highly nutritious dry seeds, 'Bumble Bee' beans also colorful and ornate. An heirloom selection from Maine, the 5-inch-long bean pods yield three to five large white seeds. A random black-maroon blotch develops around each seed's eye. Don't pick the pods prematurely to eat, but instead allow them to fully mature on plants about 85 to 98 days after sowing seeds in spring.

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. 'Bumble Bee' is a shelling bean and should not be harvested until pods are 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. Bush types 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. Frost kills bean plants.

Characteristics

  • 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

    Vegetable

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    15"-18" / 38.1cm - 45.7cm

  • Width

    16"-22" / 40.6cm - 55.9cm

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Central America, South America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Pink, Lavender

  • Fruit Color

    White, Dark Red, Black

  • Fruit Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Edible, Herb / Vegetable

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes