Do you dream of having your back fence covered in flowery vines? Or would you like to attract more bees to your garden? If you answered yes, then scarlet runner pole beans are about to become your new favorite plant variety.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the bean species, including physical characteristics, nutritional info, and more.
You’ll also learn how to grow your own scarlet runner pole beans, so you can enjoy producing your own food while adding some beauty to your backyard garden. So keep reading!
Characteristics of Scarlet Runner Pole Beans
Before we go into growing your own legumes, let’s examine a few key characteristics of the scarlet runner pole bean.
What Do They Look Like?
Have you ever spotted a vine of brilliant orange flowers growing up on a trellis and wondered what it is? You’re most likely looking at scarlet runner pole beans.
Like many pole bean plants, the scarlet runner variety features heart-shaped, emerald green leaves with burgundy veins running underneath.
The fast-growing vines can reach heights of up to 15 feet! However, you’ll probably find that they grow within 6-8 feet in most American gardens.
You’ll notice that the most striking feature of the plant variety is the radiant orange flowers. Not only do these blossoms pop against the dark green leaves, but they also attract hummingbirds and bees to your garden.
Once the flowers die, green pods take their place. Inside, you’ll find kidney-shaped beans that can grow to be an inch in diameter.
Scarlet runner beans have thick, shiny skin and come in a range of colors including off-white, pink, purple, or black.
Eating Scarlet Runner Pole Beans
While many gardeners plant scarlet runner pole beans to add some color to the garden, you’ll be delighted to know that they provide a great yield of tasty beans. But you have to know how to cook them safely!
Scarlet runner beans fall into a group of beans that contain high amounts of Phytohaemagglutinin, a lectin that is toxic to humans and animals. Rapidly cooking beans at high temperatures (at least 176 degrees Fahrenheit) breaks down this lectin so that you can eat the beans without the risk of lectin poisoning. If you plan to slow-cook runner beans, food safety experts recommend boiling them first to break down the Phytohaemagglutinin before adding them to your slow cooker.
The pods of scarlet runner beans can be eaten raw before the development of the beans (but you might not want to take that chance, just to be on the safe side).
In addition to eating the plant’s green pods, you can eat the flowers too. The orange-colored blossoms have a mild, bean-like flavor. You can add them to salads and sandwiches for an edible garnish.
How to Use Them in Cooking
Scarlet runner pole beans resemble soybeans in flavor and texture, so you can swap them in for the latter to create a tasty, healthy dish.
Steam the beans and season with salt for tasty edamame, or simmer in a broth for a hearty soup.
You can also dry the beans in order to preserve them for the winter, then cook them up in an Instant Pot like this recipe for cooked scarlet runner beans.
Or you can try this tasty beans and bacon recipe for a hardy meal that’s simple but full of flavor.
Health Benefits of Scarlet Runner Pole Beans
You’ll be glad to know that scarlet runner pole beans are a nutritional powerhouse.
In each cup of cooked beans, you’ll find a whopping 12g of protein, along with 7g of fiber and 160mg of calcium.
While scarlet runner pole beans are hearty and filling, they’re also low in fat, clocking in at only 0.5g per 1 cup serving.
How to Grow Scarlet Runner Pole Beans at Home
If you’re looking for a simple bean to grow, you’re in luck! Not only is the scarlet runner pole bean variety easy to grow, but you’re likely to get a high yield of beans during harvest.
The scarlet runner gets bonus points for also being a pretty feature in your garden during the growing season.
Where to Plant
When deciding where to plant your scarlet runner pole beans, choose a sunny spot shielded from any gusts of wind.
Plant each seed 2 inches deep and 16 inches apart. This spacing allows your seeds to sprout without overcrowding.
Soil & Watering
Plant your seeds in nutrient-rich soil with a pH level of around 6.5. You may want to add a layer of mulch to help retain moisture levels in the soil and ward off weeds.
Scarlet runner pole beans require lots of water, so keep them well-watered during the summer months. Ensure the root zone is moist at all times.
Avoid overhead watering since this can damage the delicate flowers and bean pods. Watering from the base also helps avoid potential disease growth on your beans.
Tips for Vertical Growth
One of the best features of the scarlet runner pole beans is that they can grow upright.
If you’ve ever imagined covering the side of your fence with twisty vines and colorful blooms, this is the perfect plant for that purpose.
If you’re not sure when to set up poles or trellises, a good rule of thumb is to set them up once your plant starts sprouting leaves.
If you’re having trouble growing your beans upright, make sure you’re watering your plants enough, especially during the hot summer months.
Soil tends to dry out underneath trellises so you may need to be more diligent about your watering.
When to Harvest
You might be wondering when to harvest the fruits of your labor, and we’re here to help. After around 65 days, you should spot bright green pods peeking underneath the vines.
If you harvest your pods while they’re still green, you can eat the beans raw or store them to dry.
You can even leave your pods intact and let them dry on the vine if you live in a warm climate. Once you notice the leaves turning brown, you can start to pick your mature pods.
If you live in a cooler climate or notice moldy patches growing on the pods, harvest your beans sooner while the pods are still green.
Where to Buy Scarlet Runner Pole Beans
Have we sold you on adding this flowery bean vine to your garden? Hopefully the answer’s “yes” and you’ll be happy we know the direction to point you in!
You can find Scarlet Runner Pole Bean seeds at a variety of retailers – we recommend visiting Hoss Tools or True Leaf Market.
Add Scarlet Runner Pole Beans to Your Garden
Whether you want to preserve beans for the winter or attract hummingbirds to your backyard, scarlet runner pole beans make a great addition to your garden.
Curious to learn more about beans and other legumes? Check out the beans plant page on our website for all kinds of blog posts to inspire you!