Firebeans, which are also known as runner beans, Turkish beans, make-up beans or flower beans, belong to the legumes and at the same time to the butterfly flowers. They are creeping and herbaceous, annual, biennial or perennial plants, whereby in our regions the annual species are usually grown and the perennial species tend to be grown in warmer areas.


As a preculture
For sowing, you can use beans from your own harvest or from specialist gardeners. The seeds of the fire bean, i.e. the beans, remain viable for about 3-4 years. The fire bean can be grown in the house or sown directly.

You can bring them forward from the end of April. Before sowing, it is advisable to pre-soak the beans in warm water for about 1-2 days, this makes it easier for the beans to germinate. Then you put them in a planter with potting soil, in such a way that they point with the navel upwards, because the germ develops from this navel.

Then they are covered with earth about 2-3 cm thick, poured on and put in a warm place with temperatures around 20 degrees. You should be careful not to water too much, because the fire bean doesn’t like that at all. The germination time is about 4-12 days depending on the ambient temperature. They can then be planted outdoors after the last night frosts from mid-May.

As direct sowing
The soil temperature for direct sowing outdoors should be at least 10 degrees. Again, soaking them in warm water beforehand can accelerate germination.
First you should set up the climbing aids. These can be conventional wooden or metal poles, but also a pergola or a fence. Individual small clumps (holes / depressions) 3 cm deep and 8 cm wide are then created around these climbing aids, in which 4-6 beans are placed each.

These are then covered 2-3 cm with earth and poured on. When the young plants are about 5 cm high, it is advisable to pile them up. This has the advantage that the plants then form significantly more side roots, which means they can absorb more water and nutrients and thus produce larger fruits, i.e. beans. It also gives them more support.


Depending on the species, the stalks of the fire bean can reach a length of between 2 and a maximum of 7 m and are always twisting to the left. The inflorescences are about 25 to 35 cm long. The quite decorative scarlet, red-white, slightly yellow or salmon-colored flowers appear from June to September. The fruits are legumes up to 25 cm long, in which the kidney-shaped white, red, brown or black and purple spotted seeds or beans are located.

When planting the bean from mid-May, the right location plays a crucial role. Beans should not be planted where beans were grown the year before. It should take at least five years before replanting in the same location.

If you have preferred the plants yourself, it is advisable to choose only the strongest plants for planting. Here, too, you first set up the respective climbing aids. Then you plant around 3-5 plants around a climbing aid and then water the whole thing well.

As with other vegetables, there are also vegetables in the vicinity of beans that do particularly well and those that should be avoided in the vicinity. Good neighbors for the fire bean include cucumbers, various types of cabbage, lettuce and lettuce, potatoes, celery, tomatoes and savory. Peas, onions, fennel, leek and garlic are a bad neighborhood. You can also plant firebeans on the balcony in buckets or pots, but always with the appropriate climbing aids.

Location and soil

  • The fire bean prefers sheltered and sunny locations.
  • But it also gets along very well in partially shaded locations.
  • Firebeans have relatively deep roots.
  • As a result, the soil should be as loose and permeable as possible and also moist.

Watering and fertilizing

The fire bean should be watered regularly, especially in sunny locations and on particularly warm days, as well as during the growth phase. If the plants are not adequately watered during flowering, they can shed the flowers. Waterlogging should be avoided when watering. When planting in a bucket, this can be ensured very well with a suitable drainage layer, for example made of potsherds, which are placed as the lowest layer in the respective planter.

Regularly giving compost is beneficial for the fire bean. Because of their high nitrogen content, the roots of the fire bean are often left in the ground after harvest. This property is based on a symbiosis with nodule bacteria that are located at the roots of the firebean. This enables the bean to be able to bind nitrogen from the air and enrich the soil with it.

In this way, the soil can be optimally prepared for a subsequent cultivation of heavily or medium-consuming plants. Further fertilization is not necessary. As a rule, these plants are also very grateful for a mulch layer of comfrey or grass clippings or nettles.


A pruning of this plant is usually only recommended if it is growing too vigorously. How fast the fire bean grows depends on the variety. If necessary, if you want to use the fire bean as a privacy screen, for example on the balcony, it can be helpful to get advice on the growth when buying it.

If you want to plant the fire bean primarily for privacy protection purposes and not just because of the beans, it is advisable to clean it out regularly, this stimulates the flower formation and lengthens it.


  • As a rule, wintering is not necessary.
  • In this country, the fire bean is usually only grown as an annual crop.
  • However, you can overwinter the roots.
  • This is done by digging up the roots of the plants in autumn.
  • These are then stored either in earth or sand in a dark and cool place.
  • The roots must not dry out during the winter.
  • In spring they can then be planted outside again.


Fire beans can be harvested from July to the beginning of October, as green beans, when they are ripe or as grain beans. Green bean means that the complete, unripe pods, about 4 cm long, are harvested and, in the case of grain beans, only the ripe bean kernels.

The fire bean is often harvested from August onwards, when it is so-called milk maturity. Milk ripeness means that the grain is ripe at this stage but is still soft. Otherwise, the beans should be harvested as young as possible and regularly.

Diseases and pests

spot disease Grease spot disease is a bacterial disease that occurs particularly when it rains. Small angular, oily-transparent spots with a yellow border appear on the leaves. Depending on the weather, they later dry up or turn brown, deform and die. Glassy spots can also be seen on the stems, pods and seeds, which later turn yellowish-brown and sink into the beans, for example. In addition to the French bean, the fire bean is particularly endangered.

As a preventive measure, the plants can be sprayed with home-made horsetail broth to strengthen the plants. Always use healthy seeds. You should also make sure to touch the plants as little as possible in wet weather, at least as long as they are moist. The only possible control measure here is burning the affected plants.

Black bean aphid
If the bean aphid is infested, the leaves roll up and the tips of the shoots cripple. The honeydew that the animals secrete can lead to the colonization of black fungi. These lice can also transmit phytopathogenic viruses.
First of all, obviously infected parts of the plant should be removed immediately. Incidentally, natural enemies of the black bean aphid are ladybirds, hover flies and the gall mosquito. To combat it, you can spray the plants with nettle stock or use environmentally friendly sprays from specialist dealers. As a preventive measure, you can put the beans in milk overnight before sowing and then stick or sow them in the ground without washing.

Bean fly
The greatest damage is not caused by the bean flies themselves, but by their maggots on the bean sprouts. A mixed culture with leeks, tomatoes, onions or dill can prevent an infestation. In addition, you can make the plants more resilient by spraying field horsetail or nettle manure and not grow them on areas where cabbage, potatoes, spinach or lettuce were previously grown.

To combat this, the trade offers appropriate pesticides. Before using chemical sprays, you should definitely find out about the approval requirements in the respective federal state.

Spider mites
An infestation with spider mites can be recognized by whitish lightening on the leaves of the fire bean, which then become larger and run into one another, as well as by fine webs on the leaf axils, between leaves and shoots. Common causes are lack of light, air that is too dry or drafts.

To combat it, you can use, for example, potash soap-based, environmentally compatible spraying agents from the trade, for example from Neudorff. Regular watering and regular loosening of the soil, for example by hoeing between the individual plants, have a preventive effect.

Popular varieties

  • Hammonds Dwarf Scarlett – A high-yielding, low-growing bush bean with very decorative scarlet flowers, green pods and purple beans with black spots. It is very suitable for underplanting.
  • ‘White Giants’ – A very productive cut bean with white flowers and bean kernels and particularly tender and fleshy, 30 cm long pods. Harvest from August.
  • Scarlett Emperor – A relatively old, very robust variety with red flowers, large black beans with a red spotted edge and an excellent taste.

The fire bean is usually a relatively easy-care vegetable. Correct irrigation and adherence to the crop rotation are particularly important. Especially the young plants should be treated with plant strengthening agents to protect them from diseases and pests. This not only results in healthy and vigorous plants, but also produces a variety of healthy and tasty fruits.

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