Best Beans To Grow In Florida


Can Florida grow beans? I bet when you think of vegetable gardening beans are one of the first things that come to mind.

What are the best beans to grow in Florida?

  • Green Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Kidney Beans
  • Lima beans
  • Southern Peas (Black eyed peas)
  • Ice Cream Beans

Green Beans are also known as snap beans, The most common variety is Blue Lake. Pinto, Kidney, Black Eyed Peas and lima beans are all shell beans. The ice cream bean is produced on a tree and it gets its name because the bean has a pulpy inside that is sweet like vanilla ice cream.

All of these beans are nitrogen-fixing which means they pump beneficial nitrogen out of the air and back into the soil which is great for your garden. Read on to get Florida friendly varieties and planting times.

Growing Green Beans In Florida

Snap beans are like the common green bean that you find in the store. There are different varieties of green beans that you can grow in Florida. You can grow bush or pole types.

Bush type beans are exactly what they sound like, they grow as a small bush. Pole beans grow as a vine and need to be trellised. I prefer the bushing type because I think they are easier to harvest but the vining type can look really nice when trellised.

Florida Friendly Bush Bean Varieties: Bush Blue Lake, Contender, Cherokee wax, Provider, Roma II

Florida Friendly Pole Beans: Blue Lake, Kentucky Wonder, McClaslan

Both types of beans are quick to mature meaning that you will have beans to pick soon. They are usually ready to be harvested in about 2 months and you can get multiple harvests off of each plant.

In Central and south Florida we have two different times that we can plant green beans. Once in February through May and then once again in August through October. This avoids the hottest and coldest months in Florida.

In North Florida You can grow green beans from March through November.

Growing Shell Beans In Florida

Shell beans are a large family of beans that include Lima beans, Pinto beans, blackeyed peas, and kidney beans.

Most shell beans can still be eaten as snap beans. All this means is that they can be harvested while fresh and eaten then. But as these beans dry out they can be cooked and eaten that way as well.

You can leaves the pod on the plant for the bean to dry out or you can harvest the beans and dry them indoors as well.

Shell beans prefer the same growing conditions as green beans. They will grow most of the year but they do not enjoy our hottest and coldest months of the year.

Florida Friendly Shell Bean Varieties: California Blackeye No5, Black Bean, Garbanzo, Navy, Pinkeye Purple Hull, Texas Cream, Red Kidney

In north Florida you can grow shell beans March through November and in central and south Florida you have two different times to plant. Once in February and once again in August.

If you’re wondering if you can plant beans that you buy off the grocery store shelves, well you can. But you might not get the healthiest most reliable plants. It’s a better idea to buy seeds from a a seed supplier.

Growing Ice Cream Bean Trees In Florida

Also known as Pacay, this is definitely the lesser known bean on the list but one that I think should be mentioned because of how cool it is and also because it is a fantastic plant if you’re trying to build a Florida food forest.

Thanks to Dick Culbert for this awesome photo!

This tree is hardy in USDA zones 9-12 and can grow as large as 60 feet tall if planted right into the ground.

It can be potted as well but the trees will grow to a smaller size. The beans on this tree can be up to 3 feet long. If you crack them open they have a white and fluffy pulp that surrounds the inner bean.

The inner bean is edible but so is the pulp. The pulp is said to have a similar taste to vanilla ice cream. I was lucky enough to have a buddy give me a baby ice cream bean tree and it’s currently just hanging out.

I haven’t tried this bean yet but I’m really excited to be able to see if it actually tastes like vanilla ice cream!

Thanks again to Dick Culbert for this awesome photo!

There are lots of different varieties of Ice cream bean Some of the common ones go by the scientific names Inga Edulis, Inga fastuosa, and Inga feuillei.

Those in north Florida will have the most difficult time growing this tree. Frosts and freezes will harm the tree. It is not impossible to grow this tree in north Florida, established trees may be able to withstand the north Florida winter but younger trees may need some protection.

Planting Beans

All of these beans on this list enjoy similar conditions.

They all enjoy full sun, well-draining soil and plenty of water. PLant in a place where they will receive at least 8 hours of sun. The more the better.

When planting beans it’s best to plant the seeds directly into the garden. Beans don’t really enjoy being transplanted. They form long tap roots and they don’t enjoy being moved around a whole lot.

If you are planting pole beans make sure you are putting them near something that they can climb. Build a simple trellis to plant them along or use a chain link fence.

Fertilizing Beans

All of these beans are nitrogen-fixing which means that they add nitrogen to your soil. For this reason, beans do not need a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. They actually don’t need much fertilizer at all.

I learned this the hard way, just recently I fertilized my bush beans with fish and kelp fertilizer, this is something that is high in nitrogen. I’ve never had a worse crop of beans.

My plants grew big but stopped producing flowers and beans all together.

So, AFTER my failure of growing beans (One of the easiest things to grow in Florida) I decided to do some research only to find out that the common advice is to fertilize at half the rate of other crops.

Probably should have read that first but on the bright side, I’ll never forget that rule again.

Bean Pests And Diseases

The most common pests that you will see on beans in Florida are Aphids, leafminers, and a few different caterpillars.

The best way to handle these pests is to grow a biodiverse garden. There are a lot more good bugs than there are bad bugs and nature tends to balance itself out.

If you want to know some good plants to grow in order to attract beneficial bugs to your garden check this article out.

However, sometimes chemical control is necessary although it should not be your first option. For all types of caterpillars B.t. is an effective control (Check price on Amazon). For aphids and many other pests, Neem oil (Check price on Amazon) is an organic option that you can use.

Growing Beans In Florida

  • The best beans to grow in Florida are Black Eyed Peas, Pinto, Kidney, green beans, and Ice cream beans.
  • Beans come in both bush types and vining types (Pole).
  • The ice cream bean is grown on a tree that can reach up to 60 feet tall.
  • All beans are nitrogen-fixing.
  • Beans enjoy full sun and well-draining soil.
  • Fertilize at half the rate of other vegetables.

You Might Also Be Interested In Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide For Beginners


Unluckily for plants, I really enjoy growing them. I've grown a few plants over the years and I've killed some too, more than I would like to admit. I just want to share my experience and hope that it helps others.

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