Butter Bean Growing Guide

Phaseolus lunatus

Butter Bean

Crop Rotation Group

Legumes (Pea and Bean family) 


Average, well drained soil.


Full sun.

Frost tolerant

Warm-season annuals, cannot tolerate frost.


Mix an organic fertiliser into the soil before planting, using rates given on the label. Supplemental fertiliser seldom required.


Single Plants: 25cm (9") each way (minimum)
Rows: 15cm (5") with 35cm (1' 1") row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Plant seeds 2 inches deep and 4 inches apart two weeks or more after the last frost has passed. Grow climbing varieties in warm climates, but stick with faster-maturing bush varieties where summers are short. Will probably need to the protection of a polytunnel or greenhouse in cooler climates.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalised calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


Butter beans need plenty of hot weather. They are most productive in warm climates.


For fresh eating, gather pods when they feel well-filled with seeds, and are slightly leathery. Buttern beans for dry storage can be left on the plants until they change from green to tan.


Slow growth due to cool temperatures is common, but pest problems are rare. Butter beans are easy to grow in warm climates.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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