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When to Sow: April (indoors); May-July (direct seed). Harvest: July to September

Germination: 7-14 days Full Sun.

Plant in well-worked soil and/or compost that has already been well-watered.

Starting Seeds Indoors: This family of beans is frost tender and cannot be sown until the weather has warmed up. Your best bet is to sow climbing french bean seeds in pots in a greenhouse in April for planting out in May as your first crop. Once all threat of frost has passed, harden off plants gradually and plant out in their final locations, 20 cm between plants.

Direct Seed: Once the soil has warmed and all danger of frost has passed, plants can be sown directly outside. Sowing in two-week intervals will ensure a continuous supply and longer growing season (successional sowings will also help out if early plantings get taken out by slugs).


Climbing beans will need staking. Use 5-6ft tall canes for best results. For additional support, create a “wigwam” and provide string every 30-40cm as it starts to climb.

These beans have shallow roots and therefore need regular and plentiful watering. The prefer being watered particularly heavily when the flower buds appear and once they're open--twice a week in dry weather. Mulch to help with water retention.

These beans are especially subject to predation by slugs and other garden pests. If you know you have a slug problem, start the beans in modules first to give them a head start, planting out when they hit 9cm tall.

Sow successively in late spring for continued crops.


Climbing french beans are great picked young as green beans or when fully formed for dry beans. Harvest regularly – the more you pick the more they’ll produce! If you’re looking to set aside dry beans for later use Barlotto Lingua di Fuoco is your best bet, make sure to let the pods dry on the plant whenever possible. If conditions are too wet, cut off the entire plant and hang it upside down in a dry, well-ventilated space. Leave the roots in the ground and/or lightly till in the stems to allow the nitrogen-fixing nodules can fertilise the next crop.

Companion Planting

Climbing french bean are a part of the nitrogen-fixing legume family of plants. Use anywhere you’d like to add nitrogen to the soil. They combine well with corn, squash, lettuce, kale, spinach, and other greens. They’re not fond of the allium family (garlic, onion, chives, etc.).