How to Grow Lima Beans – A Beginner’s Guide

lima beans plant growing in garden
Lima beans, which are known botanically as Phaseolus Vulgaris, are a type of vegetable that can easily be grown at home. Continue reading to learn the basics of growing lima beans as well as common mistakes to avoid along the way.

Best Time to Plant Lima Beans

This will depend largely on your local climate, but as a rule of thumb, begin to plant the lima bean seeds in the spring after all danger of frost has passed. This is the best time to ensure that the seedlings survive the weather.

To check when lima beans are most likely to thrive in your area, see the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. If you live outside the US, do a quick search for ‘plant hardiness zone + [city]’.

How to Plant Lima Beans the Right Way

There are a number of things to consider that will help you avoid some of the common mistakes of growing lima beans in your home garden.

Often overlooked, your soil can have a huge impact on how well your lima beans grow. Generally, your soil should be  medium to light, loamy soils. Soil PH levels should be around 6.0 to 6.8.

2′ apart in rows.  4″ apart in rows, keeping rows approximately 20″ apart. The seeds should be sowed at a depth of about 1-1.5″. For each plant, be sure to sow at least a few seeds to ensure that at least one of them will germinate.

Begin thinning your lima bean seedlings thin to 1 plant every 4″ when the plants have 4 leaves.

How Much Sunlight is Needed to Grow Lima Beans

The amount of sunlight is another key to a successful harvest. Too much sunlight will dry out your lima beans. Not enough sunlight will stunt your its growth or even kill it.

Ideally, your lima beans should be getting full sun, which means as much sunlight as you can possibly give it, or at least 6 hours or more.

How Much to Water Lima Beans

As you’ve figured by now, a lot can have an impact on how well your lima beans do, and the amount of water is no different.

Ideally, the soil should be damp to touch; not soggy or bone dry. If the leaves on your lima beans begin to change colors or start to look droopy, you need to adjust how much water you’re giving it.

Unfortunately, if you give it too much or too little water, you can kill it, so it’s best to just keep an eye on it and water as needed.

How Long Does it Take Lima Beans to Germinate and Grow?

Now the fun part begins and you get to watch your lima beans grow.

It takes approximately 6-8 days to germinate, and a total of 75 days from seed to harvest.

When to Harvest Lima Beans

The best time to harvest your lima beans is  after the pod has changed color and the beans have plumped, but before the pods and seeds have dried.

Lima beans can grow up to about 15 cm (5.9 in) long. .

What Can Lima Beans Be Used For?

Food Use: An outstanding choice for freezing.

Flavor Profile: Rich, nutty flavor.

Can Lima Beans Grow in Pots and Containers?

Yes, you will ideally need a 12″+ containerfor each plant. This can help control weeds and keep your plant from growing out of control.

It also gives you the flexibility to move your lima beans around if you need to adjust sunlight or bring it indoors to avoid harsh weather conditions.

Are Lima Beans Safe for Bees?

Yes, lima beans are safe for bees.

According to, bees pollinate human food crops that make up about 90% of the world’s nutrition.

Given their importance in our ecosystem and food supply, I feel it is important to note that growing lima beans is bee-friendly.

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