The runner bean plant, also known as the climbing bean, can be a very attractive choice for a border. As climbers, these plants are valuable in that they can bring height to a mixed border or bedding scheme. They can be grown up a wigwam of poles or a framework; the dense foliage soon covers the support. The flowers are mainly scarlet but there are also forms that produce pink, white and purple flowers. The pods of some varieties are also very decorative. All in all, an extremely valuable plant, especially since you can eat the beans. H 3m (10ft) S 30cm (12in).
Plant out after the threat of frost has passed in a soil enriched with plenty of well-rotted organic material. It should be moisture retentive. A sunny position is required. Some form of support will be needed.
Sow seeds under glass in individual pots in mid-spring or set the seed where the plants are to flower in late spring.
These plants can be used as climbers up poles in a border or over a pergola. They can also be grown in containers, perhaps creating a backdrop for other plants. They can also be used as centrepieces in potagers.
Runner beans in general
These plants have scarlet flowers. They are attractive in their own right but there are plenty of alternatives, and some cultivars carry flowers of several colours, or bicoloured blooms. ‘White Lady’, as the name suggests, has white flowers, while ‘Painted Lady’ has red and white blooms and ‘Sunset’ has soft pink ones. ‘Summer Medley’ is quite spectacular, producing an array of red, white and pink flowers. ‘Relay’ carries flowers of several colours. For those that like variegated foliage ‘Sun Bright’ has green leaves that are flushed with gold.