Bean Companion Plant: Top 5 Pole & Bush Choices + Pest Info

Beans come in two types: bush and pole (aka runner). With two varieties to pick from, you can grow beans in your garden regardless of size or shape. On some sort of trellis, you must grow runner beans. Bush beans are very productive, but you can grow them in containers without a trellis!

We’ll cover each bean companion plant and how to avoid pests.

Top 5 Bean Companion Plants

  • Potatoes
  • Dill
  • Yarrow
  • Cosmos
  • Marigolds

Pole & Bush Bean Companion Plants + Pests

Aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, Mexican bean beetles, and other pests are among the enemies of beans. Thankfully, some trustworthy companion plants can keep each of these pests at bay.

Because they will repel the Mexican bean beetle away, potatoes make a fantastic ally for beans. In turn, the beans will repel the common and destructive potato pest known as the Colorado potato beetle.

Beans will share the nitrogen they have fixed in their roots with potatoes, which are also nitrogen-hungry plants.

Planting marigolds can draw minute pirate bugs, which aid in the control of Mexican bean beetles.

A large infestation of spider mites can quickly destroy an entire crop of beans, while aphids, whiteflies, and other insects can deform your beans and slow production.

Lots of cosmos, dill, and yarrow should be planted alongside your beans to entice lacewings to your garden. They’re the best beneficial plants in your garden, as lacewing larvae are ferocious hunters and killers of whiteflies, aphids, and spider mites.

Plants to Avoid

Because they release biochemicals that might impede other plants’ development, beans are considered allelopathic plants (PDF-usda.gov). Onion, leek, chives, and other onion family members don’t go well with beans.

Starting to Plant

Bush beans are compact plants that typically require little to no staking and grow between 12 and 24 inches (31 and 61 cm) tall. However, runner or pole beans need a trellis or teepee to climb on because they can grow a height of 10 feet (3 meters) or higher.

Both bean types prefer consistently moist and highly fertile soil.

Additionally, they require full sun (six to eight hours per day) to produce well and reduce their susceptibility to disease.

Finally, beans should be sown directly into the garden because they dislike having their roots moved.

At the base of each pole of a trellis or teepee, sow two seeds six to eight inches (15 to 20 cm) apart for bush varieties and six to eight inches (15 to 20 cm) apart for runner varieties after any threat of frost has passed.

Keep them evenly moist until they sprout, and then throughout the season, keep the moisture level high but not drenched.

Growing & Harvesting

If planted in fertile soil, beans don’t require much fertilizer because they absorb nitrogen from the air and store it in nodules in their roots, which helps to supplement the nutrients already present in the soil.

Bean flowers will eventually be replaced by teeny, tiny beans that grow quickly. You might need to harvest every day in the middle of the summer when the beans are producing heavily.

Beans should be picked when they are still young; the ideal time is when they are about 6 inches (15 cm) long, and the bean lumps inside the pods are barely visible.

The beans will be at their tenderest before any strings begin forming. But, of course, that is for eating them right away. Your beans should be long and have fully formed beans inside if you intend to dry them.

It’s best to only harvest large beans at the end of the growing season. This is because the plant knows its primary objective of reproduction has been achieved when beans are allowed to reach maturity on the plant, at which point it can stop producing. However, the plant will continue to grow small beans if you keep picking them before they mature.