Pole Lima Bean, Florida Speckled Butter

Quick Overview

POLE LIMA BEAN, Florida Speckled Butter –
Phaseolus lunatus

FULL SUN Lima beans come in large- and small-seeded varieties. The large-seeded beans were domesticated in South America, primarily near Peru. The small-seeded beans were domesticated in Mexico. Limas are among the oldest cultivated beans having been grown more than 7500 years ago. Pole varieties can reach a height of 10-12 ft. Florida Speckled produces tiny, red-speckled beans over a long growing season. Heat and drought tolerant. Pods are 3 in.

Plant in late spring after danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed to a depth of 6 in. Pole beans should be planted in hills, 5-6 beans per hill with the hills 3 ft. apart. Use 3-12 ft. bamboo poles, tied together at one end to form a teepee. Bury the free ends of the poles 6-8 in. deep in the hills. Train the vines to grow up the poles.

Pole beans can be easily grown in containers. Plant 6 beans in an 18 in. diameter pot. Use the bamboo pole teepee buried 6 in. in the pot to train the vines.

Type Spacing Planting Depth Days to Germination Maturity
Pole Lima 4-6 in. 1 1/2 in. 7-10 95

Pole Lima Bean, Florida Speckled Butter

Bean cultivation can be traced to the earliest vestiges of human civilization. Beans may have been the first vegetables that mankind learned to cultivate. Fava beans have been found in Neolithic excavations in Switzerland. Chickpeas, favas and lentils have been found in Egyptian tombs, and the Chinese started growing soybeans around 1500 BC. However, many of the beans that we are familiar with today, like the common or kidney, lima and runner bean came from the Americas and were not introduced into Europe until the time of Christopher Columbus. The oldest archaeological evidence of common beans in the New World comes from Tehuacan, Mexico and has been radiocarbon dated to 7000 BC.

Lima beans, also known as butter beans, come in large seeded and small seeded varieties. They are a very old bean known to have been in coastal Peru since 6000 BC. The small seeded varieties are thought to have originated in Mexico. The large seeded varieties came from South America. The term ‘lima’ actually refers to Lima, Peru where it is rumored that an American Navy Admiral was introduced to the beans. He is said to have brought the beans back to New England where they did not produce well. Somehow the beans found their way into the Mid-Atlantic where they did much better in the warmer climate. Lima beans require a long growing season and will not tolerate frost. The beans come in a range of colors from black to purple to red to white. Bush varieties grow on compact 12-18 inch plants. Pole varieties grow on 10-12 foot vines.

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