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My runner bean plants are covered in flowers but not a pod in sight. We seem to have a shortage of bees this year so I guess they are not pollinating them. Does anyone know a way of pollinating them by hand?

You could try spraying them with water as this is an age-old tip which is supposed to help setting.  Don't blast the flowers off though - some hose attachments can be a bit too strong!

I think thats usually to do with misting them with water and growing things like fennel to attract hover flies, i cant remember exactly, im sure someone else will be along soon who will know
Ha ha Bob, our posts crossed , you must type alot faster than me !
Thanks Bob and Beckie. I have tried this but not sure if it has worked. If planting fennel nearby helps that's good as I've done that as well but quite by accident!


It dosent have to be fennel, just something that attracts insects

Surely if they are covered in flowers, you wont see the beans yet, give them time, I have never known of a row of runner beans 

with no beans on it.


This sometimes happens early in the season - don't worry, the insects will find them 

Thanks everyone. I am an impatient gardener!

I have a piccy of  echinops just like yours David, the bees love it.

Your not inpatient, we all do the same thing and think something has gone terribly wrong! This forum is fab for putting your mind at ease

Some people would be horrified if I said I pick off the first flowers from the beans to allow the plant to strengthen.

I would say your a bunch of show offs! My beans didnt go in til a month/ 6 weeks ago, so no flowers for me yet!

Nor me Bekkie, I pick out the middles so that they make two strong shoots, then I pick off the bottom flowers, so mine havent done much.

I still have some in the freezer from last year, we had a bumper crop,

Mel Mcbride

I just use my finger. I've been pollenating my courgettes and pumpkins, but they're quite easy because they're big. Otherwise a slim brush, like and old make-brush.

The pollen virtually jumps on to anything that goes near it, and the females tend to be moist, so the pollen just goes on very easily. They are freakily like us in that respect.



Winnecat, if you need to attract bees ,try planting phacelia near them, they grow easy and are a great green manure to dig in with the beans after your done and bees just love them, 

I love phacelia, but i never have the heart to dig it in!
FYI winnecat, my phacelia is going to seed now, if you want me to save you some, could you put it on the wish list thread please
Did you hear them discussing this on Gardeners Question Time? Apparently our bees are not very good at spotting the particular shade of red of runner beans. Humming birds are the normal pollinators where runners originally came from.

We all might have more success with white flowered runner beans.

Ain't nature wonderful !!??