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although my runner beans were late getting going the plants themselves look healthy enough, lots of flowers, but virutaly no beans have set. In the previously 5 years I haven't seen this problem, any ideas?

You will find that there are lots of people who have posted the same problem. Bumblebees breaking into the back of the flowers, rather than going in by the front door, generally seems to be the problem.

Interesting thank you,

is there anything that can be done to avoid this? Are any varities more prone to this than others?


If you grow white flowered variety of runner beans, they are pollinated by moths. I have both red and white, so if one lot doesn't work, the others should.


Adam Pasco

I'd certainly recommend you try growing some of the self-fertile varieties of runner bean next year, like 'Moonlight' and 'Firestorm'. I think these varieties may have been bred by crossing runner beans with French beans, as these are often more self-fertile and don't require bee pollination. Certainly worth a try. I haven't grown any this year, but if anyone else reading this has tried either 'Moonlight' or 'Firestorm' perhaps they could let us all know how they got on.


I've got moonlight and firestorm. (Offer from T&M) I prefer the white ones, the reds have a bit more string. Both  are producing masses and I am giving away carrier bags full to anyone who wants them.


thats why i dont grow runners every year people try to give me bags full usually large and stringy, i grow dwarfe french  much nicer IMO 

well certainly a top tip for next year, I did actually manage to pick 6 beans yesterday Not much from 12 plants but better than none at I guess


I've been watching Tree and other bees getting the nectar from our runner bean flowers by going 'round the back' rather than through the 'front door'.  We're having a much poorer crop than even last year 


OK - I won't feel quite so bad about mine then David  

Think there'll be enough on ours for a meal this evening for the two of us .... fingers crossed.


When I'm watering my climbing beans I also mist the flowers, think I read somewhere that this helps them to set. Might have dreamt it, but I've loads of beans on. But it won't stop bumblers breaking them.

Tell me if it's wrong, and I'll stop giving them a wash

Here in Cheshire we have had a fantastic crop of Runner Beans variety "Butler" which has a red flower. We have grown them as last year, 8 plants grown from seed in an 18 inch terracotta pot - so much for the experts telling us to "double dig a trench and fill with rotted manure).

Fed with Tomato fertiliser weekly the pods have been 1 foot long and well filled with beans. They are now slowing down in growth but they really have been excellent.

amuseingly I have grown Butler and White Lady successfully in the past, but this year I just bought some from my local DIY store but cant remember the variety, but I do recall that I hadn't grown it before 


Hi some reasons why flowers dont set,soil not kept moist,,try to mulch the soil in early midsummer,,early morning/evening misting helps to keep the humidity around the flowers and help to set,,alkaline,chalky soils is best for beans,if you have neutral or acidic soil it pays to water the crop once with hydrated lime,,also to pinch out the growing tips of the plants when they are 6 to 8 inches high,resulting side shoots usually set better,, ( RHC allotment hand book ) just got it from charity shop ??16:99
got it as a pressy for ten bob (50 pence for the youngsters if there are any on ea)
no charge for all this info folks Alan4711 b lucky

This year is the first time I have had no runner beans despite the plants looking really healthy. My neighbor who is a long time veg gardener tells me the reason is the birds that I feed have been feeding on the flowers I wonder if this is true as this year there seems to have been a record number of sparrows in my garden.

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