Failed lima bean crop

Asked October 30, 2018, 7:39 PM EDT

For two years in a row, I have planted lima beans in my garden. The plants grew well and had many small flowers. I noticed that bees and other pollenators didn't seem to be able to get to the center of the small flowers. Therefore, each year I have had very few lima beans. Am I growing the wrong variety of lima beans for this area? What should I grow? Is the cause of the poor crop because the flowers are so small? Why are they so small? Or perhaps are they too close together? They don't seem to be crowded. I grew marigolds, zinnias and spider flowers nearby to attract pollenators. I have been told by a master gardener that bees, etc. do not go to sterile flowers---so, are they sterile? I would appreciate your comments.

Montgomery County Maryland vegetables lima beans abiotic issues poor crop

1 Response

Lima beans are self pollinating plants. However, it would be good if more bees visit the plants. Lima beans do not do well when the heat is high and there are high night temperatures. Our summers have been getting hotter. You can try planting later in the season such as from mid to the end of June. Bush varieties may be more reliable than pole varieties. Also, small seeded varieties seem to do better. Changing what you plant next season certainly is worth trying.
Here is our profile on lima beans http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/beans

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