Lima beans are a legume that is grown for its edible pod or seed. It is a member of the Fabaceae famiy and is natively found in America. The lima bean can be used as an annual vegetable.

Scientific Name
Phaseolus luantas
Common Name
Butter bean, sieva bean and chad bean; Madagascar bean, wax bean and double bean.
Sun exposure
Sun full
You will need to keep the soil moist until germination, and you should drink one inch of water each week.
Bush beans are 2 to 3 feet tall, pole beans 12 feet high
Soil and pH
Well-draining, loose, moist soil pH 6-7.8
Clusters of small white or yellow flowers
Growing difficulty
They do not like extremes, and they grow best at 70 degrees F.


There are two types: pole and bush beans.

Both types can be cared for in the same way, but spacing and harvesting times are different.

Butter beans are sometimes called Bush lima beans. They grow to about 2 feet in height, bear pods quickly and produce small seeds.

Pole beans can reach 12 feet in height, produce larger seeds and last for a longer time.


Phaseolus luantas, edible plants that love sunlight, are called Phaseolus luantas.

Like many Legumes they are rich in vitamins (especially B) and minerals. They also have a low-glycemic Index, making them suitable for diabetics.

Soluble fiber is a key component of beans, and it slows down the body’s absorption of carbohydrates. This helps to regulate blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol.

Lima beans are good for eliminating sulfites in the body.

Growing Guide

Lima beans don’t like extreme temperatures, and they do well at 70 degrees F.

They perform better in warmer climates than they do in prolonged cold temperatures.

They do not like frost and thrive in full sun, so choose a spot with good light.

Rotating crops to different parts of your garden each year can help balance nutrients.

There are two types of basic varieties: bush and pole.

Some bush types can grow up to three feet high and may require staking.

Pole beans, like their name suggests, require support as the stems can reach 10 feet in some cases.

Each side of a trellis, teepee or teepee should have four to six seeds.

Prepare the soil.

Lima beans prefer to grow in well-draining, evenly moist soil.

They prefer a PH between 6 and 6.8.

When the soil temperature is 65° Fahrenheit and the air temperature between 65-80° F, plant the beans

If the temperature is too hot, beans pods won’t set.

They should germinate in 18 days.

Install your support system near a fence, trellis or teepee.

This will allow your beans to grow throughout the growing season.

Top Tip As I water and weed, I gently assist the delicate tendrils to find the support poles or sticks I have given them.

You can plant beans straight into your garden, one-and-a-half to two inches deep.

Bush plants should be placed three to six inches apart, in rows of two and a quarter to three feet.

For pole beans, place the beans six to twelve inches apart.

Keep the soil moist and water well until good Germination.

Don’t overwater the soil or make it too wet.

Similar Article: Growing Fava Beans, (Broad Beans), + Recipes

Care Guide

Mulch should be added when temperatures rise above 60 degrees F.

This is essential as soil can dry out in hot environments.

A layer of mulch can be applied to your plants to keep them cool and even.


Lima beans don’t require fertilization. However, fertilizer can be applied to your plants mid-season.

You can use aged compost to surround the plants.

Beans don’t require extra nitrogen, as they can fix their own nitrogen.

High-nitrogen fertilizer can stunt pod growth.

Bush types plant their entire crop at once, and harvest for approximately two weeks.

As they are not frost-hardy, it is best to plant a succession of rows every three to four week between the last frost days of Spring and the last few weeks before their first frost.

To ensure beans harvest throughout the year, you can plant pole and bush plants.

You can stagger plant crops to increase your harvest.

Top Tip Instead of planting all your bush beans at one time and creating a feast or famine situation you can plant a portion of the row in the beginning of the season, and then plant the rest between two and four weeks later.

You can either replant the area where the beans are finished or choose a different crop. Plants that love the cold like kale, cabbage, and broccoli are good choices.


These plants require water and soil that is moist to germinate.

This is one plant where it is not recommended to soak seeds prior to planting. Seeds may crack or germinate poorly if soil moisture is too high.

Too much water can cause seeds to rot or decompose. This is why it is important to not overwater when sowing or planting seeds.

Lima beans love it hot, but they need at least one-inch of water per week (more in dry hot weather).

To keep the ground cool, it is recommended to mulch around roots.

After the plant has begun to flower and set pods, ensure they don’t experience drought as they can drop the pods and flowers if they become stressed.


Plants of Phaseolus luantas love full sun.

They require about one inch of water each week, and lots of water when setting and flowering pods.


Lima beans prefer to grow in loose, moist soil that has a pH of 6 to 6.8.

Make sure the soil has good drainage.


Because of the short growing season, some people prefer to start their gardens indoors.

Lima bean plants can also be grown in small pots. Once temperatures rise above 60 degrees F, there is no need to worry about frost.

The soil must be organically rich, loose and moist with sufficient sunlight or a grow lamp.

You should plant the seeds two to three weeks before planting them in the ground.

Plant at least two weeks after the last spring freeze.

Once they are planted, do not move them. Water accordingly.

You can plant a bush variety by simply putting the starter plant in the ground, after you have removed any plastic.

Peat cups can be used to plant directly in the ground. This is less disruptive for the root system.

You should place your poles first, and then transplant them to the pole.

While tapping in a pole, or support stick, you don’t want to damage any root system.

Transfer and transport with gentle care. The lima beans require a lot of TLC. They must be transported with care to ensure the preservation of the fragile root system.

You should water your plants but not overwater them. Make sure you plant them in well-draining soil.


To extend flowering, gardeners should grab pods as soon they become plump.

If the seeds are matured and no new flowers form, the plant will die. Therefore, do not leave any old pods.

If left unattended, pods will eventually become hard and woody.

Note: Bush Lima Beans should yield two to three pickings each season.

Pole beans might need to be pruned in the growing season.

Any growth, including other pole plants, must be removed within six- to eight-inch of the plant.

You can save seeds for next years crop by leaving some seed pods on your vines. Once they dry, bring them inside to finish drying.

Place the seeds in an envelope.

Your seeds should be labeled and stored in a dry, dark area.

Temperatures between 10 and 15 degrees F will cause the plants to die.

You can also break up dead plants and add them to your compost piles.

Take out the leaves, stems, dead plants and any other debris.

Your crop organic matter will make a great addition to your compost pile.

Do not add any leaf or bean that is ill to the compost.

Common Problems, Pests, and Diseases

Regular inspection of lime beans for mites and aphids is a good idea.

To get rid of the pests, pick off any eggs you can see and immediately spay your plants.

Aphids can be eliminated by wiping the leaves of your plants with water and dish soap.

One-half alcohol to one-half water is common. The mixture should not cause damage to the plant.

For approximately two weeks, the soapy water should always be reapplied every 2-3 day.

The soap kills mites and aphids.

You can repel mites by spraying neem oil mixed with water on your plants.

If this fails, you can try an insecticide soap. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Notice: These plants can also be susceptible to plant cankers and blight (anthracnose).


What’s the history and origin of lima bean cultivation in India?

Phaseolus lunatus can be found in Meso- and South America. It is a result of two gene pools of cultivated lime beans, which seem to have happened independently.

Mesoamerican limas originated in the neotropical lowlands. South American varieties began in the mountains of Peru, where they are now found.

The Andes strain was domesticated around 2000 BC and produced a large seed. The second bean from the lowlands came later, around 800 AD, and was more sieva (small seed).

Around 1300 A.D., cultivation began north of Rio Grande. In the Old World (Europe), the plant was first cultivated around 1500 A.D.

The Sieva type can be found from Mexico to Argentina at a height of below 5,200 feet. The Peruvian type can be found between 1,050 and 6,660 feet.

Why is it called Lima beans?

The Spanish Viceroyalty in Peru was established between the 16th and the 18th centuries. They exported lima beans from Peru to Europe and the Americas.

The beans crates were labeled to indicate they came from Lima, the capital of Peru.

The pronunciation was different from that of the capital (Leema, not Li-mah).

Most likely, the beans were shipped from El Callao which is a crucial trade route between Peru and Chile.

It is actually the largest and most important natural harbor in the country.

Common name: Butter bean (P. lunatus. var. Most commonly used in North and South Carolina is Macrocarpus or P. limensis.

Although they are both beans of the same species, lime and butter beans can be considered to be two types.

Lima beans, which are small and green, are smaller than Butter beans. Butter beans are larger and more yellow. They are common in Southern cuisine.