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Do beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) cross-pollinate?

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  • Do beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) cross-pollinate?

    I want to grow green beans AND dry beans. Same species. Do they cross-pollinate or are they self-pollinators? I am guessing the latter but thought it would be a good idea to ask before I end up with undesirable hybrid seed.

    Much obliged for answers.

  • #2
    Per www.seedsave.org, "Although, ideally, different varieties should be separated by 150 feet or another crop flowering at the same time, we rarely observe cross-pollination even when two varieties are grown next to each other."

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    • #3
      Beans mainly self pollinate, but pollinator pressure (mainly from bumblebees but also from honeybees) can result in natural crossing. So, if there are a fair amount of bumblebees and/or honeybees in your area, best to take more care in isolating them. Also, different cultivars can have different flower structures that can make them more or less susceptible to crossing.

      Depending on your exact environmental conditions, you may be able to avoid having to make isolation cages if you use a block planting style and collect seed from only the center, use a tall barrier crop (ornamental sunflowers for example), and/or grow some perennial flowers around your garden to distract bees from your beans (Composite family flowers like daisies can be particularly effective with their bee-accessible nectaries). Using these techniques you might be able to get away with a relatively low isolation distance of about 25'.

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      • #4
        OK, thanks. I'd better take some precautions, then, because I was going to plant them in exactly the same bed. The green beans have small seeds I think would make poor eating...and the dry beans are an early cultivar whose earliness I would not want to compromise.

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