Landreth Seed of the Day – The Scarlet Runner Bean

The Scarlet Runner Bean

Some say that when Jack the Giant Killer planted his beans to reach the Giant’s Lair, that the beans were Scarlet Runner Beans and… they probably were, because the scarlet runner vines can grow up to 20 feet. Every child should help to build a bamboo teepee with three 10-12 foot bamboo poles, tied at the top, and then to plant three scarlet runner beans at the base of each bamboo pole. In 3-4 weeks the poles will be covered with vines which produce masses of reddish-orange flowers and then long (6-8 inch) bean pods. Even in an urban environment, you can create a scarlet runner teepee. The Scarlet Runner Bean is the most famous, most widely grown and oldest runner bean known to Americans. It has been grown in America since the early 1700s, possibly earlier. The peculiar beans, shiny black mottled with purple or red, are stunning to look at. This bean was grown by Thomas Jefferson in his gardens at Monticello. The photograph is of the scarlet runner teepees in Jefferson’s garden at Monticello. This is the type of plant and fruit that can capture the imagination of a child and produce memories that will keep that child a gardener for life.

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