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Why Are My Pole Beans Not Setting Blossoms?


Bruce S sent us the following question regarding his Pole Beans:


I have planted Blue Lake Pole Beans. The site gets a lot of sun and I water on the base every day. I have beautiful plants but no blossoms. Another type of Pole Bean has produced blossoms in the same vicinity. It has been almost two months and the plants themselves are very robust but no indication of flowering or beans. Please advise.   Bruce S.


Answer: We cannot give you a definitive answer as to why one variety did well and one did not, though we can give you some possible reasons.


In general, Blue Lake Pole beans need the following conditions:

First, they do not like to have too much nitrogen in the soil. The nitrogen makes them nice and leafy but inhibits blossom production. As beans go through a process called “nitrogen fixation” where they produce nitrogen in their root systems, too much nitrogen, maybe from compost or fertilization may be the be the cause for no blossoms. Test your soil first to determine nitrogen levels, then stop fertilizing if those levels are high. It is also true that heavy, clay soils will hold a lot more nitrogen than sandy soils where the nutrients tend to leach out. A deep watering may help to lower those nitrogen levels.

Second, is the weather. Beans prefer temperatures in the 70° to 80°F range and it is possible that if the temperatures are consistently above 85°F, then the blossoms will not develop. Hot dry winds may aggravate the situation, as will temperatures under 70°F. Warm soil is the Pole Bean’s friend; without it, your bean plants may not even attempt flowering. Across the country the temperatures have been setting records; It’s possible the other variety is more tolerant of such conditions.

Another thing to consider is fluctuations in soil moisture. The Midwest is experiencing a severe drought, so if you are having the same conditions, then that, combined with the heat could be causing a lot of stress on the plant.

Blossom drop almost always occurs under stress conditions, though you may want to monitor for signs of any kind of disease.

Check the ripen time: Blue Lakes are typically around 60 days to harvest. They could be waiting for some cooler weather, as well.

We hope that this gives you some idea of what to look for. Remember, you can also start some new plants, possibly getting a later harvest, when hopefully, the weather is more Pole Bean-friendly.