Royal Burgundy Bush Beans
The first time I saw purple beans, I was fascinated.
I had no idea ‘green beans’ were ever.. not green!
I immediately wanted to try growing them in my indoor hydroponic gardens. From everything I had read, snap beans are relatively straightforward and easy to grow, and I was excited to give them a try.
Three months later, I have my own little bundle of purple bush beans. Funny enough, once they’re cooked purple beans turn… green.
Despite the disappointing color change, I still think purple beans are a must-grow if you like to garden.
Here’s everything you need to know about growing purple beans, and especially growing beans indoors.
Planting Royal Burgundy Beans
There are a couple varieties of purple beans but Royal Burgundy is one of the most popular.
This particular variety hails from the Andean mountains of South America, and was domesticated to a dwarf version at the University of New Hampshire in the 1950s.
The nice thing about growing these bright violet pods is they’re super quick!
In about 55 days, you’ll have 5-6 inch long velvety pods and the compact size makes them a great plant for small gardens, container planting or indoor smart gardens.
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Bush Beans Grow Guide
|Botanical Name||Phaseolus vulgaris Royal|
|Common Name||Royal burgundy beans, burgundy beans, purple bush beans|
|Mature Size||15-20 inches tall|
|Days to Harvest||55 days from seed|
|Soil Type||Well draining soil|
|Soil pH||Neutral (6.0 – 6.8)|
|Hardiness Zones||USA Zones 3-10|
|Native Area||Mexico and South America|
|Pests||Aphids, spider mites, leafhoppers|
There’s lots to recommend about the Royal Burgundy variety.
It’s not only a fast producer but very disease resistant. Beans can be commonly susceptible to white mold or bean mosaic virus, but the Royal Burgundy has a strong resistance to most pests and infections.
It’s also incredibly high yielding and well adapted to cooler soils compared to other bean varieties.
The deep purple pods are incredibly easy to spot against the plant’s green leaves, so they’re easy to pick. And the purple hue is derived from antioxidants and anthocynanins, so these beans are quite good for you!
Are Royal Burgundy beans a bush or pole bean?
Royal Burgundy beans are a bush bean variety.
Plants are cute and compact, averaging just 15-20″ tall. The pods are a deep, velvety purple about 5-6″ long with a crisp, delicious flavor.
The interior of the beans are green, and visible when the pods are cut open or cooked.
Do Bush Beans Need a Trellis?
Bush beans grow short, squat and bush-like so they don’t require a trellis or other types of support.
But, it can certainly help to give structure to the plants if you want to add a trellis.
I found that when growing beans indoors, the plants quickly grew a ton of leaves and seemed to collapse under the weight, spilling over each other and out onto the floor.
Bush beans were developed from pole beans (growers wanted a condensed, easier harvest) so sometimes they can revert to some of the traits of their ancestors.
If you find your bush beans are getting a bit lanky and stretching out, they may just need a bit of time to settle into a compact bush. You can give the vines some support in the meantime.
I used the Aerogarden farm trellis, which gave the purple bean plants something to grab onto and helped prevent them from growing into my other gardens.
Growing Royal Burgundy Beans
Royal Burgundy beans are a typical summer bean crop.
You’ll want to sow them in mid to late spring, after the threat of frost has well passed. Bean seeds like warm soil. If the soil is too cold or wet, the seeds tend to rot, especially since most heirloom bean seeds aren’t treated with fungicide.
Beans also have sensitive roots that don’t like to be disturbed.
You’re better off directly sowing beans outside once the soil temperatures are warm enough.
Sow bush bean seeds 1-2″ deep, 2-3″ apart in rows 18-24″ apart. You can succession sow them if you want a longer harvest season, as bush beans tend to produce the bulk of their harvest in two weeks.
If you’d like, you can plant bush beans near carrots, cucumbers or corn for companion planting benefits.
Growing Bush Beans Indoors
I grew these purple beans indoors in my hydroponic gardens.
Initially, I wasn’t sure how big the plants would get so I planted several in my Aerogarden Farm xl.
It’s a large, floor model that I typically choose for any type of fruiting plant, since it has the strongest level of full spectrum LED lights (60 watts) and the largest height capacity of 3 feet.
In hindsight, royal burgundy plants are quite small and compact!
I don’t think the bush beans ever got taller than 12″ so they can easily be planted in the countertop Aerogarden models.
I’d recommend the Bounty if I was to plant these again.
Bush bean seeds are quite delicate.
I initially planted them directly in the Aerogarden using the company’s Grow Your Own kit. These empty cages, sponges and labels allow you to use your own seeds and grow whatever you want in the Aerogarden.
But it turns out the wet environment of a hydroponic environment isn’t the best for bean seeds!
One seed sprouted fine and grew right away, but the other 5 rotted and had all sorts of trouble.
Instead, I’d recommend starting bean seeds indoors with the paper towel method.
Best Indoor Gardening Products to Grow Bush Beans
Bush bean plants don’t need much maintenance.
The shallow roots need adequate water and prefer warm conditions with full sun.
Initially, I over fertilized.
Beans produce their own nitrogen, so adding too much liquid nutrients can delay maturity, cause yellowing leaves and poor pod set.
If you’re noticing that your bean plants turn yellow or seem leached of color, they’ve likely been overfed.
Initially, I added Aerogarden nutrients on a 2 week schedule, but found that decreasing to once every 3 weeks worked just fine.
Occasionally, I added bloom nutrition to encourage heavy flower production.
If your beans are flowering but not creating pods, there may be a zinc deficiency. You can try spraying the plants with a kelp based fertilizer.
Royal Burgundy has extremely pretty purple flowers. They’re a vivid fuchsia color that stands out among all the green foliage.
You don’t have to do much – the beans will practically flower and create pods on their own as bush beans are self pollinating.
Every so often when I remembered, I would go in and gently shake the plant to help with pod production.
Bush bean plants tend to produce all their crop at once, over a 2 week span. So if you want a continuous crop for a long season, you can stagger your planting by a week or so.
I’m always surprised by plant colors. Some vegetables start out the same color as the final fruit form, but others undergo a color change.
Royal Burgundy bush beans start out with purple flowers that if fertilized correctly, turn into tiny green pods.
The green beans slowly get larger until they reach their final size, and then undergo a color change from green to purple.
The color change is quite fascinating.
Initially the pods look bright green, with an outlook of dark purple around the edges. Then the pods slowly turn purple all over until they reach a deep, vibrant almost velvet looking purple.
How to Harvest Royal Burgundy Beans
Royal Burgundy beans are some of the fastest maturity bean varieties, with an average time to harvest of about 55 days.
You’ll notice tons of little purple pods on the plant. It’s better to pick beans when they’re young, because they’ll be more tender with better flavor.
Luckily, the distinctive purple color makes them easy to spot against all the foliage!
Another reason to harvest regularly is to encourage production. Daily picking will help the plants form new flowers and pods. Bush bean pants will stop growing if their pods are left to fill out with seed.
You can harvest by snapping off the stems.
But I always prefer to use garden shears to prevent any pulling on the plant or damage to the main stems.
harvesting royal burgundy bush beans
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Why Do Royal Burgundy Beans Turn Green?
The deep purple pods are only purple on the exterior, due to anthocyanins in the skin. The interior flesh is green (from chlorophyll).
When the beans are sautéed, boiled or baked (any kind of high temperature cooking), the anthocyanins deteriorate. What’s left behind is just the green chlorophyll.
So the beans will turn from purple to green when cooked, as all that’s remaining is the green.
How to Store Royal Burgundy Beans
Royal burgundy beans can be used fresh, shelled or dried.
You can also can or freeze them to save for later in the season.
Beans are also an easy seed saving crop.
If you’d like to save Royal Burgundy bean seeds, leave the pods to dry out on the vine. They’ll grow fat with distinctive seed ridges inside, and slowly dry out to a light brown color.
You’ll also be able to hear the seeds rattling inside.
Once they’ve reached this stage, they can be picked and the brown seeds can be removed from the pods. Let the seeds completely dry, then store them in a cool dry place for up to a year.
Beans tend to self-pollinate and not cross with other species, so they’re ok to save even when planted near other bean varieties.
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