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Scarlet Runner Bean

If it is Scarlet Runner Bean that you are planning to grow then forget all doubts and go ahead. Your garden will be decorated with adorable flaming red flowers and believe me these flowers won't shed without paying you the price. Yummy and crunchy beans which will make a sumptuous delight for you and your kids. Ideally an edible ornamental plant, Scarlet Runner Bean is a beautiful vine that plays both the roles equally well, a wonderful flowering plant and a delicious bean. The showy clusters of the beautiful flowers superbly attract attention of everyone. And the edible beans play duality in their roles as well, crunch them as snap bean and if by chance you let them grow to be matured then cook them as lima bean and gorge on them anytime. These green beans make a great garnishing for the ultimate salads.

 
It has been discovered that this species originated from the mountains of Central America and thus is a native to the Americans. Phaseolus coccineus, that's the name that denotes Scarlet Runner Bean in the botanical language. This beans belongs to the whole dynasty of the vast flowering family called Fabaceae. Now this runner bean acquired its name from the flowers that it bears. The scarlet colored flowers fetched the name scarlet runner bean for this unique bean. Although, historically this bean is of comparatively little importance than its other popular counterparts.However it is now on the verge of being really popular as an edible bean. though the plant has never lost its popularity as an ornamental garden plant owing to its rapid growth and amazing bright colored flowers.
 

General Description
Scarlet Runner Bean is a rapidly growing annual plant which reaches a height of about 12-15 feet. It is distinctively decorated with dark green leaves which are artistically marked by purple veins. The large scarlet flowers, as many as 20 flowers on each flower stalk add to the charm of this plant. Owing to its ravishing and beauteous appearance the plant has been designated by various other names such as scarlet conqueror, fire bean, mammoth, red giant, scarlet emperor, and white Dutch runner. The flowers give way to dark green pods which are somewhat brittle and stringy along with fleshy curves. The large seeds are marked with a large, white and flattened scar which might be curved at times. The seeds vary in color ranging from shimmery black color to violet black color.

 

Uses

  • The green pods are edible whole but in some varieties tend to become fibrous early, and only the seeds within are eaten.
  • The seeds can be used fresh or as dried beans as you may please as both the types have their own distinctive taste.
  • The unripe bean seeds can also be used fresh as a lima bean substitute in various wholesome country soups, stews and even salads.
  • The appealing colors of the seeds and pods make them chef's favorite for garnishing many dishes to add flavor and color at the same time.
  • The starchy roots are still eaten by Central American Indians. The scarlet runner is widely grown for its attractive flowers by people who don't even have any idea that they might even eat the beans.
  • The flaming red and scarlet flowers make the gardens a beautiful eye loving delight for onlookers and possessors as well. These flowers last all summer long. And the best part is their rapid growth as they hasten to cover the fences and other garden structures quickly within a couple of weeks.
  • If you love butterflies and humming birds then planting scarlet runner bean would be an excellent idea as it attracts the butterflies and birds a lot. These creatures would not be able to to resist the flowery charms of this runner and would storm to your garden.
  • Like any other bean plant Scarlet Runner Bean is also a nitrogen fixing legume that enhances the soil quality rendering many nutrients to get dissolved in the soil.
  • Its endless features make it a worthwhile treat for your garden.
   

Cultivation Techniques

  • A rapidly proliferating plant, Scarlet runner Bean is easy to grow and easier to take care of.
  • All it needs is careful planting, sufficient sunshine, enhancing fertilizers and generous yet timely irrigation.
  • A warm sheltered sunny position, is a perfect growth enhancing idea for this bean plant which should be planted in light, fertile and a little moist soil.
  • Pre-soaking the seeds before plantation speeds up the germination process.
  • It is advisable to plant Scarlet Runner Beans where they can grow up a fence, trellis, bamboo canes, or some other kind of support.
  • These beans are highly susceptible to frost in both spring and fall. So, make sure you do not plant them too early.
  • Adding compost to the soil before planting these beans helps them to grow quickly to their full potential.
  • Weeding around the plant should be a regular plan of action to ensure perfect growth of the bean plant. A heavy layer of mulch around the plants helps keeping weeds down.
  • Once the plant starts producing bean pods make sure you pick them young so that you can munch on them easily as they tend to become stringy and brittle very soon.
  • Picking beans continuously, will promote new flowers and more beans adding to your never ending benefits.
 

Save your Scarlet Runner Bean from Insects, Bunnies and deers

  • Susceptible to a variety of insects these bean plants need extra attention to protect them from being eaten up. Treat your plant with Sevin, Diazinon or a variety of other insecticides which will help you safeguard your precious plant against insects.
  • Bunnies love beans. And yes this is not funny. Rabbits eat the tender leaves and later when the pods appear, they tend to disappear without notice. Thanks to the rabbits. Rabbit fence might help you get a glimpse of your beans and also see your plant in a perfect shape. Just the way you wish to see it.
  • Deers also love beans dearly and a proper fencing will help your beans to grow properly without getting devastated by these creatures.
  • Fungus diseases are also a frequent phenomenon in wet or humid weather. A fungicide is the best solution to the plants' fungal miseries.
  • Interesting facts About Scarlet Runner Beans
  • 'Pickwick' a type of beans have the the "Runner" bred out of the "Scarlet Runner" and do not climb. They can be useful as original bedding plants, as the blooms are held high above the foliage.
  • 'Painted Lady' is another popular cultivar featuring bicolored orange and white flowers.

A word of caution
Runner beans contain traces of a poisonous lectin Phytohaemagglutinin and hence must be thoroughly cooked before consumption.

 
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