Content Detail

Scarlet runner bean is an annual ornamental vine that is grown for its bright red to red-orange flowers. It also produces edible beans.

  • Family (English) Pea
  • Family (botanic) Fabaceae (formerly Leguminosae)
  • Tree or plant type Vine
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Large plant (more than 24 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Season of interest midsummer, late summer, early fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Pink, Red
  • Shape or form Vining
  • Growth rate Fast

Size and Method of Climbing: 

Scarlet runner bean can grow up to 15 feet high. It is a twining vine. Twining vines climb by twisting their stems or leaf stalks around a support. This type of vine grows well on trellises, arbors, wires, or chain-link fences.

Native geographic location and habitat: 

Scarlet runner bean is native to tropical America.

Leaf description: 

Leaves are similar to those found on other bean plants: opposite leaves, each with three leaflets.

Flower description: 

Flowers are typical of beans and peas, but bright red to red-orange in color.

Fruit description: 

The fruit is a legume (pod) filled with black, speckled, edible beans.

Plant care:

Provide full sun and moist, well-drained soil.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

The same insects and diseases that afflict beans grown in the vegetable garden can affect this plant.  This includes viral disease, bacterial blight anthracnose, Mexican bean beetles, and Japanese beetles.

Golden Sunshine scarlet runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus ‘Golden Sunshine’): 

Red flowers and chartreuse leaves characterize this cultivar.

Painted Lady scarlet runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus ‘Painted Lady’):

Bicolor, red and white flowers bloom on this cultivar.

Streamline scarlet runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus ‘Streamline’):

Produces an abundance of flowers and fruits. The pods can be up to 18 inches long.

Sunset scarlet runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus ‘Sunset’):

Peach or pink flowers bloom on this annual vine.


Your support is vital to the Arboretum, where the power of trees makes a positive impact on people’s lives.

Make a gift