Vegetable Garden

Warning: Beans Don’t Like Their Roots Disturbed!

June 12, 2013
Healthy French Beans

Healthy French Beans

Have you ever heard the expression

“beans don’t like their roots disturbed”?

Well it’s true, they really don’t.

The photos accompanying this post show some dwarf French beans that were sown directly into soil in our polytunnel. This week I moved a few plants that were crowding the sweetcorn I’d sown them with (part of the Three Sisters companion planting).

Disturbed French Bean

French Bean that’s been moved

Within an hour the beans were looking poorly and several days later they still haven’t recovered. Hopefully I won’t lose them completely but it will be interesting to see if and how much the move has set them back.

French Bean that's been transplanted

French Bean that’s been transplanted

It’s not just beans that get upset. All members of the legume family can sulk if moved.

So how do you avoid root disturbance if you want to plant beans and peas as healthy growing plants and not from seed? I’ve found growing the seeds in toilet roll tubes very effective and biodegradable pots work too as both can be ‘planted’ with the seedlings growing inside them.

Sweet peas growing in cardboard tubes

Sweet peas growing in cardboard tubes

I’ll keep you posted on how my transplants fare over the coming months, watch this space.


  • Reply cathsveggies1 June 12, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Hmmm…I always grow my french beans in modules and transplant them.The lower leaves do go a bit pale,but the plants do continue to grow well! Good luck with yours 🙂

    • Reply greensideupveg June 12, 2013 at 3:04 pm

      Thanks Cath, I’m curious to see if transplanting them affects the yield, will have to wait and see!

  • Reply Ena Ronayne June 12, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    That’s why I guess Sweet Pea were traditionally grown in long tom pots (rarely found nowadays) This link may be of interest as they are biodegradable and maybe easier to use than recycling toilet rolls

    • Reply greensideupveg June 12, 2013 at 3:07 pm

      Thanks for the link Ena and yes as I was writing the post I was thinking of those pots you mentioned too.

  • Reply Richard April 11, 2018 at 12:54 am

    I grow all my runner beans/french beans and peas in cells before planting them out.. I have never experienced transplant shock. The secret is to use biodegradable pots and to give the plants a good soaking with a good liquid seaweed tonic prior to planting out…

    • Reply Dee Sewell June 8, 2018 at 11:42 am

      Yes Richard, that’s exactly the technique, biodegradable pots work a treat. I did observe a clear difference however, perhaps the tonic would have prevented it. Thanks for the suggestion.


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