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: I cannot give you a definitive answer as to why one variety did well and one did not, but I 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. Since beans go thru a process of “nitrogen fixation” where they produce nitrogen in their root systems if the soil is already nitrogen rich from compost, then it could be the cause of no blooms. Test your soil first to determine nutrient levels. Heavy, clay soils will hold a lot more nitrogen than sandy soils where the nutrients tend to leach out.
Second, is the weather. Beans like the temps in the 70- to 80-degree range and if the temps are consistently over 85, then the blossoms will not develop. Hot dry winds will also aggravate the situation. Temperatures under 70 will cause the plant to not even attempt flowering. East Coast temps have been pretty high, so this could be a problem. 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 much stress on the plant. Blossom drop always occurs under stress conditions.
Also 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.
I hope that gives you some ideas of things to look for. Remember, you could start some new plants and maybe get a late harvest out of them, when hopefully the weather is more cooperative for growing and fruit production.
Good luck with your garden,