Growing Beans crop nutrition advice

Everything you need to know about fertilising beans, best practice, suitable products, field trials and more.

Crop nutrition advice for growing beans

  • Bean crops thrive best in slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH level ranging from 6.0 to 7.0.

  • Bean crops prefer well-drained, loamy soil with good fertility.

  • Bean crops thrive best in warm temperatures, with an optimal range of 21°C to 27°C during the day and around15°C at night

  • Bean crops thrive best in full sun, requiring at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day

  • Bean crops prefer consistently moist soil, but not waterlogged.

  • Bean crops require a balanced intake of nutrients to ensure healthy growth, robust fruit development, and disease resistance.

Bean plants with healthy leaves
Beans harvested in optimum condition


The Significance of Beans

Beans hold a significant position in the agricultural landscape of the United Kingdom, esteemed for their nutritional richness, versatility, and contribution to sustainable farming practices. As a staple legume crop, beans play a vital role in both human consumption and animal feed industries. They offer a rich source of protein, fibre, and essential vitamins, making them a valuable component of a balanced diet. Additionally, beans are renowned for their nitrogen-fixing abilities, enhancing soil fertility and supporting crop rotation strategies, thereby fostering long-term soil health and productivity.


Bean Cultivation in the UK

The UK cultivates a substantial area of land dedicated to bean farming, with hundreds of hectares under cultivation annually. This extensive cultivation underscores the importance of beans in meeting the demands of various sectors, including food processing companies and animal feed manufacturers, which heavily rely on beans as a primary ingredient in their products, ensuring a reliable supply chain for the agricultural industry.


What are the Nutrient Requirements of a pea crop?

Bean crops have relatively modest nutrient requirements, primarily needing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium for optimal growth and yield. Nitrogen fixation by bean plants helps meet a significant portion of their nitrogen needs. Phosphorus is essential for early root development, while potassium supports overall plant vigour and stress tolerance.


What are the roles of nutrients in peas?

  • Nitrogen: Essential for vegetative growth and overall plant development, nitrogen is crucial for producing proteins, chlorophyll, and enzymes in bean plants.
  • Phosphorus: Promotes root development, flowering, and fruit set in bean plants. Phosphorus is also involved in energy transfer and the formation of DNA and RNA.
  • Potassium: Facilitates water regulation, nutrient uptake, and disease resistance in bean plants. It also plays a role in enzyme activation and photosynthesis.
  • Calcium: Enhances cell wall strength and structure, reducing the risk of disorders like blossom end rot in bean plants. Calcium also regulates membrane permeability and signaling pathways.
  • Magnesium: Essential component of chlorophyll, magnesium is vital for photosynthesis and carbohydrate metabolism in bean plants. It also regulates enzyme activity and contributes to nutrient uptake and utilization.


Estimated nutrient uptake (kg/t) by: 


Commercial yield2.50.402.50.255.68
Crop residue yield4.00.404.50.75


What are the common deficiencies & Issues found in a bean crop?

When cultivating bean crops, several common nutrient deficiencies and issues may arise, impacting plant health and yield potential. Nitrogen deficiency is a prevalent concern, particularly in soils lacking organic matter or nitrogen-fixing bacteria, leading to stunted growth and reduced vigour. Phosphorus deficiency can inhibit early root development and limit flowering and pod formation, affecting overall yield. Potassium deficiency may manifest as weak stems and susceptibility to diseases, compromising plant resilience. Additionally, bean crops are susceptible to fungal diseases like powdery mildew, which can spread rapidly under humid conditions, affecting foliage and pod quality. Adequate soil fertility management and disease prevention strategies, coupled with proper irrigation and cultural practices, are essential for mitigating these nutrient deficiencies and issues, ensuring healthy bean crop growth and optimal yield.


Nitrogen DeficiencySymptoms include stunted growth, yellowing of older leaves (chlorosis), and reduced yield.
Phosphorous DeficiencyManifests as slow or stunted growth, purplish discoloration of leaves, and poor root development.
Potassium DeficiencyLeads to yellowing or browning of leaf margins (necrosis), weak stems, and increased susceptibility to diseases.Common in light soils due to easier leaching.  
Calcium DeficiencyCauses blossom end rot, characterized by dark, sunken spots on the fruit's blossom end, ultimately reducing overall yield and fruit quality.
Magnesium DeficiencySymptoms include interveinal chlorosis in older leaves, while veins remain green, reduced chlorophyll production, and impaired photosynthesis.
Sulphur Deficiency Leaves exhibit a general yellowing, particularly in younger leaves, indicating a lack of chlorophyll production due to sulphur deficiency, accompanied by stunted growth compared to healthy plants.


  • Anthracnose: This fungal disease causes dark, sunken lesions on leaves, stems, and pods, leading to reduced yield and quality in bean crops.
  • Root Rot: Soilborne pathogens like Fusarium and Pythium can infect bean roots, causing rotting and wilting of plants, particularly in poorly drained soils.
  • Bean Common Mosaic Virus (BCMV): This viral disease causes mottling and distortion of leaves, stunting of plants, and reduced pod development in bean crops.
  • Bean Rust: A fungal disease characterized by reddish-brown pustules on leaf surfaces, bean rust can defoliate plants and reduce photosynthesis, leading to decreased yield.
  • Herbicide Injury: Incorrect application or drift of herbicides can cause damage to bean crops, resulting in stunted growth, leaf distortion, and yield loss.


How can I spot Nutrient Deficiencies in Beans?

Detecting nutrient deficiencies in bean crops requires careful observation of plant symptoms and understanding their underlying causes. For nitrogen deficiency, early signs include pale green or yellowing leaves, starting from the older bottom leaves and progressing upwards. Stunted growth and reduced leaf size may also indicate nitrogen deficiency. Phosphorus deficiency manifests as purplish discoloration on leaves, particularly along the leaf margins or between veins, along with delayed maturity and poor root development. Potassium deficiency presents as yellowing or browning of leaf edges, followed by necrosis and leaf curling. Fungal diseases like powdery mildew are identifiable by the presence of white, powdery spots on leaves and stems, progressing to yellowing and distortion of affected tissues. Regular scouting of bean crops, coupled with soil testing and nutrient monitoring, aids in early detection and intervention, allowing growers to implement appropriate corrective measures to mitigate deficiencies and ensure optimal bean crop health and productivity.


Use of ICL’s Products such as Polysulphate in Bean Cultivation

ICL’s products, like Polysulphate, play a crucial role in optimizing bean cultivation. Polysulphate, with its balanced composition of essential nutrients, including sulfur, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, supports healthy bean growth and development. The controlled release of nutrients ensures a steady supply throughout the growing season, promoting robust plant growth, improved disease resistance, and enhanced yield potential. Integrating Polysulphate into bean cultivation practices can lead to increased productivity, better quality beans, and sustainable agricultural practices, aligning with the goals of modern farming operations.

Guides & Articles


Here are some frequently asked questions we received from farmers regarding growing beans.

  • Bean seeds should be planted about 1 to 1.5 inches deep in the soil. Planting too shallow can result in poor germination, while planting too deep may delay emergence.

  • A balanced fertiliser with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) is suitable for bean plants. Alternatively, organic fertilisers like compost or aged manure can be used to provide slow-release nutrients.

  • Foliar fertilisers can be used as a supplement to soil-applied fertilisers for quick nutrient uptake by bean plants. However, they should not be relied upon as the sole source of nutrients and should be used in conjunction with proper soil fertilisation practices.

  • Apply fertiliser before planting or during early growth stages to ensure nutrients are available when the plants need them most. Side-dress additional fertiliser as needed during the growing season, particularly if plants show signs of nutrient deficiency.

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