(Phaseolus coccineus) Another New World native. Grown like ordinary beans with one major difference: they prefer cooler temperatures. Sow in spring about two weeks before last frost; young seedlings tolerate a light frost. Plant the large seeds 1-3 inches deep, 4-6 inches apart at base of trellis or other support. Use the robust pods as snaps, or allow the seed to mature further for shell or dried use. Hot summer weather usually shuts production down, but the plants may start bearing again when the weather cools.
An ancient heirloom runner bean dating as far back as the mid-1600s and first recorded by German botanist Michael Titus in his Catalogus Plantarum. This rare runner bean produces masses of gorgeous blooms ranging in color from tangerine to cherry red, making this edible ornamental pole bean irresistible to hummingbirds! Pods are much shorter than other runner beans; immature pods can be eaten just like sugar snap peas. The stout pods yield just 2-3 beans per shell. The pretty plump beans change from pink to purple, and then to a pure ebony black. Fantastic used like a kidney bean; they cook down to a creamy texture.