Pinto beans are easy to grow and a great source of plant protein. The nutrition level of the beans makes them a fantastic addition to any garden setup, but sometimes you run out of room when gardening. So how can you grow pinto beans in containers to free up your garden space?
You can grow pinto beans in a container with good drainage, space, and quality soil, and the plant receives adequate water and sunlight. Pinto beans are resilient plants and grow under most circumstances. However, the beans struggle with transplanting, so it’s best to sow them where you want them.
In the rest of this article, I will discuss the steps to growing healthy pinto beans in containers. I will also clarify what containers work best, the soil to use, and where you should leave the plants during the day. So if you want to learn more about growing pinto beans in pots or containers, read on.
1. Select a Suitable Container for Your Pinto Beans
First, you need to select a container. Pinto beans aren’t super picky about the container they’re grown in. However, there are a few standards the container should meet to ensure optimal plant growth.
Specifications of a suitable pinto bean container:
- Drainage holes along the bottom.
- A container is 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter or more.
- Easy to move around.
As you can see, there aren’t a lot of requirements when it comes to which container your beans will prefer. You can easily use a standard planting pot, a bucket, or any other container lying around, so long as it has drainage holes. The material itself doesn’t matter. You can easily use plastic, clay, wood, or porcelain containers.
The drainage holes are critical because water will build up and sit on the plant’s roots without them. This stagnant water eventually leads to root rot and causes your pinto bean plant to die.
Remember, due to their delicate roots; you will struggle to replant your bean plants. Therefore, the container you choose will be their forever home and needs to be spacious enough for their future growth.
2. Use Quality Potting Mix
Next, you must use good-quality soil in your pot/container. Luckily, pinto beans require very little nutrition; however, your beans will struggle to fruit because of too much nitrogen.
Pinto beans prefer clay or silt loam to grow and thrive. This soil is lower in nitrogen and contains the nutrients your beans need to succeed. The pH of the soil should typically sit around 6.0-7.0. You can check your soil levels using a soil test kit.
Your beans’ soil plays a crucial role in their development since much of their nutrients come from the dirt. Additionally, bean plants are easily over-fertilized so starting with good soil is critical.
3. Plant the Pinto Beans in the Container
Once you have selected a container and soil type, it’s time to plant the beans. Then you should follow these steps:
- Add your soil to the pot or planting container.
- Plant your pinto beans 1 inch (2.54 cm) deep into the soil and water.
- If you’re planting multiple bean plants in the container (grouping bean plants is preferred), ensure you space out the seeds 3-6 inches (7-15 cm) apart. Proper spacing ensures the plants have room to grow and don’t compete too heavily for nutrients.
It is best to wait to plant your pinto beans until after the last frost has passed. However, for your beans to germinate, they require temperatures of 60-70°F (16 -21°C). If the temperatures drop too low, the plants won’t sprout up.
4. Place the Pinto Beans in a Sunny Spot
Pinto beans require plenty of sunlight for optimal growth. Beans are considered full-sun crops and thrive in sunlight. Typically beans need at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. However, this need can vary based on the climate.
For example, partial shade may be preferable for your beans if you live somewhere extremely hot and want the beans to flower. Luckily, because your pinto beans are in containers, they are easily moved if the weather grows too warm or cool.
Setting your pinto beans up in the perfect spot sets you on the road to your first bean flowering. I have a great article on encouraging your bean plants to flower in my article: How to Get Your Bean Plants to Flower: 6 Methods
Placing containers on the south side of your yard is best to ensure your beans get enough light each day. This spot gets the most sunlight throughout the day and will be highly beneficial if you have a shadier yard.
5. Set Up a Bean Watering Schedule
Another critical element to keeping container-grown pinto beans happy is watering regularly. Beans need a consistent watering schedule since it aids in preventing overwatering. In addition, pinto bean roots are delicate and easily fall prey to root rot. So it’s essential to understand your plants’ watering needs and follow them carefully.
Pinto beans need about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water each week. However, stop if you notice that your beans’ soil is still damp when you go to water. It’s essential to let the soil dry out a little in between each watering. Drying ensures water doesn’t sit on the roots of the beans, eventually causing root rot.
Monitoring your plant’s water consumption is vital. However, you can still easily set up a watering schedule or automated system via drips or sprinklers. Schedules keep watering consistent and ensure the plant thrives, so long as overwatering doesn’t occur.
6. Remove All Weeds From Your Container
Once your pinto bean plants have established themselves, you must look for unwanted weeds. Unfortunately, even when purchasing quality soil, weeds can still end up in the mix. Additionally, since your plants are outdoors, weeds will occur from seeds blown into the container.
However, the weeds got in your bean’s container; they certainly can’t stay. Therefore, it’s best to pull any weeds you find quickly and dispose of them. What makes weeds so dangerous is their ability to take over a container so quickly. In addition, the weeds compete with your bean plants for nutrition, leading to sad beans and poorer fruit yields.
7. Monitor Your Pinto Beans for Pests and Diseases
Another essential thing to look for is pests or illnesses taking over your bean plants. Both can decimate your tiny ben plants and prevent them from fruiting. So what are some signs you should look for when it comes to pests and plant diseases?
Pinto Bean Pest Problems
Like all plants spending time outdoors, potted pinto beans are susceptible to infestations by pests. Beans are resistant plants, but too many pests can lead to future problems for your little bean plants.
The most common pinto bean pests include:
- Bean leaf beetles. These beetles leave small chew holes in your plant’s leaves and will cause the plant’s growth to become stunted. You can often see the tiny beetles on the underside of the bean’s leaves.
- Whiteflies. If you have whiteflies, they make an appearance on the underside of your bean plant leaves. They are tiny white creatures that leave splotches of honeydew, attracting ants. Whiteflies tend to swarm when they fly, making their presence obvious.
- Stink Bugs. The bugs eat your bean plant leaves and are easily spotted climbing on the plant’s leaves and stems.
Acting fast is essential if these pests have moved into your bean plants. Over time each of these pests will weaken your plant and eventually cause the pinto beans to die. Prevention is the best method when it comes to pests. However, your plant is still savable after infestation if you act quickly.
Using a gentle insecticide like Neem Oil is beneficial to keep these pests at bay. This oil will deter pests from residing in your bean plants and kill off any already hiding.
Common Pinto Bean Diseases
Another thing you need to watch out for with your bean plants is diseases. Generally, beans are hardy little plants, but they get sick now and again. So knowing what to look out for is extremely important.
The most common pinto bean disease and what to look for:
- Bacterial wilt. This disease presents as dry crunchy leaves and generally occurs during warm weather. Bacterial wilt inhibits proper water supply to the entire plant, eventually wilting and dying.
- Root rot. Overwatering leads to the plant’s roots rotting and eventually death. You will see symptoms of pale leaves and discoloration. Plus, the leaves will often start to droop.
- Halo blight. This illness affects the leaves and bean pods. As the name suggests, it appears as small halos of crispy spots on the plant.
These are just a few common illnesses bean plants can face. However, a spray like Neem Oil can also help prevent your plant from contracting these diseases. It’s essential to act quickly if your beans become diseased and move them away from other plants.
8. Harvest the Pinto Beans
Finally, you get to harvest your pinto bean pods. Generally, it takes pinto beans about 90 days to reach maturity. The hard beans are easily stored once they have time to dry out. So, after all the work, it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Cut the pods from the plant, open them and collect your beans.
Growing pinto beans in containers is easy and fun. Many gardeners prefer this method as the bean plants stay more mobile. Plus, pinto beans don’t require much room, and you can bring them indoors if the weather grows too warm or cool, leading to you having beans for longer.