Why Are Your Beans Growing Upside Down?

When you are planting a garden, mishaps can occur seemingly without reason. One of those possible issues is that your vegetables begin to grow in the wrong direction, even if you are convinced you planted them correctly. Why are your beans growing upside down?

Your beans are growing upside down because the seed was not planted deep enough. Beans move when they are growing and have the potential to turn themselves in the wrong direction, causing them to grow upside down.

This article will look deeper into how a bean plant can start to grow upside down, even if it appeared to be planted correctly initially. It will also explore how a bean plant that is growing in the wrong direction can be affected and some ways to prevent your beans from growing upside down in the future.

Understanding the Direction Bean Plants Are Meant to Grow

Before diving into the possible reasons why your bean plants are growing upside down, it is essential to understand how these particular vegetables are supposed to grow. 

Beans are the type of vegetable that develops through epigeal germination. This process involves the germination of the plant happening above the ground, as opposed to under the dirt in the earth. 

When beans grow correctly, they transform from the initial seed to a seedling, whose stem is pushed out above the soil. The part of the plant containing the bean itself is attached to that stem and then exposed to the air, where it is able to intake external nutrients. 

If a bean plant is growing in the wrong direction, it means that somehow during the growing process, the portion of the plant containing the bean was pushed upside down, and the bean remained in the earth. 

If a vegetable that is meant to grow through the process of epigeal germination accidentally grows underground, it will not be able to get the external nutrients it needs, and the crop is much more likely to fail.

For that reason alone, it is crucial to discover why your beans are growing upside down and how to prevent the issue from happening in the future.

Why Beans Sometimes Grow Upside Down

Now that you have a better idea of the way bean plants should ideally grow, you can begin to comprehend why your beans may be developing the wrong way. 

There are two main reasons that your beans could be developing upside down, and both have to do with how they were initially planted when they were moved from their germination position indoors to the ground outdoors:

They Moved While They Were Growing

The first likely scenario where your beans begin growing in the wrong direction is that they were given the flexibility to move too much throughout their growing process. 

You may feel confident that you made sure to pack the plants down with plenty of soil when you placed them in the ground. Unfortunately, even if you planted the beans deep in the earth and were generous with the amount of dirt you used, any extra room will allow them to shift where they develop. 

If the bean seedling is given too much room, it could accidentally change the direction it is growing in, and the bean could begin growing underneath the ground, turning the plant upside down. 

A bean plant with too much room to move can be problematic for a couple of reasons, in addition to the fact that it will start to grow in the wrong direction. If they spread out too far to one side, one individual plant may begin to encroach on the growing space of another. 

If it takes over too much of the next plant’s room in the soil, the second plant may also begin to shift. This could ultimately cause a domino effect where the plants all begin to take over each other’s space, and none of them are able to grow properly. In this case, the whole harvest has the potential to be ruined. 

Additionally, if a bean plant were to move so much that it encroached on another plant’s space, there is the possibility that it could push the plant so far out of position that the second plant also begins to form an upside down. 

No matter what happens, at least one bean plant has the potential to grow the wrong way. If this happens, the possibility of many more doing the same is much greater. 

They Were Not Planted Deep Enough in the Soil

Another reason your bean plants may be growing upside down is that when the seedlings were transferred to the ground, they were not placed deep enough into the earth. 

In addition to having too much room to move around, the stem of the seedling could develop faster than the roots of the plant if there is not enough soil to keep it sitting upright. 

The roots may start to grow up and out into the air because they do not have enough time to anchor firmly into the ground. If the roots are up above the soil, the portion of the plant containing the bean is going to be buried deep in the soil, where it will not be able to produce properly. 

The biggest issue with a bean plant turning itself in the wrong direction is that it requires a great deal of energy to put itself back the right way. 

Seeds contain hormones that recognize the effect gravity has on the plant and will rotate the bean back to the correct orientation if it realizes it is growing the wrong way. However, in order to turn the bean stem the way it needs to be to develop appropriately, the plant will have to put out a great deal of energy.

This energy could be used in a lot of different ways, but one of its most important uses is helping the germination rate of the seedling. Plants will grow much faster if they reserve their energy solely for that purpose.

Beans gain many of their nutrients from the air above ground, so if they are growing the wrong way, that will already affect them to some degree. If they have to orient themselves in the correct direction, that will expel the little bit of energy they have left, and they will not produce well.

How to Keep Your Bean Plants Upright

There is one primary method that can be used to keep your bean plants from growing in the wrong direction. The best way to keep your seedlings from developing upside down is to plant your bean seeds with the radicle side facing down.

The radicle on a bean is the tiny opening that sits in the middle of the concave side of the vegetable. Radicles are where the main root of the bean plant extends from, which is the first part of the bean to appear when the seed begins the germination process. 

That main root is supposed to grow downward into the soil, setting the plant firmly into the ground so the remaining roots can develop and the seedling can begin to produce a stem. 

As long as the radicle is deep in the soil and does not have a lot of spare room to move around, your bean seedlings will grow the way they are supposed to. By ensuring that you plant your bean seeds radicle side down, you are much less likely to run into the issue of your beans growing upside down in the future. 

Final Thoughts

Discovering that your bean plants have begun to grow in the wrong direction can be pretty shocking since it is not a phenomenon that occurs very often. 

As long as you are careful when you first plant the seeds and ensure that the radicle is packed deeply and tightly into the earth with very little room to move, your bean plants should develop the correct way. 

Remember that your seedlings may be able to right themselves, but the process will use a lot of their energy, so it’s best to avoid the problem in the first place.

Dr. Moritz Picot

Dr. Moritz Picot is a horticulture enthusiast and the founder of TheGrowingLeaf.com, where he serves as the lead content writer. He established the website in 2022 as a valuable resource for both gardening aficionados and beginners, compiling all the gardening tips he has accumulated over the past 25 years. Alex has a passion for nurturing plants, transforming backyards into inviting spaces, and sharing his knowledge with the world.

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