9 Reasons Why Your Green Beans Aren’t Coming Up

You spent a great deal of time planting green bean seeds in your garden, excited for them to grow into an abundant crop of vegetables. However, your seeds do not begin the process of germination when they are supposed to and remain underground. Why aren’t your green beans coming up?

Here are 9 reasons why your green beans are not coming up:

  1. Improper storage
  2. Overhydrated soil
  3. Under-hydrated soil
  4. Cold temperatures
  5. Warm temperatures
  6. A nutrient imbalance
  7. Low soil acidity
  8. Planting too deep
  9. Weeds stealing resources

This article will dive deeper into each of the potential reasons your green beans are not coming up out of the ground as they are supposed to. I will also cover some ways to resolve each of the issues. 

1. Improper Storage

The first potential reason that your green beans are not germinating properly is that their germination rate is too low. Although this is one of the more unlikely reasons, it is still a possibility and should be considered.

If your green bean seeds were not stored or handled correctly before you received or purchased them, there is a chance that their germination rate is low. If this is the case, many of the seeds in that packet will not develop into seedlings, and you will not see them come up out of the ground.

Before you plant any seeds, you should always check the germination rate, which is typically stamped on the packet they come in. Most vegetables can be planted with no issues for 3 to 5 years after their initial sale. But if you find that the seeds are not germinating the way they are supposed to, it could be because they were poorly handled or sat around for too long before they were sold. 

The best way to prevent poor storage or handling from ruining your vegetable crop is to buy fresh seeds that have been produced for the current season. That way, you know for a fact that you are using the best quality seeds. 

2. Overhydrated Soil

Green beans are very particular about their growing conditions, namely the soil in which they are planted. If the moisture in the soil is not perfectly balanced, they will struggle to germinate and may not come up above ground at all.

When there is too much moisture in the soil, it can be a breeding ground for disease and mold to grow. If your green beans are having trouble germinating, it could be because there is too much water sitting stagnant, and the seeds have rotted. 

To prevent the earth from being overhydrated, keep an eye on how often it rains and adjust how much you water your green bean plants accordingly. 

If you’ve planted the seeds at the right depth (1 inch or 2.5 cm below the surface), you must wait until the soil surface is adequately dry one knuckle deep before watering again.

3. Under-Hydrated Soil

While it is important to ensure that the soil your green beans are planted in is not too wet, it is even more crucial that it is not too dry. Lack of water could not only cause your green beans to not come up, but it could also cause them to fall over.

If you notice that your green beans are not coming up, you will want to check the ground to see that it is not lacking moisture. If the seeds were attempting to grow in soil that was under-hydrated, they might have begun the germination process but have been unable to complete it due to the lack of water.

In general, green bean seeds need consistently moist soil to help them germinate. If the soil is fast-draining, you may need to water it daily or as soon as the top 1/2 inch (1.27 cm) is dry. Check the soil moisture every day for 5-10 days and water accordingly until the seeds germinate.

4. Cold Temperatures

Green beans are a vegetable that grows best during the warm seasons of the year, so if they are planted when the weather is cool, it makes sense that they might not germinate correctly. 

They also tend to have trouble growing when the soil is too cold, which typically happens when temperatures dip to winter levels early in the spring. If your green bean seeds are not coming up out of the ground, it could be because the cold has stunted their growth, and the seedlings have died.

When you are planting your next crop of green beans, you will want to wait until your area is no longer experiencing cold snaps and daytime temperatures are reaching at least 70 °F (21 °C) on a consistent basis. 

You can also start your seeds indoors where you can keep the soil temperatures at around 55 °F (13 °C).

5. Hot Temperatures

Green bean seeds will be less likely to germinate if you start a batch in the summer, especially if you live in a hotter climate. Green bean plants generally grow most successfully when air temperatures are between 70 and 85 °F (21 and 29 °F), so they won’t germinate at air temperatures above 90 °F (32 °C). 

Even if they germinate, when the environment reaches this level of heat, the seedlings will not be able to handle it and will begin to wilt and eventually die. If the temperatures in your area have the capacity to reach this height, you may want to plant them during early or mid-spring when the climate is milder. 

If you wonder why your beans are dying and how you to stop it, you can check out this article: 16 Reasons Why Your Beans Are Dying and How to Stop It

6. A Nutrient Imbalance

Green beans need plenty of nutrients in order to germinate properly, and when the amount of nutrients they are taking in is thrown off, it can affect how they grow. 

A nutrient imbalance can occur when there is too much nitrogen but low levels of phosphorus and potassium in the soil where the beans are growing. Because green beans are legumes, they have the ability to adjust their levels of nitrogen within the nodes in their root system.

If they are overloaded with nitrogen when they are first starting out, the seedlings will struggle to even out their nitrogen levels and could suffer.

To help prevent this from happening, avoid fertilizing your soil with nitrogen-rich fertilizers. Instead, use a 5-10-15 NPK fertilizer during planting or apply organic material like compost to keep the soil moist and supply a slow release of nutrients.

7. Low Soil Acidity

In regards to green bean plants getting the right amount of nutrients, soil pH can also play a significant role. 

Green beans grow best in soil with an acidity level of around 6.5. If the pH is lower than 6.0, the plants will not be able to take in enough potassium, which they need to help them mature well. If they do not have the energy they need to grow, they will not come up above the ground.

Choosing soil that has a suitable pH is going to be the easiest way to solve this issue. Applying fertilizers will be useless if your seeds cannot absorb them anyway due to soil pH issues.

8. Planting Too Deep

If your green beans are not coming up, it could be because they were planted too deep in the ground. If seeds are placed too far down in the soil, they can struggle to break through the earth and may fail to germinate. 

Ideally, you should bury the seeds only 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep into the soil and about 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) apart.

Planting your green bean seeds too deep in the ground can also be problematic if your area receives heavy rainstorms. Green beans grow best in well-draining clay or silt loam. However, these soil types are more prone to compaction or crusting.

After being hit by large amounts of water, soil can crust over and form a hard layer on the surface, making it difficult for seeds to break through. 

This phenomenon is another reason why it is a smart idea to add organic matter like compost to your garden before planting your seeds. It will help break up the soil and keep it from building a hard crust when your area gets a lot of rain.

9. Weeds Stealing Resources

The final reason your green beans are not coming up is that weeds are taking the resources they need to develop correctly.

Green beans are not highly competitive plants, so if there are weeds in your garden, they could potentially be taking nutrients and moisture from your seedlings, causing them to struggle to germinate. 

The easiest way to prevent this from being a problem is to keep your garden clean and free of weeds. Doing this will allow your green beans to have full access to the resources they need to grow strong. 

If your green beans are not coming up out of the ground the way they should be, it is likely due to one of these reasons. If you follow the steps provided, your next crop of green bean seedlings should germinate very well.

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.

Recent Posts