How To Grow A Beanstalk

Bean animation


Growing your own beanstalk in a jar is fun and easy. You'll be able to see exactly how it produces roots, shoot and leaves right from the beginning. It might not grow big enough to climb, and you probably won’t find a giant at the top, but it will grow its own beans if re-planted in the garden when sturdy enough.

What You’ll Need

Get together these things' you probably have them around the house already:

  • A large glass jam or clear coffee jar
  • Some blotting paper or paper towels
  • A small amount of soil or compost
  • A small amount of water
  • And, of course, a bean! Butter beans are a good choice as they're big and easy to see, but you could also use broad beans, kidney beans, mung beans or almost any other type of bean.

Getting Started

Soak your bean in water overnight.

Wash out the jar and make sure it's clean. There is no need to dry it.

Curl the blotting paper or paper towel up into a loose tube, and put the tube into the jar, allowing the paper to unfurl and fit neatly around the glass. Pour in the compost.

Take your bean and slide it into the jar between the glass and the paper so you can see it. It should be about three quarters of the way down the jar and, if the paper is strong enough, the bean will just sit where you put it.

Now, pour just a few spoons of water into the soil, making sure not to use so much that the compost becomes soggy. Put the jar on a well-lit, but not too sunny-hot, windowsill. Check the jar every day. Make sure the soil doesn't dry out, but don't put too much water in or it might go mouldy. The soil should always be just damp.

And Now

Just wait!

In three or four days, you should see a sturdy little root appearing from the middle of the bean and heading to the bottom of the jar. Not long after that, a tiny green shoot will sprout and start climbing towards the top of the jar.

How do they know which way to go? Gravity tells the roots to go downwards and the light tells the shoot to go upwards towards the sun. Clever huh?

Over the next few days, more thin roots will grow from the sides of the first one and they will get longer and longer. The green shoot will also get bigger and will start to put out tiny leaves.

After about two weeks, your bean should have a good set of roots, a sturdy stem and several leaves.

Now is the time to carefully re-pot your bean seedling into some garden compost and let it grow big enough to plant in the garden.