The lima bean plant produces beans that are delicious to eat. The beans are rich in protein which is good for the body. Many people are growing this plant because it is easy to grow and can be a source of food or even income. Growing this plant have stages. What is the life cycle of the lima bean plant?
What Is Plant Life Cycle?
When it comes to the plant, the life cycle is the series of growth of the plant. You will know how the plants grow from the beginning until the end. When you try to grow this plant and monitor from day by day, weekly or monthly, you will see those things. It is essential to know the growth stages of lima beans because it will guide people on watering, fertilization, etc.
The Life Cycle Of Lima Bean Plant
Stage 1. Seed
The lima bean plant begins from a seed. They are smooth in texture, small, green when young, and purple to indigo when mature, flat, and oblong. Many lima bean varieties have different shapes, sizes, and colors. You need to know the native varieties in your location and start growing.
The seeds of lima bean are growing inside the pods. The pods are just short, around one to three inches in length. Each pod can contain around one to five seeds. Commonly pods have four seeds, and it’s rare to see pods with one or five beans. Growing lima bean from seeds is the best way to grow this plant. You cannot grow this from cuttings, leaves, or roots, and the only way is through seeds. To grow lima beans, find a good location and plant the seeds around 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep. Water it after. You don’t need to apply fertilizer yet, but mix some organic compounds like compost on the soil.
Stage 2. Germination
After you plant the lima bean seeds, they will start to sprout. Usually, the seeds will germinate around three to seven days. It will produce roots faster when the soil is moist. The lima bean seeds have a high percentage of germination because it is soft and have no coverings, unlike seeds of fruits. You can grow more plants when you have more seeds.
As the germination continues, the first leaf of the plant will show off. The leaf will appear above the grounds. Usually, two leaves will appear. When there are animals in your area like chickens and ducks, you need to be careful. They might destroy your plants and will stop growing. If the main stem is broken or cut, there is no chance that it will continue to grow. You can put your animals in a cage or fence around the plants to protect them.
Stage 3. Seedling
After the germination period, it will grow and develop as a seedling. The small plant will grow stems, few leaves, and longer roots. The vine is short, around six to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm) long but will grow. Watering is essential for the seedlings to help them grow more leaves, long vine, and establish their roots. When it is very hot and dry, you need to water it twice a day with the right amount of water, but if there is abundant rain no need to water it.
The lima bean seedlings need more sunlight to make their food. This plant loves the direct sun to grow fast. You can see more leaves and longer vines in the upcoming weeks.
Stage 4. Mature Plant
In this phase, the plant becomes mature. The development continues, and it has more leaves, longer roots, and more crawling vines. During this period, sunlight is essential. It needs the sun for around 6 to 8 hours. It needs more food. Also, watering is necessary to help thrive well, and fertilizer is also excellent. You can use organic matters to improve the soil, like compost. Mulch will also help to maintain the moisture of the soil. When the lima bean plant becomes mature, it becomes ready to flower. There are a few days or weeks to wait, and the flowers will begin to show off.
Stage 5. Flowering
After two to three months, the blooming stage of the lima bean will come. It will produce blue with purple flowers. The flowers look like small butterflies on the leaves. It grows more on the vines. But not all flowers will develop. Some of them will not develop or become pods; they drop. It is normal when the flowers don’t turn into pods and fall because only a few will grow, but the plant might have problems if lots of flowers fall. Be careful not to overwater or over-fertilize your plant.
Stage 6. Fruiting
After a few months of waiting, the lima bean will produce pods. It takes around 75 to 90 days (3 months) for the plant to bear pods. The pods are flat, green, and have smooth skin. Its length grows around one to three inches (2.5 to 7.6 cm). During this fruiting stage, the flowers turn into pods—those beautiful flowers change and form.
When you water it well since young and fed with nutrients well, it may bear many pods. Organic compost will help well. Also, when the plant receives enough sunlight will make the plant thrive well. Maintaining the growth of lima bean and staying healthy will be a great factor in having an abundant harvest in the days to come. Flowering is special in the life cycle of the lima bean plant.
Stage 7. Harvesting
Suppose the pods are already mature; it’s time to harvest. How to know when to pick lima bean pods? When the pods are young, they are flat, and if you try to touch them, you cannot see any bulk on them. But as time goes by, it forms bulk on pods, which means that the beans inside are developing. If the pods are almost dark green and the seeds inside are more significant enough, you can start harvesting them. Usually, the pods will grow around 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. You can also try to pick some pods and open them. If you see that it is bigger enough and white, you can get it. When seeds mature well and become color blue, they can now be consumed. Don’t let the seeds inside turn dark-blue because it’s a little hard to eat.
Older pods will have brown skin, and the seeds inside become indigo in color. These seeds are hard to chew, and instead of consuming, eat, save those seeds for the next growing season.
Stage 8. Goes Back to Seed
After the harvesting and the plants stop growing, the life cycle goes back to the seed. It becomes seeds again and will repeat those cycles. It is perfect to know the lima bean life cycle. It gives some insight on what to expect and how long until harvesting. Growing lima bean is an exciting and stress reliever.
Those are some information about the life cycle of a lima bean plant. When you are a plant grower, knowing the growth stages will help. You will know what is going on and what to do on those stages. The growth stages of lima beans are an essential guide to beginners. The gardeners will have some guide by knowing the lima bean plant life cycle.