Helping Garden Beans With Yellow Leaves – What Causes Yellow Leaves On Beans


By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Bean plants are harbingers of the summer season. They provide one of the first vegetable harvests and can provide pods well into summer. If your bush or pole beans have yellow leaves, the problem is most likely in your soil. If you are wondering, “Why are leaves on my beans turning yellow?” try a resistant seed strain or practice crop rotation and careful cultivation.

Why are Leaves on My Beans Turning Yellow?

There is a wide variety of beans for the home gardener. Any type of bean can get yellow leaves, including any of the following:

  • Bush beans produce the long classic green beans good for canning, freezing or eating fresh.
  • Pole beans grow in a vined habit and produce dangling green pods.
  • Snap peas are smaller and have been engineered without the “strings” to make them less fibrous.

So why do you have garden beans with yellow leaves? Answering this question must begin with an examination of your planting location. The soil must be well drained, in full sun and tilled with plenty of compost. Alkali soil can cause iron chlorosis. If you pour vinegar on the soil, it will bubble, giving you an indication of its alkalinity. However, adding chelated iron or soil acidifier helps if the plants develop yellow leaves from alkali soil.

Beans have shallow roots, so exercise care when hoeing to prevent injuring the roots. Remove any old plant debris from the area as these may host disease organisms. To ensure that soils are not transferring diseases to the beans, practice crop rotation annually.

If you still have yellow leaves on beans, the cause is likely disease. Yellow leaves on bean plants in the garden may have several causes, though the most common are usually due to mosaic virus or blight.

Yellow Leaves on Beans and Bacteria

When a bacterium is to blame for yellow leaves on beans, the first sign of a problem is water spotting or dry, brown leaf edges. This progresses to encompass the entire leaf and causes the foliage to die and drop off. Foliar loss diminishes the plant’s ability to gather solar energy and minimizes the health of the beans.

Yellow leaves on bean plants might be from blight. Halo blight is a disease that causes round yellow spots, which slowly blend to turn the entire leaf yellow. The bacteria that cause this disease live in soil or are introduced in infected seed. Choose a seed that is resistant to the blight and rotate your bean crop.

Virus and Yellow Leaves on Beans

Garden beans with yellow leaves can also be the result of a viral infection. Mosaic virus may affect many different types of vegetables, and there are several bean mosaic viruses, which appear in different regions of the country.

The initial symptoms are multi-colored spots on the leaves, which give way to an entirely yellow to brown leaf. If bush or pole beans have yellow leaves, the problem might be a virus. Unfortunately, there is no cure.

Virus problems may be develop from low nutrient levels or even herbicide injury but they are most likely from infected bean seeds. Do not save seeds from year to year, as they may harbor the virus. Some viruses are also transmitted from sucking insects, such as aphids. Practice good pest control and use a mosaic resistant bean seed to reduce the chance of yellow leaves on beans.

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Yellow leaves on the bottom of bush bean plants

I'm growing four kinds of bush beans in pots. The pic below shows some of them in shade, but that only happens at the end of the day. I could move them if you think that's a problem.

Two varieties of beans are showing yellow leaves at the bottom. These are the pots with the largest plants, the ones with tendrils and blossoms.

It has been blazingly hot here this week, and I've been trying to assess their water needs. I'm thinking maybe in my efforts to not over-water, it's possible I haven't given them enough. Would under-watering explain the yellow leaves?


Bean Plant Leaves Turning Yellow/Brown

Problem: The leaves of your bean plant are turning yellow/brown.

Fungal Infection

There are a number of reasons why the leaves of a bean plant will turn brown. One of the most common reasons is a fungus infection. Beans are prone to a fungal disease known as Anthracnose. This disease is responsible for leaving brown marks known as rust on the leaves and other parts of the bean plant.

To fix this problem, apply fungicide when the rust begins to appear. You should also regularly rotate your crops.

Insects & Worms

Another common reason why the leaves of a bean plant turn brown is if they are being attacked by either spider mites or nematodes. Spider mites will consume the juice from the leaves till they turn yellow and then brown. Nematodes, on the other hand, infect the black from the bottom, first attacking the root.

To fix the problem with spider mites, you should consider keeping ladybugs around your plant. They will eat the spider mites. For the nematodes, you can try solarization, or else you will have to leave the mud fallow for some time.

Bacterial Infection

Another recurring culprit behind the yellowing/browning of leaves in bean plants is bacteria. You will first notice water spotting or drying of the leaf edges. This will eventually spread inside until it has consumed the entire leaf. Halo blight is the most common bacterial infection in beans. You will notice yellow spots that gradually grow and consume the whole leaf.

To fix this problem, you will have to consider changing the soil. Most bacteria that affect bean plants live in the soil. You can also get blight-resistant seeds.

Viral Infection

Mosaic virus infection is one of the most common infections in beans. This virus affects various types of vegetables, and the symptoms include multi-coloring of the leaves that eventually lead to their yellowing or browning.

Unfortunately, there is no concrete fix for a mosaic viral infection. So the best you can do is replace the soil, leave it fallow for some time and then take the proper preventive measures.

Often, this virus gets transmitted from insects and parasites. So make sure you’re using pesticides to take care of them. You can also find mosaic virus-resistant bean seeds in the market. Using them instead of regular seeds could also help. You can also try using reflective aluminum mulches.

Lack of Balance of Nutrients

Another factor you might have overlooked is the lack of proper balance of nutrients for your plant. Like most plants, beans derive certain minerals like nitrogen, phosphorus, manganese, potassium, and magnesium from the soil. If the soil has too much or too little of any of these, it could lead to problems like browning of the plant.

To fix this problem, get the soil tested and make sure it has the right amount of minerals. Manganese is a common culprit. Consider getting the soil replaced.


The FAQs About Blue Lake Pole Beans

Q: Why are my pole Beans dying?

A: The reason may not be only one in number. Pole beans are known as warm-weather vegetable plants. If the soil temperature is not maintained it can die. Alkaline water can damage your plants, be careful while watering. Spider mites can eat up your beans, check out.

Q: Why are the leaves on my green beans turning yellow?

A: Certain insects like aphids transmit viruses and cause viral diseases to the bean plants. This viral disease, bean mosaic virus, bacterial blight, improper temperature maintenance can cause yellow leaves on your plants. You have to test the soil first for the presence of any insect.

Q: Why are my pole beans not producing?

A: During composting, if the amount of nitrogen is more than required it can cause delay in growth of bean plants. Cool weather is another reason for the growth delay. Pole beans grow faster in warm weather. You need to maintain the temperature between 50° to 70° for normal production of pole beans. Moreover, you must pay attention to watering the plants properly.

Q: What is wrong with my green bean plants?

A: There are various problems you can face during cultivation of green bean plants. I have described some growing green bean problems in the above article which will help you to recognize your exact problem. Well, green beans can have deformed growth problems, yellow leaves problems, skeletonized leaves problems, presence of holes in the leaves, bacterial, viral or fungal disease problems.

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Pinto Beans Plant - Leaves turning yellow , wilting at bottoms , translucent holes

Recently I've noticed translucent spots in my leaves . This plant is roughly 1-2 months old . It is a pinto bean plant , it was grown from seed . It started growing inside a paper towel , and was unfortunately exposed to some mold . However it was quickly removed , and planted into a small jar to begin growing . And it was doing fine after it had been removed . It hasn't been exposed to outside , and has been an indoor plant it's entire life .

I just transferred it out of the small starting container today , into a larger glass container , as I had noticed the roots had grown far too deep for the container . I have a feeling this was a part of the problem . But unfortunately I'm not well versed in pinto bean plants . The leaves have begun to yellow , and speckle , and curl at the bottoms as well as darken from the bottom up .

I have transfered it into a bigger container , and it is now in sun , as opposed to the less well lit spot it had been previously .

Is there anything else I can do to help Mr. Beanie ?


Green bean plants - bottom leaves turning yellow

I have bush lake green bean plants in my yard. They have blooms and tiny beans on them. I have fertilized twice with fish emulsion. Rain has been "iffy", so we have watered with garden hose. The bottom leaves on the plants have turned yellow and are falling off. What is causing this? A deficiency?

Yellowing leaves can be caused by over watering or from a lack of sunlight. You mentioned that rain was iffy so if you are watering them frequently, it could be too much.

Also, if the bottom leaves are somehow being shaded some by the rest of the plant (or something else?) it could cause the bottom leaves to yellow. Using fish emulsion is probably the only fertilizer you should use on them, so that should be fine.

If it is just the bottom leaves and doesn't appear to be spreading up the vine, I wouldn't worry about it too much - just keep a close eye on it. Once they yellow you can probably just snip them off.

I hope this helps and please let us know how they are progressing!

If the rest of the plant looks fine and you have blossoms/beans, I wouldn't worry. I have had beans do that quite often first thing in the spring with the older leaves. I personally think it has to do with temperature since as soon as it warms up the new growth is happy healthy green.

Thanks for your replies. I don't think it's the temp, since it's been HOT here since late March. And I don't think we've overwatered. The yellowing has not spread up the vine. I'm thinking I may have planted too close together, so the suggestion that the bottom of the plants is not getting enough sunlight may be the answer.


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