Lima beans need a long, hot summer for best production, and do best in the Southern states. If you want to grow them in a more northerly location, you will need to use a fast maturing variety.

Water Needs

Moderate

Lima beans need a steady supply of water and may not set pods if the soil is too dry.

Fertilizer Needs

Moderate

Beans don't need a lot of nitrogen in the soil because they fix their own. In fact, if there is a lot in the soil they won't go to the trouble of fixing it. They do need plenty of potassium and phosphorus though.

They are sometimes planted after a crop that was heavily amended with aged manure, or after a winter cover crop. http://www.smartgardener.com/admin/categories/106-beans-lima/edit.

They dislike acid soil, so add lime if necessary. Avoid using green manures or nitrogen-rich fertilizers.

Weeding, regularly

regularly, every 2 weeks

The young plants can’t compete very well, so it’s important to keep down weeds initially (a mulch helps a lot). The earlier you weed, the easier it will be. Weeds are quite shallow rooted so it's best to pull weeds by hand, rather than using a hoe. Once the plants get going they can outcompete any weeds.

Weed regularly to keep on top of the task—ideally every 10 to 14 days. Get into the habit of weeding for a few minutes whenever you are in the garden. Remove the biggest weeds first, as these are closest to setting seed.

Watering, regularly

Water, 0.5 inch(es), regularly, 2 times a week

The most critical need for water is when they are flowering and sizing up their pods. A lack of water in hot weather can reduce the number of pods, so make sure they are well watered at this time.

Keep the soil evenly moist, but don’t over-water. Try and avoid wetting the leaves when watering, as mildew and fungus diseases can be spread in this way. Using drip or a soaker hose is the best way to do this.

Watering also depends on your local weather; don't water if it's raining, or water more frequently if it's dry. Just be sure to keep soil moist for the best crop. The best way to know how much moisture is in your soil is to feel 2" below the soil line. If it's dry, water.

Side Dressing, when 4in tall

Mulch, 2 inch(es), when 4in tall, 1 time

OPTIONAL: Mulch is commonly placed between the widely spaced rows of pole beans. It conserves moisture and keeps down weeds (which is important when the plants are small). Don’t apply it until the soil is warm though, otherwise it may insulate the soil and keep it cool. Bush beans are not typically mulched.

Side Dressing, before flowering

Compost tea, 2 gallon(s) per 100 sq. ft., before flowering, 1 month

If your soil isn't very fertile, the plants may benefit from a feed of compost tea or liquid kelp every 3 to 4 weeks, particularly when they start to flower.

Support

No