Lima Beans

Quick Reference

Harvest Type: Single harvest

Transplant/Direct Sow: Direct sow

When to Plant: Direct when soil temperatures are 60-70°F.

Days to Germinate: 6-18 days

Days to Maturity: 70-80 days

Planting Depth: 1-1 ½” deep

Germination Temp: 60-70°F

Seed Spacing:  2-4” apart

Rows: 24” apart

Light: Full sun

Soil pH: 6.0-6.8 pH

Water: 1” of water per week.  In hot climates, increase up to 2” per week.

Soil Temperature: 60-70°F

Fertilizer: Not required 

Rotation:  Not required


Harvest Type

Lima beans are a determinate plant, meaning they produce all of their beans at the same time.

TIP: Be sure to trellis vining lima beans and stack bush limas.

Transplant / Direct Sow

Direct sow lima beans as their taproots are delicate.

When to Plant:

Sow seeds directly outdoors when the soil temperature is 60-70°F. Do so 1-2 weeks after the average last frost date for your area.

Days to germinate

It takes lima bean seeds 6-18 days to germinate.

Days to maturity

It takes about 70-80 days for lima beans to produce their crop.

Planting Depth

Plant seeds at 1-1 1/2" deep

Germination Temperature Range

Lima bean seeds germinate the best when the soil is 60-70°F.

Spacing Between Plants

Space lima beans seed 2-4" apart and keep row space from 12-24" apart.

Companion Plants

Cucumbers, onions, beets, Brussels sprouts, pole beans, bush beans, peas, and squash all make excellent companion plants for lima beans.

Growing conditions

Lima beans are easy to grow. They require good soil to start and 1" of water per week.  Prep the area with aged compost and stake plants when they begin to climb. Bush varieties benefit from staking when they are young to protect them from wind damage.


Rotating lima beans is not necessary. These are nitrogen-fixing plants. There is a benefit to plant lima beans where other heavy feeder plants have been.

Anticipated yields

Plan your garden yield at 4-8 lima bean plants per person. Plan on 4-6 pounds of beans per 10-foot row space. Plant more beans if you plant to dry them or can them.  

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