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Tepary Bean

Pkt. of 50 seeds, TEBE_S_Wild $3.20
Pkt. of 20 seeds, TEPE_S_Lofthouse $3.20

This southwestern annual bean species is a vigorous vine growing 15-20 ft. in a single year. The massive flowering attracts a lot of pollinators. Its deep tap root as well as its nitrogen fixing capabilities is amazing. It can grow in the most hostile of environments and still produce a crop. These are rarely cultivated today, however improved selections of them have been grown for a while including natural hybrids.

In Michigan, this species ripens late because we do not have the heat units that New Mexico has. Over the years we have intentionally selected only the early ripening seedlings and began cultivating them. As time went on, we kept the most vigorous plants along with early ripening as the main characteristics to select for. The size of the beans are very small but it could be a secondary crop to some extent providing both nitrogen and a dried bean crop.  This is a cool looking bean and would be a good bean to cover fences and trellis. 

We offer two selections:  

  1. Wild Selections  Grown from early ripening and vigorous vine selections with small beans. This is a mix of the most wild types with strong growth. 
  2.  Lofthouse Selections  Grown from vine hybrid selections that produce a much larger bean making it more practical to grow for dried beans.  The vines reach 10-12 ft. and are not quite as vigorous as the wild ones but much more practical to grow for its edible beans. 

To germinate the seed:  Plant after frost 1/8 inch deep. Seeds will sprout slowly as they have a rather tough seed coat. It might be wise to soak the seeds overnight first or at least long enough to see the seeds swollen to twice their size before planting. This will speed germination. The wild selections may benefit from a light sanding to break the seed coat a bit which allows water to penetrate faster. 

Plant Specs
Genus & Species Phaseolus acutifolius
Seed Source Michigan
Height (ft) 10-20 ft.
Width (ft) One plant can spread with branching 10 ft. wide easily.
Soil Likes dry hot conditions with rocky soil but tolerant to other soils.
Ease of Cultivation Ripening in 70-90 days this vine is perfect for covering fences as well as producing a secondary bean crop that can be harvested and dried for later use. The rich flavor and nutrition is a good reason to grow it.

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