Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - October 30, 2006

From: Austin, TX
Region: Other
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Student project on non-native bush snap beans
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I am doing a science project for school that involves bush snap beans. For my research I am required to have at least one interview with a professional on plants. I was hoping that you would be able to answer a few questions for me. 1) If grown inside, around what temperature do plants (bush snap beans) grow the best? 2) How often should I water the bush snap beans? 3) What soil type (for bush snap beans) should I use? 4) If they start to grow mold, should I scrape it off or just leave it? 5) Do the plants need a breeze, like an open window or slow fan? 6) Is florescent light a suitable light source? (My project is actually, What is the effect of pre-germination variables on plant growth? so if you have any ideas on interesting pre germination variables or any tips that might help with my project that would be great, too.)

ANSWER:

First of all, the bush snap bean, Phaseolus vulgaris, is a domesticated version of a South American species. Our focus and expertise at the LBJ Wildflower Center is on plants native to North America, but we will answer your questions as best we can.

1. Optimum temperatures for growing the bush snap bean is approximately 65-80 degrees F.

2. Water when the soil just begins to look dry. How often this is will depend on the temperature and how much air is circulating.

3. Commercial potting soil will work fine as long as it includes sand, peat moss, vermiculite or some other substance to enhance drainage and keep the soil from compacting.

4. They shouldn't grow mold if you don't over water them and there is some ventilation.

5. It is desirable to have some movement of air whether from an open window (depending on the outdoor temperature) or a fan. Moving air will help prevent fungus from attacking your seedlings by eliminating standing water on plant surfaces. Ventilation will increase the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide available for the plant and will increase transpiration, thus moving more water and nutrients through the plant. However, you will probably want to adjust the movement of air so that it doesn't dry your plants too rapidly.

6. Fluorescent light, especially the ones known as cool-white tubes, will work for growing plants indoors. The University of Missouri Extension Service has a very good article about lighting for indoor plants.

As for variables, one thing that could be easily quantified is the amount and/or frequency of watering. For this you would need:
a. identical-sized pots,
b. for the soil you add to be weighed and identical for each pot,
c. each plant to receive the same amount of light and
d. all plants be kept at the same temperature.

In other words all conditions would need to be identical for the plants except the watering regimen. It should be simple to vary the amount and/or frequency of watering. Perhaps you could give the plants the same amount of water, but for one treatment give it all on one day and then wait 3 days to give it the same amount again. For another treatment, divide the same amount of water into 3 applications given over three days. There are an infinite number of combinations of watering periods and applications that you could consider.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Non-native Littleleaf Boxwood and native alternatives for Baltimore
January 06, 2005 - I am looking for a small hedge or shrub, that will look nice year round, and won't get too large. I live in Baltimore, MD. I have heard of Winter Gem Boxwood. Will this prove hardy in my area? H...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Chinese Pistache tree with dead branches in Georgetown TX
April 08, 2010 - Have mature Chinese Pistachio tree with many dead branches and few buds forming so far this spring - has been beautiful for many years. Do you know why this is happening and what can be done about it...
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of non-native Althea in Oklahoma
August 17, 2008 - I have 2 Althea bushes that will not bloom. For the past 2 years, they become covered in buds, which eventually yellow, but never open. The buds are fully developed. This year the branches have starte...
view the full question and answer

Will Mountain Laurels be harmed by juglones from my pecan tree?
May 06, 2009 - Hi. I just bought a house. It has a big pecan tree at the edge of the front lawn next to the street. I guess it's about 25 feet from the front of the house. I was thinking of planting mountain la...
view the full question and answer

Growing a non-native lemon tree in Central Illinois
August 03, 2009 - How to grow a lemon tree in Central Illinois? Which one would be the best to grow?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.