Phaseolus lunatus, commonly known as the lima bean, butter bean, sieva bean, Double Bean or Madagascar bean, is a legume grown for its edible seeds or beans. Lima beans have been cultivated in their namesake Lima, Peru, for over 600 years.
There are both bush and pole varieties of lima beans available. Like green beans, the bush types will begin setting pods sooner. Pole beans will need sturdy support. The vines can easily grow 10 feet or more and become heavy with pods. Plant 4 to 6 seeds on each side of a trellis or teepee. Bush types grow 2 to 3 feet tall and may need staking when they are covered in pods. Bush lima beans also tend to set their entire crop at once, so you will only be able to harvest from them for a couple of weeks. If you can succession plant a row every three to four weeks, you will be able to prolong the harvest season. Or, you can plant both bush and pole varieties; this way, you can start the season with the early maturing bush beans and continue harvesting throughout summer from the pole beans. All varieties are high in protein as well as several vitamins and minerals. They can be used fresh, frozen, or dried.