I planted some lima beans this spring, but the plants produced only a few pods. Why?
In the midwest, yield is largely determined by weather conditions. Lima beans grow best when temperatures are between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. They also require 1 inch of water per week (either from rain or irrigation) during blossoming and pod development. Hot, dry conditions during blossoming may cause many of the flowers to drop off without setting pods. Excessive nitrogen fertilization promotes lush growth, but may also inhibit pod formation.
While both bush and pole lima beans are available, bush-type varieties usually perform better than pole varieties in Iowa. Suggested bush-type varieties for Iowa include ‘Fordhook 242’ (large greenish white seeds, heat tolerant) and ‘Henderson Bush’ (small white seeds, early maturing).