Saturday Spotlight – Majestic Butter Beans

I’ve decided to start a new series of posts, called Saturday (occasionally Sunday)  Spotlight  (mainly because everyone loves alliteration don’t they?).  Each post will highlight a specific variety of produce that I have grown and how it performed in my micro-climate (Melbourne’s Northern suburbs).  If anyone else is interested in writing similar posts I will add a linky thingy, if not then I won’t be offended (provided you read mine of course….he, he, he).

Anyway to kick things off I thought I’d describe one of the best performing veg in my summer garden – Majestic Butter Beans.

Majestic Butter Beans

Majestic Butter Beans are pretty well named, they are beans, buttery flavoured and occasionally they can be quite majestic.  They are a bush bean that produces pods which are a lovely pale yellow.  They are beany in flavour with a crisp,  stringless texture.  I find they eat well with butter and black pepper, as well as in all the dishes you would usually use green beans in.  I often boil them and then combine with lightly sauteed tomatoes, garlic and black pepper.

In my experience the beans grow well if planted (in Melbourne) from October onwards, anything earlier and they are sluggish and don’t fruit any earlier than later sown plantings.   For those outside of Melbourne our average temperature in October is about 20C/68F, average minimum is about 10C/50F.  My garden doesn’t get frost.

The beans do well in partial shade and by that I mean about 5- 6 hours sun and the rest of the time in the shade.


They also grow well in pots provided the pot is pretty big and you don’t try and cram too many plants in.  In terms of yield this year I have harvested about 1.5kg from four plants which I think is a pretty good return (and more than enough for my families needs).

Majestic Butter Beans do have their idiosyncrasies.  Although I generally get straight beans the ones at the top of the plants can be quite curly.  My parents who have also grown this variety have the same experience only more so.  They rarely get the lovely long straight ones I get.  Their garden is generally a little cooler, especially at night but the plants are in full sun.  My suspicion is that it is the sun factor that curls them as it seems to be the beans at the tops of the plant (ie in the sun) that suffer most.

Majestic Butter Beans

Do you have experience growing Majestic?  Or perhaps you prefer another yellow variety.  if so I would love to hear about it.

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22 Responses to Saturday Spotlight – Majestic Butter Beans

  1. When the title was butter beans I didn’t expect this – it conjured up the large dried beans. We grow a yellow French bean which is similar called Sungold. I think beans curl when the conditions vary i.e. there is a big fluctuation in temperature (such as between day and night time temperatures) or inconsistent watering (for instance a dry spell followed by a downpour).

    • Liz says:

      Ahhh that could well be it – my parents do get big differences between day and night temps. They mulch really heavily so the watering is less likely to be a factor although mine were watered everyday on a timed sprinkler while we were away which was their main growth period so perhaps this was the reason afterall.

  2. Mark Willis says:

    Like Sue, I visualise Butter Beans as those large, flat, white beans so favoured by the Spanish – I think they are also known as Lima Beans. I had never previously thought too much about why bean pods sometimes curl. In my case the curly ones are often associated with the last little pods that grow at the end of the season – so when the air temperatures are cooler. I think that yellow-podded beans are perhaps a bit less vigorous than the green ones – though maybe that is just a perception.

    • Liz says:

      Yeah we call those butter beans too – now I’m starting to wonder if ‘butter beans’ is just what my mother calls them, but no I think it is a common Australian term for yellow beans. Funnily enough the seeds of these are black. My yellow beans are more vigorous (or certainly more productive than the green varieties I grew this year).

      • Nina says:

        I agree, ‘butter beans’ means fresh yellow beans in Oz!! But they are also the large dried beans. Very confusing!

        The only bean I have been growing is ‘Kentucky Wonder’ (green, not yellow!) which have been very tasty. Unfortunately, I’ve not picked them frequently enough so now they will only be good for drying for seed. Sigh.

        • Liz says:

          I’m looking for a good green bean – Would you recommend it for next year?

          • Nina says:

            I would grow them again, so that’s the only recommendation I can make – I’m no bean connoisseur that’s for sure!

            I’ll send you some once they are properly dried.

          • Liz says:

            You are too nice to me. I once did a blind bean tasting and I have to admit I couldn’t tell many of the varieties apart.

  3. Michelle says:

    Oh, I like your idea for Saturday Spotlight, it’s is always informative to read about real garden experiences with varieties of veggies – as opposed to the glowing descriptions in catalogs.

    I have always loved the look of yellow beans, but all the ones I’ve tried are too soft for my taste, I like a “snappy” crisp bean. The last one I tried years ago was Meraviglia Venezia, a pole yellow romano bean that wasn’t bad. Maybe I should try a yellow bean again, get out of my comfort zone…

    I wonder if the curled beans are because of poor nutrient uptake, the beans highest on the plant are furthest from the roots so perhaps they aren’t getting something that is needed for proper formation. It might be something like blossom end rot in tomatoes where the ends of tomatoes don’t get enough calcium.

    • Liz says:

      It could be a nutrient thing – that would definitely make sense. The difficulty is working out which nutrient I guess. I hadn’t thought of the yellow ones as being less crisp than the green ones – hmmm I will have to consider that when I tuck into my bean dish tonight.

  4. Dave says:

    The Majestic is a new one to me! I’ve been growing Rocdor the last few years and it has done well for me. I usually call them wax beans, but actually they do resemble the color of butter. For me a butter bean is a big lima, which isn’t the color of butter at all!

    I like the idea of the Saturday Spotlight (I’m a fan of alliterative titles too). I might join in a bit later on when things get growing here, though I can always dig in the vault for photos and ideas. I’ve spotlighted specific varieties in the past (my ode to Juliet tomato comes to mind), and it seems to be of interest to folks.

  5. foodnstuff says:

    I’m rapt to find that other’s people’s butter beans curl too! I thought it was just me. They are always lovely and straight in the photos on the packets. I hadn’t noticed where my curly ones are on the plant, will have to have a look.

    I’ve grown Cherokee Wax but haven’t tried Majestic. Like you (also in Melb) I start planting in October and put in a crop on the 1st of every month through till about Feb (or March if it’s still warm). They invariably take 60 days to bear.

    I grow Purple King climbers very successfully too (never any curling) and have looked and looked for a seed supplier with climbing butter beans, to no avail.

    • alyse says:

      I have a climbing butter bean called Australian Butter(I suspect its a different variety as I got it from Diggers who sometimes change veggie names) and it has been very productive!

      • Liz says:

        You are nice – I reckon they just mislabel the seed packets…. I will look out for it as a climbing butter bean would be really useful.

    • Liz says:

      Did you notice Alyse’s comment below about Australian Butter? I’ve only ever had the yellow beans curl – maybe the same thing that makes them yellow also makes them curl???? You are organised to succession plan that well – I should have but didn’t and now I’m wishing I had.

  6. Louise says:

    Beautiful looking beans , especially because they are curly. I tried to grow Cherrokee Wax this season but they got tip nipped and then fried with the heat and failed totally. I was so looking forward to my yellow beans too! Thanks for posting on yours , I can at least enjoy yours visually.

    Your alliterative idea is very good and helpful idea. But as I have b***er all produce at the moment (except peaches and gleaned fruit) I am going to have to be an observer only at the moment at least. I am hoping I will eventually have mountains of cabbage, broccoli , cauli and leeks over winter ( and maybe parsnips?) so I might just have to wait to contribute – sigh!

    • Liz says:

      Oh you will, you will, you’ll be overwhelmed and Zucchini Tuesday will become cauliflower Tuesday as you engineer ways to get of your crop…

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