How to Grow Mung Beans: Mung Bean Growth 101

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how to grow mung beans

There are many benefits to growing mung beans. Mung beans are a delicious and highly versatile source of protein, phosphorus, calcium, and many vitamins. As sprouts or mature beans, they are an excellent way to add nutritional value to almost any dish. As a bonus to gardeners, mung beans are a nitrogen fixer. This means they take nitrogen from the atmosphere and add it to the soil making your property more fertile.

If you are unsure how to get started growing mung beans, rest easy. In this article, we will look at:

  • How to grow mung beans.
  • Where mung beans grow best.
  • Can Mung Beans Grow in Water?
  • Can Mung Beans Grow in the Dark?
  • Will Mung Beans Grow in Sand?
  • Why Do Mung Beans Grow Fast?
  • How do Mung Beans Reproduce?

Let’s get started.

How to Grow Mung Beans

mung bean pods

Mung beans are a warm-weather crop. It is best to wait until there is no danger of frost before you plant them in temperate climates. They should not be planted in colder areas until the ground has warmed into the mid-60s Fahrenheit.  In more tropical regions, you should wait till the rainy season has passed. Regardless of the environment, you can expect mature bean pods 90 to 120 days after planting. 

Here is how to grow mung beans in a garden:

Step 1 Prepare the Soil

Mung beans are water sensitive. They like loose sandy loam soils that drain well and have a pH between 6.2 and 7.2. Turn the top few inches of the ground and work in a few inches of compost.

Step 2 Lay Out Rows

mung bean rows

Mung beans grow much like other bush beans. Rows should be laid out 30 to 36 inches apart to allow ease of weeding and harvesting.

Step 3 Soak the Seeds

mung beans soak seeds

For best results, mung bean seeds should be soaked in water for 4-6 hours before planting.

Step 4 Plant Mungo Seeds

Seeds (dried beans) should be planted an inch to 2 inches deep and can be spaced as close as 2 inches apart.

Step 5 Fertilizing

mung bean fertilizer

As a nitrogen fixer, mungo beans are self-fertilizing once established. However, if your soil is extremely poor, you can use a low nitrogen fertilizer like a 5-10-10 mix. Be careful not to over-fertilize. A rate of 2 pounds per 100 sq ft is more than ample to get mung beans started. 

Step 6 Watch the Magic

mung bean pods forming

Mung beans grow relatively quickly. You should see sprouts within a few days of planting. When the plants are 15-18 inches tall, pods should begin to form. Mung bean pods will darken as they mature, and the plants may reach a height of 3 feet.

Step 7 Harvesting

When at least 60% of the pods on your mung bean bushes are mature, they are ready to be harvested. Rather than being picked, mung beans are gathered by pulling the entire plant from the ground. 

Step 8 Drying the Beans 

The entire mung bean plant should be hung upside down in a shed or garage and allowed to dry. It is good to spread newspaper or bedsheets under the plants to catch any pods that fall. The pods will be 3-4 inches long, contain 10-15 beans, and you can expect 30-40 pods per plant.

Where Do Mung Beans Grow Best?

Mung beans prefer a warm, dry climate with plenty of sunlight. These legumes grow best in slightly acidic soil (pH 6.2-7.2) with a sandy loam nature to allow proper internal drainage. They prefer a soil temperature in the 80-85 degree range but will grow anywhere the soil temp is above 65 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Can Mung Beans Grow in Water?


mung beans growing in water

Mung beans have been grown successfully in hydroponic gardens. However, they are not considered ideal candidates for growing in water. Mung beans have a long root structure for their height and require considerable support if not in soil.

Can Mung Beans Grow in the Dark?

mung beans growing in twilight

Can mung beans be grown in the dark is a trick question. Like most plants, mung beans require sunlight to perform photosynthesis and create the sugars that enable them to thrive. The tricky part of the question is that they need to be in darkness to sprout. That is why the seeds must be planted a minimum of an inch deep. Mung beans will not germinate if light reaches them.

Darkness can also trigger growth spurts in mung beans. It is a survival mechanism that helps them compete for sunlight. The effect is very short-term and not sustainable. If left in total darkness for extended periods, the plant will weaken and die. 

Mung beans can, however, grow in twilight-type conditions. The strongest, healthiest mung bean plants experience regular cycles of light and darkness.  

Will Mung Beans Grow in Sand?

Mung beans prefer sandy or loamy soil. However, they will not grow in pure sand like you would find at the beach or on a playground. Silica, dolomite, and other common types of sand lack sufficient nutrients to grow mung beans on their own. 

If you supplied nutrition artificially, sand could be used as a growing medium to support the plant.  

Why Do Mung Beans Grow Fast?

mung beans grow fast

The speed that mung beans grow is a by-product of their genetic makeup. Mung beans originated in India. When the monsoon rains pass each year, plants of every type burst into life, creating a very competitive environment. 

Mung beans evolved as fast growers through the process of natural selection. Slower-growing plants were overshadowed and perished. Only the fastest-growing samples survived to reproduce. 

How Do Mung Beans Reproduce?

mung beans flower

The reproductive cycle of the mung bean is very straightforward. 

  • When a mung bean plant reaches maturity, small yellow flowers will appear at the top of the plant. These flowers typically grow in clusters of 12 to 15. They are self-pollinating. Self-pollinating means that no assistance from wind or insects is needed. 
  • Pollen forms as grains on the head of the anther (male organ) and then falls onto the stigma (female organ). This triggers the release of sperm that travels down the stigma to the flower’s ovary.
  • The flower then falls away, and the fertilized ovary forms the beginning of the seed pod. 
  • The seed pod will grow to be 4-5 inches long and contain 10-15 seeds.
  • Mung bean seeds will germinate and form baby plants.
  • These mung bean plants will grow to maturity, flower and the cycle continues.