Mung Bean Plant: Fashionable Asian beans

Mung beans may not look familiar to you, but you've probably eaten them before if you've ever had bean sprouts. The bean sprouts that you find in salad bars and stir-fries usually come from the mung bean plant in the United States.

Mung bean sprouts are one of the most common ways to eat them, but they can be used in other ways. They are most popular in Asia and can be eaten savory or sweet, as sprouts or beans, and even as a paste.

While Americans in the United States may only know them as sprouts, you can grow mung beans yourself and learn all of the delicious ways you can use each part of the plant. They grow much like many other beans, like green beans, so they're not difficult to care for. Let's take a look at how to care for these plants so you can branch out and try something new.

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Brief instructions for care

The mung bean plant produces beautiful legumes. Source: Dinesh Valke

Common name (s) Mung beans, green gram, golden gram, moong, monggo, munggo, maash
Scientific name Vigna radiata
Days to harvest 100 days
Bright Full sun
water 2-3 inches per week
floor Well-drained sandy loam
fertilizer Optional, low nitrogen (5-10-10)
Pests Aphids, bean beetles, bean beetles, mealybugs
Diseases Anthracnose, bean rot, bean mosaic, bean rust

Everything about mung beans

Mung beansMung beans are popular for sprouting and other uses. Source: Unconventional Emma

Vigna radiata or the mung bean has many names around the world. It may be listed as a green gram or a golden gram in international publications. In Asian countries, you will likely see names like Moong, Monggo, Munggo, or Maash.

The mung bean plant originally comes from India and has been used there since ancient times, but is now popular in many Asian countries. Asia is responsible for growing most of the mung beans, but they are also grown in Africa and South America. They are also grown in the United States, with Oklahoma being the most growing state.

Mung bean plants are a member of the legume family and typically grow to be 76 centimeters tall, although some varieties can grow a little taller. They form pale yellow flowers at the top of the vine in clusters of up to fifteen. The flowers develop into yellowish-brown or black bean pods that are blurred when ripe. The seeds can be of a variety of colors, including yellow, green, brown, or black. Like other legumes, mung beans produce their own nitrogen.

You can grow mung beans in a similar way to other broad bean plants. The biggest difference is that the beans stay on the plant longer than many other types of beans. Growing mung beans takes patience, but the end product is worth it!

Not only can you eat the beans, but the leaves and tubers are also edible. In fact, the whole plant can be consumed, although parts of it (like the pods themselves) are not as tasty as the beans. The leaves can be too fibrous to enjoy fresh, so they are usually cooked or used as an animal protein source for cattle feed. The tubers are generally only eaten during times of desperation, but their creamy white interior makes them pleasant to cook and eat.

Plant mung beans

When to plant

Mung beans take about three months to grow from seed to maturity, so planting towards the end of spring is ideal. Often times, when it has reached and stays above 18.3 ° C (65 ° F), May is an appropriate time to sow. This is a warm season harvest, and the larger seeds will have difficulty germinating if it's too cold.

If you want a continuous harvest after maturity, plant seeds every two weeks.

Where to plant

Growing mung beans is pretty easy as the mung bean seeds can be planted almost anywhere. They are suitable for planting in the ground, in raised beds, and in containers, as long as they receive at least six hours of sunlight.

Mung bean seeds should not be planted in rocky or weed areas. The soil should be smooth and light for the roots. The soil needs a pH of 6.2-7.2. Avoid planting mung beans in areas where it is not easy to change the soil as needed.

How to Plant

Planting mung beans is easy and starts with adding 1-2 inches of compost into the soil. Since mung beans are nitrogen fixing, they don't need a lot of nitrogen fertilizer. A few inches of composted organic matter that is nutrient-rich should be enough to feed the entire plant for its entire life.

To start growing mung beans, plant the seeds an inch deep in the ground and two inches apart. The rows should be 30-36 inches apart. Put a bean inoculant in the hole or apply it directly to the seeds. Inoculants are optional, but they help the beans produce nitrogen more efficiently.

Mung beans are preferred to be sown directly rather than transplanted, but it is still possible to grow from grafts. Carefully place the grafts in holes large enough to fit into the root ball. The grafts should be at least 15 cm apart.


Mung Bean FlowerMung bean flowers are different from other bean flowers. Source: Dinesh Valke

Let's take a look at how to care for your growing mung beans so you can have a bountiful harvest in three months.

Sun and temperature

Like most other beans, mung beans require full sun, which means at least six hours of direct light each day. As mentioned earlier, your growing mung beans are a warm season crop and they will perform best in the right weather conditions.

The ideal USDA hardiness zones for mung beans are 10-12, but you can grow them in cooler regions as long as they stay in the ideal temperature range of 21-36 ° C during the growing season. Mung beans can tolerate temperatures as high as 104 ° F (40 ° C) and up to 46 ° F (8 ° C). They are not frost tolerant, so anything underneath will cause damage or kill them.

Water and moisture

You need water to grow mung beans, but luckily they have a moderate drought tolerance to help you through these dry spells. A young mung bean needs more water than a full-grown plant.

When watering your established and growing mung beans, water at the base of the plant to avoid moisture on the leaves. Wet leaves can attract fungal diseases. Soaker hoses are an excellent choice here.

Vigna radiata should be given 2-3 inches of water per week, which will affect a couple of times a week. In cool weather or in the rainy season, you don't have to water as often. Make sure the soil stays moist, but definitely avoid wet soil.


Mung beans prefer sandy loam and loamy soil conditions that are high in organic matter such as composted plant waste or fertilizer. It shouldn't have large stones or weeds. The soil should be well drained so that no water can puddle.

The ideal pH range for mung beans is between 6.2 and 7.2.


When it comes to fertilizing, you shouldn't have to do this unless you've added good compost to the soil. However, if your growing mung beans could use a boost, use something that is low in nitrogen. A 5-10-10 fertilizer will work just fine.

Nitrogen helps the leaves grow, so add just a little at the beginning for a small boost. Too much will cause the plant to focus on leaf production rather than the mung beans, so we recommend using as little nitrogen as possible once the vines are established.


Pruning mung beans is unnecessary. You can prune the plants to remove dead or damaged leaves, but otherwise the plants don't need to.


Mung beans are only propagated by seeds. Soak the seeds in warm water for up to twelve hours. Then plant the seeds and you will soon have bean sprouts.

Harvest and storage

Mung capsulesHairy pods form on the mung bean plant. Source: Dinesh Valke

Legumes are perhaps one of the most valued types of plants as they have a long shelf life and make the perfect hot meal on a cold day. If you don't want to eat all of your mung beans by the end of summer, you can store them for up to a few years. No rush!


You know your mung beans are ready to harvest when the pods are about four inches long. They should be yellowish-brown or black in color and the pods will be fuzzy. If the pods are still green, they are not done yet.

Not every mung bean will be ready at the same time, but you can harvest when about 60% of it is fully ripe. To harvest, pull up the entire vine and hang it upside down in a cool, dry place. A garage or shed is the perfect place.

Put newspapers or cloth under the vine to catch the mung beans if they fall. Since some of the pods are still ripe, this should take a few weeks to complete.


To store fresh mung beans without drying them, put them in an airtight container and keep them for 2-3 days. Store a clean paper towel in the container to absorb moisture. Excess moisture will cause the beans to spoil quickly.

To store as a dry bean, take the beans out of the pods and place them on paper towels or newspapers to dry completely once all of the pods have dried after hanging them upside down (as previously described).

When they are completely dry, store them in a plastic bag or an airtight container such as a tight-fitting glass container. They should last for a few years so that you can save on food for the winter or as an emergency supply.

You can store dry beans in the freezer for an even longer shelf life. This prevents insect infestation from occurring.


Sprout mung beansMung bean sprouts are a common food. Source: wabisabi2015

While mung beans are easy to grow, that doesn't mean they are free from problems. There are few pests and diseases to watch out for, and prevention is the best way to get rid of them.

Growing problems

One problem you may have with mung beans is too much nitrogen. Beans of any kind can not adjust Flowers when given too much nitrogen at a young age. Another sign is when Grapevines have too many leaves for their stems. The leaves become too heavy and cause the stems to break off. If your beans seem to have too much nitrogen, add a few inches of compost to round out the nutrients they are receiving.


Aphids and Mealybug are two pests that suck the sap from plants that can perch on your mung beans. When eating, the leaves are distorted and can shrink. Covering your vines with row covers is a good preventative measure for most plants. Ladybugs eat aphids or use neem oil, insecticidal soap, or pyrethrin to kill both aphids and mealybugs.

A few more pests are there Bean beetle and Bean beetleeating both leaves. You can use pyrethrin to get rid of the insect infestation, but you will need to spray the growing mung beans regularly to keep track of each life cycle. Preventive measures you can take include crop rotation, removing dead material and other debris at the end of the season, and avoiding overwatering.


Bean grate is a fungal disease that can infect any type of bean. It causes reddish-brown spots with yellow halos, deformed bean pods, and withered foliage. Wet conditions, including damp weather, can cause this to spread.

Another fungal disease is anthracnosewhich is common in cool, wet spring weather. Remove any infected parts of the plant and treat them with neem oil or copper fungicide.

the Bean mosaic virus are spread by aphids. Everyone has different symptoms, such as yellowish leaves, black spots, or stunted growth. These viruses cannot be cured and you will need to remove and dispose of your beans. Avoid composting these to prevent the virus from spreading further.

Bean rot can be spread by beetles, whiteflies, or wet leaves. A copper-based fungicide can prevent the spread.

frequently asked Questions

Mung bean fieldA mung bean field just before harvest. Source: bonarae

Q: How long does it take for mung beans to grow?

A: It takes about three months (100 days) for a mung bean to ripen.

Q: Can you eat mung bean plant?

A: You can eat the beans, leaves, and tubers, although the leaves and tubers should be cooked first as they can be uncomfortable to eat.

Q: Where can mung beans be grown?

A: Mung beans must be grown in a sunny location with at least six hours of direct sun. They can be grown in containers, raised beds or directly in the ground.

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