Grow a new bean plant . . . from a bean!

  • No safety considerations
  • Beginner
  • 10 minutes, plus 1 to 2 weeks soaking and sprouting time

Prepare Ingredients

dried cannellini or kidney beans

Gather Equipment

Small jar with lid
Paper towel
Zipper-lock bag
Masking tape
Pencil and/or marker
Small containers for planting, such as clean, empty yogurt containers (optional)
Potting soil (optional)
dried cannellini or kidney beans

Place beans in small jar. Cover with water by 1 inch. Place lid on jar. Let beans soak for 8 hours or overnight.


Lightly wet paper towel with water and gently squeeze to remove excess water. Fold paper towel and slide it into zipper-lock bag so it lies flat.


Remove soaked beans from jar; discard water. Place beans in zipper-lock bag, about 1 inch apart. Seal bag, leaving 1- to 2-inch opening to allow airflow.


Attach your zipper-lock bag to a window with the beans facing out. (Look for a window that gets indirect sunlight—you don’t want to scorch your beans! If it’s very cold where you live, tape the bag to a shelf or wall near a window. If the beans are too cold, they won’t grow.)


Make a prediction: What do you think will happen to the beans as they sit in the bag for the next few days?


Observe your results: Every day, observe your beans up close. What do you notice? How are they changing? Record and draw your observations on a sheet of paper. Use a ruler to measure any growth each day. (If paper towel appears dried out, lightly spray inside of zipper-lock bag with water. Reseal bag, leaving 1- to 2-inch opening for airflow.)


Continue observing and measuring your beans and recording your observations for at least 5 to 7 days, or until beans have sprouted.


You can plant your sprouted beans in soil and watch them continue to grow! Fill 1 small container for each sprouted bean about ¾ of the way with potting soil. Use your finger to make small hole in soil, about 1 inch deep. Place 1 sprouted bean in hole with root end (white growth) facing down into soil and shoot (green growth) facing up toward the sun. Cover bean loosely with soil, leaving shoot exposed. Repeat with remaining sprouted beans, if desired.


Place containers in sunny location, such as a windowsill. Every day, add about 1 tablespoon water to each container (soil should be wet but not soggy). Continue to observe, measure, and record your beans’ growth over time. How would you describe the plants? Short? Tall? Delicate? Leafy? Sturdy?