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Bean Lima, Big Mama

Short Description

Bred from a rarely grown New Jersey heirloom.

Full Description

HEIRLOOM. Soak up a pot of Big Mama and each smooth-textured, extra-tasty bean will swell to fill a teaspoon. Big Mama will make "lima lovers" of your whole family. Healthy too, 1 cup of cooked lima beans provides 20% of the daily value for copper and magnesium, plus a whopping 13 grams of fiber. Easy to grow, the 8-10 ft. vines yield huge 8" long pods that are packed with giant beans. Harvest fresh when pale green or allow to dry to white for storing. Delicious!
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Item#: 61759A
Order: Pkt. (3 oz., 85 seeds)
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Item#: 61759U
Order: Pkt. (1 lb., 450 seeds)
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Product properties

Type Some flowers and vegetables fall into subcategories that may define how they grow (such as pole or bush), what they are used for (such as slicing tomatoes or shelling peas), flower type, or other designations that will help you select the type of a class of plant that you are looking for.

Pole Lima

Days To Maturity The average number of days from when the plant is actively growing in the garden to the expected time of harvest.

80 days

Fruit Size The average size of the fruit produced by this product.

8 inches

Sun The amount of sunlight this product needs daily in order to perform well in the garden. Full sun means 6 hours of direct sun per day; partial sun means 2-4 hours of direct sun per day; shade means little or no direct sun.

Full Sun

Spread The width of the plant at maturity.

12 inches

Height The typical height of this product at maturity.

96-120 inches

the burpee




since 1876


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Growing Pole and Bush Beans
Beans are one of the easiest summer crops you can grow. We show you how to grow your own.
Watch video
Chef Ian Knauer Recipe-Beans with Green Goddess Herb Sauce
Chef Ian of the Farm Cooking School in Stockton New Jersey Prepares Green Beans with Green Goddness Herb Sauce.
Watch video

How to Sow

  • Because beans are members of the legume family of plants, they can benefit from an application of a soil inoculant designed for beans and peas, prior to planting. The inoculant will enable the plants to take nitrogen from the air to use as fertilizer, which can increase crop yield and quality.
  • Sow in average soil in a sunny location after danger of frost and soil has warmed, from spring to early summer. Sow after the soil has warmed, as seeds may rot in cooler soils.
  • Coat untreated seed with an inoculant.
  • Sow in rows 24 inches apart. Sow seeds 3 inches apart and cover with 2 inches of fine soil. Firm lightly and water gently.
  • Seedlings emerge in 10-14 days depending on soil and weather conditions.
  • Keep sowing bush bean seeds every 2 weeks for a constant supply of beans.
  • Thin gradually to stand 12 inches apart when seedlings are 1-2 inches high.

How to Grow

  • In dry weather, keep soil well-watered. Plants need about 1 inch of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It’s best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
  • Cultivate or mulch to keep weed-free, but do not work or handle plants when leaves are wet.
  • Beans as companion plants: Planted closely in rows spaced around two feet, bush bean plants blend well with like-sized warm-season vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes and eggplants. Between towers of pole bean plants, planting vines such as squash can help keep weeds down. Pole beans can help protect cool-season vegetables such as spinach and lettuces, as the weather warms.

Harvest and Preserving Tips

  • For fresh use, pick pods as soon as well-filled out with peas
  • For dried bean use, harvest in about 80 days, when the pods start to dry on the plant.
  • To Dry Beans: Allow the beans to stay on the plants until they are partially dry. Then pull up the plants and hang them in a warm, dry place with good air circulation until the pods and seeds are thoroughly dry. Shell the beans and save the pods and plants for composting.
Pole Lima
Days To Maturity
80 days
Fruit Size
8 inches
Full Sun
12 inches
96-120 inches
Sow Method
Direct Sow
Planting Time
Spring, Summer
Sow Time
After Last Frost
6 inches
Bean Lima, Big Mama is rated 3.5 out of 5 by 23.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from enormous and delicious!! Grew these over a childrens' play fort last season. they grew amazingly fast and tall. wasn't the best location (partial shade) but they produced heavily for me. first batch we cooked, I could not believe the flavor. as sweet as green peas! will be my only lima from now on!
Date published: 2017-03-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WOW I bought a packet of these and not a songle one grew. I sent a message to Burpee and they sent me a new packet with an apology. I planted them this spring and OH MY is all I can say. Vines 12-14 feet long and huge numbers of blooms and pods. Some of the biggest beans I have ever seen. They shelled easy and taste amazing. Was able to can a lot of these for the winter months and I am looking forward to having them with a big pan of cornbread. I will be planting these again and cannot wait!
Date published: 2016-09-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A lot of bang for the buck $ Consistently produces large pods with well-sized tender Lima beans
Date published: 2016-09-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from BIG seedlings! I have only just sprouted the seeds, but WOW!, these "Big Mama" seedlings are HUGE. Great germination. I can't wait to see the pods and harvest this summer. Thanks, Burpee!!
Date published: 2015-04-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Mutant Pole Lima Beans I put in new planters last year and ended up planting late. I have been working with lima beans for years and know they are difficult to get to germinate properly. This year they germinated properly and took off. Once the summer heat set in, the vines were growing 4" per day, to a height more than 12 feet. I was worried that the late planting would leave me without many viable pods, and started nipping many of the hundreds of blooms that started. Not to worry. I ended up with about 5 full 5 gallon bucket of enormous 8" pods, most of which developed the full sized beans. Froze about ten gallon bags of beans that we will be eating until the next crop matures. I saved back a bunch of the mature beans for planting this year since I could not find them in the early Burpee catalogs. I will be buying more and also planting the save back seeds from last year to study the difference in seed viability.
Date published: 2015-02-28
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not many beans We had a great years for most beans, but I did not get either good germination OR many lima beans on each plant. I Love fresh limas and would not waste space on these again, but try a different variety. I can see why they are rare....
Date published: 2014-09-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Beans! I bought 'Big Mama' purely to experiment in a certain spot in our yard. It's partly shaded - the beans only get about 5 hours a day. They are doing well, considering dry weather, being right up against the house where the soil is poor, and less than ideal supports. The vines are all of 12 feet, easily, and are very vigorous. The beans are delicious, and many are bigger than a quarter. They always bring exclamations of surprise and appreciation when served with a meal. Production is a bit slow and not as many as I'd like, but that's probably due to the shade and the lack of rain this summer. Also - taller supports or a good-sized trellis are in order for next year. Germination seemed skimpy but I am guilty of overwatering, so will be more careful next year. I will DEFINITELY find a spot in my garden for these every year!
Date published: 2014-08-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Spotty Germination but worth the wait The first pack I got had horrible germination, I think one germinated and it later died. Burpee was excellent about replacing the pack and out of the second pack I had very good germination. The plants are starting to climb now and growing quickly, I'm very anxious to see the yield
Date published: 2014-08-25
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