Wisley Magic is a heritage variety red flowered runner bean which is often considered one of the best for flavour and having that “old fashioned runner bean taste”.
However, having grown several varieties of runner bean at one go I’m not sure there is much difference between them. Having said that, Wisley Magic does have some distinct advantages. It holds an RHS Award of Garden Merit at the time of writing, it is virtually stingless, even when mature and their long, slender and straight pods helped me win best set of runner beans at this years allotment show.
In the Kitchen:
Pleasantly flavoured and all except the oldest of beans are stingless.
Plant health and Yield:
As with all runners, these can produce bumper crops. and the beans are attractive, long, slender and generally quite straight, although if you are a showing enthusiast or trying to grow the longest bean you probably should look elsewhere. In the hottest of temperatures, like with many runners some flowers will drop without forming beans. making sure that your bean trench has plenty of organic matter in and is well watered will help.
How to grow
Runner beans are not frost hardy and will sulk if they get to cold and wet. You will need to sow these indoors no more than two weeks before the last frost date. Sow 2 inches deep in root trainers or a 9cm pot. Keep compost lightly damp whilst germinating. Once all risk of frost has past, harden off the beans by placing outside during the day and bringing in at night or placing in a cold frame and lifting the lid during the day. Plant out after a week. They will need a trellis or other support up to two meters high. You will need to tie them to the support at first but after that they should climb up themselves. Remove the tips once the beans have reached the top of the support. Keep well watered and in July mulch with compost. Runner beans can be prolific so 8 plants will feed two happily with some for the freezer. Pick regularly to ensure a constant supply.