Beans are one of the longest-cultivated plants. Unlike the closely related pea, beans are a summer crop that needs warm temperatures to grow. Maturity is typically 55–60 days from planting to harvest. As the bean pods mature, they turn yellow and dry up, and the beans inside change from green to their mature colour. As a vine, bean plants need external support, which may be provided in the form of special "bean cages" or poles. Native Americans customarily grew them along with corn and squash (the Three Sisters method), with the tall cornstalks acting as support for the beans.
In more recent times, the "bush bean" has been developed which does not require support and has all its pods develop simultaneously. Beans are a heliotropic plant, meaning that the leaves tilt throughout the day to face the sun. At night, they go into a folded "sleep" position.