How to Grow a Plant From a Pinto Bean in a Ziploc Bag

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Things You'll Need

  • Paper towels

  • Ziploc sandwich bags

  • 2 nails

  • Hammer

  • Twine

  • Clothespins

Pinto beans are often purchased in bulk.

Teaching children about plants is problematic, since seeds are usually buried in potting soil. The germination process is invisible. However, with a wet paper towel, a Ziploc bag, dried pinto beans and a bright, sunny window, you can provide a teaching moment even in the dead of winter. Pinto beans sprout and grow quickly. This project holds interest for several days. After the beans sprout, continue the teaching process by planting the beans inside or in the garden.

Step 1

Wet a paper towel. Squeeze most of the water out.

Step 2

Fold the paper towel to fit into the Ziploc bag. Place in the bag.

Step 3

Insert one or two pinto beans per bag on between the paper towel and the side of the bag. Do not seal the bag.

Step 4

Tap a nail into the wall on each side of a bright, sunny window. Stretch a piece of twine across the window, tying it to the nails.

Step 5

Hang the Ziploc bags on the twine with a clothespin with the bean facing the window.

Step 6

Monitor the Ziploc bag, making sure that the paper towel stays moist while the pinto bean sprouts. Pinto beans germinate quickly, sometimes overnight.

Step 7

Plant the bean sprout in a paper cup with potting soil or in the garden. Handle the root gently. It breaks easily. Water the sprout thoroughly after planting.


Tape the bag to the window instead of hanging it on a line. Peas, lima beans and other legumes are also easy to sprout. Science fair projects must be carefully monitored and documented, measuring the amount of water added to each paper towel and the temperature in the window.


If you decide to eat the bean sprouts, rinse them thoroughly before adding to your salad. If mold or mildew appear in the bag, throw it all away and start over.

references & resources

Ruth de Jauregui

Ruth de Jauregui

With degrees in fine and commercial art and Spanish, Ruth de Jauregui is an old-school graphic artist, book designer and published author. De Jauregui authored 50 Fabulous Tomatoes for Your Garden, available as an ebook. She enthusiastically pursues creative and community interests, including gardening, home improvement and social issues.