Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) is frequently grown in weathered soils with low phosphorus (P) availability, and this is one of the main limitations on its production. This study aimed to assess 20 common bean genotypes in a hydroponic system to select the best P concentration for inducing nutritional deficiency and to classify the genotypes in terms of nutrient utilization efficiency. The concentrations of P applied were 8.00, 4.00, 2.00 and 0.05 mg L¹. At 21 days, in the plot subjected to an application of the most severe stress, the 0.05 mg L¹ dose of P, had smaller plant size and early leaf abscission was observed. The 4.00 mg L¹ dose of P was the most efficient in inducing stress for discrimination of cultivars in terms of efficiency of use of P. The following genotypes: IAPAR 81, Carioca Comum, IAC Carioca Tybatã, IAC Imperador and G 2333 stood out as being efficient and responsive to P, while the two cultivars DOR 364 and Jalo Precoce were the most inefficient and unresponsive.