Growing Sweet Peas


Sweet pea Sweet Pea Sweet pea



How to Grow Sweet Peas

red wheel barrow sweet peas need growing attentionSweet Peas  look just fantasic as the images above show but even better they are one of the most sweetly scented of garden plants. Sweet peas are long flowering and will provide colour,scent and flowers to pick for months. In return Sweet peas need regular attention throughout the summer by
dead heading, removing tendrils and watering during dry spells .Sweet peas are rewarding for their fantastic scented flowers.
The down side to growing sweet peas is they are time consuming, and so are Colour Coded red. The most important task is to dead head the flowers as they fade and form seed head as this will keep Sweet Peas flowring for a long season.

              • How to germinate
              • Looking after Seedlings         
              • Pinching out
              • Planting out
              • Growing on
Video How to plant and grow sweet peas 

Growing Sweet Peas From Seed

 Sweet Peas are easy to germinate and buying seed gives a wider  choice of fragrance and colour, but it is more time consuming. Many of the garden centres sell Sweet Peas seeds in mixed colours which is good, but it is also nice to have some single colours, as above, to contrast and compliment other summer flowering plants. This type of sweet pea is an annual.

Sweet Peas Autumn sownCommonly Sweet Peas are seeded in Feb/March. Sweet Peas need heat to germinate and place on warm windowsill or heated propagator, about 15C/ 59F. When growing Sweet Peas,  the choice of container is important; Sweet Peas have long roots which means it's important to plant them into a deep
container not a regular pot. You can either use root trainers sold by all garden centres, or cheaper and just as easy, toilet roll holders.  Put two/three seeds into the container placing the seed near the top to give plenty of room for the roots to grow down. Sprinkle with a light covering of compost, spray with water so moist not too wet and place in a warm place. It's essential for germination to cover with a lid or clear polythene. Germination should occur within a few days and as soon as the sweet pea seedling is a few centimetres above the soil, if in a heated propagator remove so as to prevent the seedling getting too warm which will make it sappy and not very sturdy. Only use the heat to speed up germination.

Sweet Peas can also be sucessfully germinated in the Autumn in a warm conservatory and the moved into an unheated greenhouse for the winter. Provided the Sweet Peas are protected from frost under glass they will do well over the winter and produce sturdy plants for the Spring. Autumn sown Sweet peas tend to flower earlier and by sowing in Autumn and Spring the flowering season is exteneded.

With immature Sweet Peas plants it is best to pinch out the growing tips to make the seedling bush and produce more growing tips which will in the summer make more flowers. 



Tips on growing sweet peas

When growing Sweet peas the young plants need to be tied in regularly as they grow up the support. Don't make the mistake of letting the tendrils support the plants. This is really  important when growing sweet peas, to pay attention to the Tendrils. The photo opposite illustrates tendrills, they are the thin stems without flowers running off the plant which wind and cling.

The presence of tendrils can suggest the plant is self clinging and so will support itself  via tendrils. In one way it can, but if it is left to do this unchecked, as the Sweet Peas mature, the tendrils grab or catch other parts of the Sweet Pea plant, or adjacent plants,  which causes the plant to become bunched, which twists the stems so the Sweet Peas don't have those lovely long stems. Towards the end of the season the Sweet Peas can look a mess all bunched up and matted together . If the tendrils are allowed to grow, instead of growing up the obelisk with nice stems, the Sweet Peas will bunch up into a tangled mess. When growing Sweet Peas, every week remove 90% of the tendrils. This may mean in the early days of growing you need to tied in the plants to give them some support, other than the tendrills.

It is also essential  when growing sweet peas to pick the flowers regularly  and don't allow any seed pods to form. If seed pods form the plants will stop flowering so remove  and deadhead to ensure the Sweet Peas continue to flower throughout the Summer . If the weather is dry Sweet Peas require watering. The decision whether to grow sweet peas is really a question of how much you like them and how much time you have. Sweet Peas are definitely colour coded red.