Gardeners Tips For Growing Sweet Peas


Sowing Sweet peas.

  • The best results from sweet peas come from seedlings sown in October under a cold frame. You can also sow in early spring; however, these will flower later and will be more susceptible to mildew later in the season.
  • To help germination you can chip away at the hard outer skin of sweet pea seed. However, this is not necessary.
  • It is important to avoid seeds getting waterlogged as they are prone to rotting.

Sweet Pea Tubes.

The roots of sweet peas grow deep, therefore, when sowing use deep pots (they don’t need to be wide)

Hardening Off.

Sweet Peas are hardy, and can survive frosts; however, if grown in a cold frame they need to be hardened off before planting out. Sweet peas can also be sown directly

Planting out.

When planting out, it doesn’t matter so much if the soil around the roots comes away. The important thing is to water them in well.

Feeding Sweet Peas.

Sweet Peas like a rich well fertilised soil. During flowering time, the addition of tomato food, will help prolong the blooms.

Pinching Out Sweet Peas.

A useful tip for growing sweet peas, is to pinch out the first shoot. This is because sweet peas flower from additional shoots. To get the strongest sweet pea plants, it is important to concentrate all the energy’s on a single shoot.

Layering Sweet Peas.

If you are growing sweet peas for show. Plant them out in rows of 10-12 with stout canes. When the one single shoot has grown higher than the cane, you can untie them and allow them to spread out on the soil before allowing to grow up another cane, this means they can grow much taller than the canes but still be supported.

Picking Flowers.

Once a sweet pea starts to flower, it is important to pick the flowers before they start to set seed. Once they set seed they will tend to stop flowering. At least there will be no difficulty in using the sweet pea flowers.

Water Well and Mulch.

Sweet Peas benefit from being well watered and mulch. As with many other plants, it is best to give a good soaking every now and then rather than feeble daily watering.

Sown at the end of September these seedlings have germinated well.

They have been sown from seeds collected off this years plants by my Brother in Law. I guess they will be fairly true to the colours of the plants from which he collected them. That is why the colour has been written on the paper label at the front.

The tip of the plant will be pinched out before they stop growing for Autumn to encourage branching. The extra haulms created after ‘pinching out’ seem to bear more flowers than the single cordon sweetpeas. The plants will then be left in a cold greenhouse to protect from the worst winter but they should also survive outside. Care needs to be taken to keep mice away from the young flesh.

10 Responses to Gardeners Tips For Growing Sweet Peas

  1. jane March 16, 2009 at 16.03 #

    i am a beginer and last year bought a pack of swet peas collected the seed and have set them of but some have come through and they are not sweet peas but some are there is more not than is
    please can you tell me why

  2. admin March 18, 2009 at 16.03 #

    The hard round seeds need to be able to take in moisture or they will germinate erratically.

  3. Miranda July 6, 2010 at 16.03 #

    I am growing sweet peas for showing at a particular flower show in early August. A judge told me to prevent them flowering until a certain amount of time before the show … but I now can’t remember what that certain amount of time is! Can anyone help?

  4. admin July 8, 2010 at 16.03 #

    I would wait until the plants were 4 feet high before allowing them to flower for the first time.

  5. Elvera@gardensheds April 1, 2011 at 16.03 #

    We grew sweet peas last year from seed and was quite successful. We would like to grow more this year because we love the scent and the colours. Where you mentioned ‘pinching out shoots’ what do you mean by “concentrate all the energy’s on a single shoot.”?. Thank you.

  6. Son April 16, 2011 at 16.03 #

    Pinching out should cause the plant to send out a second shoot. That’s the one to work on I believe. Pinch out when the plant has 4 established leafs (they tend to grow in pairs so that would be a two pair).
    I’ve been growing sweet peas for years but only just picked up on the finer points. If in doubt, pinch half your plants and leave the rest.

    Good luck but above all, enjoy!

  7. Nick Plant April 23, 2011 at 16.03 #

    I have been growing sweet peas for many years & really had no bother with them.

    Last evening, however, I put out my 4 off troughts, in position, as the sweet Peas were approximately 4″-6″ high. I covered with plastic in case of frost.

    When I came to take the plastic off this morning, all of my sweet peas have been attacked, as if some animal has been after the pea.

    They haven’t been eaten, but the sweet peas plants are just there with no pea attached to them.

    Any comments would be appreciated


  8. admin April 24, 2011 at 16.03 #

    I suspect mice. They eat many of my peas and mangetout


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