How to Grow Sweet Pea Plants

How to grow Sweet Peas

Sweet peas are a must for any garden. They’re elegant, fragrant, great in borders climbing up trellises or wig-wam frames, disguising an unsightly wall or even scrambling over shrubs in a less-formal display. You can even snip the flowering stems to create a vase of cut-flowers, bringing the outdoors in. They come in a range of colours, to suit all tastes and situations, from dazzling bright reds and whites, to moody pastels.

How to sow Sweet Peas

Sow seeds in a cold frame in early spring or directly in the ground in mid-spring. If growing directly in the ground space at 20cm (8 in) apart.

When sowing, some gardeners soak the seeds overnight to soften the hard coat and trigger the germination process. Some also chip the hard coat slightly which also triggers the germination process.

You can sow two seeds per station and remove the weaker seedling once they germinate.

Label with name of variety and date, once you’ve sown seeds.

Watering

Water sweet peas twice a day in the morning and the evening once seedlings have their second pair of leaves. They will be growing fast once the spring months get warmer and will appreciate the twice-daily watering.

***Do not overwater young plug plants***

If young seedlings or young plants have rotted, more or often than not it’s down to over-watering.

Prevent this from happening;

  •          When young, water from above when soil feels dry until roots are emerging from the bottom of the pot.
  •           
  •          Never stand pots in water for a length of time. Roots need to breathe and get sufficient oxygen; if you keep them standing in water they drown.

 

A good tip for established plants is to stand them in a tray of water overnight, if the soil is dry. In the morning tip out the excess water from the tray. Only ‘flood’ the tray again when soil surface feels dry to the finger tip. Again, make sure you re-visit after a few hours or overnight to tip out excess water.

Feeding

Sweet Peas are hungry so provide a liquid feed that is high in potassium – this encourages lots of flowering throughout the summer. Just follow the instructions on the pack and give your Sweet peas a boost.

Siting

These plants are definitely happiest in a sunny part of the garden. Any south-facing position is ideal, or a sun-soaked wall or back of the border. They’ll be most happy in a well-drained soil that is nutrient-rich. Additional feeding with provide them with the nutrients they need to produce an abundance of flowers.

Other after-care

As your sweet –peas are happily flowering in summer, be sure to remove flowers of those that have been pollinated and have now withered. Remove these flowers means the plant will put its energy into producing more flowers for you to enjoy throughout the summer season.

How to prune

Sweet peas are half-hardy annuals so they put out their abundance of flowers in one season. They may flower, albeit more slowly and sporadically in autumn, until the first frosts of winter, when it will be time to remove them and prepare the soil for next year’s plants.

Flowering period

May- September

Best Varieties

Romeo and Juliet

Moonlight

Percy Thrower

Scarlett

Aphrodite

Pests and Diseases

Slugs and snails

Aphids

Fusarium wilt

Mildew

Your sweet pea plants have been grown from seed sown in the autumn to ensure you are able to produce top quality blooms for garden display and for cutting. We have been growing sweet peas for a century, so you know you are growing plants which have been expertly and carefully produced.

Your Sweet Peas are supplied as a multi-sown module, do not separate the plants within the cell - they can be trained separately as they grow. They will need the support of canes or trellis and can also be grown through shrubs or other climbers. They will be happy in any good, well-drained soil which has plenty of organic matter incorporated. They prefer an open, sunny position but with some shelter from cold drying winds.

When they Arrive
Unpack immediately and water if plants have dried out in transit, keep plants upright.

Planting
Plant as soon as possible after delivery, but if conditions are not suitable, store them for a day or two in a light airy place. Keep in an upright position and do not allow them to dry out. Water again prior to planting. Plant 2 or 3 inches away from the support and allow 8-12 inches between plants. Plant so that the soil level is the same as it was in the plug. Fill in the hole with soil and firm gently to make sure there are no air-pockets. Keep plants well watered especially during hot weather.

Care
Until your Sweet Pea plants are established do not allow them to dry out, water more frequently if required during very hot weather. Tie in stems as they grow using canes or plant supports.

TIP: Remember, the more flowers you cut, the more will grow! Dead-heading spent flowers to prevent seed pods forming will also prolong flowering.

How to prune
Sweet peas are half-hardy annuals so they put out their abundance of flowers in one season. They may flower, albeit more slowly and sporadically in autumn, until the first frosts of winter, when it will be time to remove them and prepare the soil for next year’s plants.

Flowering period - May- September

Pests and Diseases - Slugs and snails, Aphids, Fusarium wilt, Mildew

 

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