How To Grow Sweet Peas + Care Tips

Blossom Lady
Apr 10, 2021 12:26 PM
How To Grow Sweet Peas + Care Tips

No cutting garden is complete without at least one row of fragrant, nostalgic sweet peas. Each spring as they climb their trellises, it’s like seeing my dear old friends once again. Perfect for picking, fragrant sweet peas are easy to grow and come in a range of beautiful colors. You can grow them in pots or in the ground, training them up a frame for a beautiful display. Plant sweet peas near a seating area, so you can smell them as you sit and relax in the garden. Or pick some for the vase – even a small amount can fill a room with fragrance. Discover some tips and instructions on growing sweet peas, including advice on sowing the seeds and planting the plugs out in the garden.

Plugs can be planted outside now in a prepared bed or in pots, but first they must be acclimatized to cold night temperatures and, although they are hardy, they will need to be given some protection from the coldest night frosts.

A sheltered spot or a frame outside is ideal for a couple of weeks to get them hardened off ready for planting. While you’ll get plenty of flowers by allowing your plants to grow side shoots and letting them scramble, to get strong, straight flower stems and prize-winning blooms, a method exhibition growers use is to nip out the energy-sapping side shoots and tendrils. Sweet peas are rewarding and easy to grow, but must be picked regularly to ensure a continuous flower supply.

Growing sweet pea plugs in pots

1. Sweet peas thrive in pots. Choose a rich potting compost and mix in loam-based compost to provide extra water retention. Firm in the compost well.

2. Use pea sticks, wire mesh or pea netting for support. Plant the plugs close to their supports. Individual plants grown as one plug can be carefully separated.

3. Soak the newly planted plugs and once they start to grow away use a liquid feed regularly to encourage strong growth and continuous flowering.

Top tips for the best flowers

  • Enrich the soil. Sweet peas flower, set seed and die within months of germinating. To maintain vigor, they need plenty of nutrients and moisture. Use organic matter dug into the soil or good quality compost in containers.
  • Provide the right support to encourage climbing. Bamboo poles alone are too smooth for tendrils to grip well, so add netting if you’re using them.
  • Pinch out the tips of shoots to encourage branching. This can be done several times in spring to make a wide, bushy shape as new tips grow. This process will result in lots of medium-sized flowers rather than the large, exhibition- type blooms you can grow on a single stem.
  • Grow sweet peas in a spot where you’ll be able to appreciate their lovely scent – close to the door or a seat.
  • Water regularly and carefully, aiming only at the roots. Sweet peas are attacked by powdery mildew. Keeping them hydrated but with dry foliage is the best defense.

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