Sweet peas enchant us with their fragile, seductive fragrance and make great bouquets. These pea-like flowers grow in many lovely colors and are suitable for an annual border, a woodland garden, and a trellis or arch.
Common name: Lathyrus odoratus
Color: Red, Pink, Yellow, Blue, Purple, White
Bloom time: Summer, Fall
Height: 1–2 metres (3 ft 3 in–6 ft 7 in), where suitable support is available.
Difficulty level: Easy
Planting & Care
Sweet peas are quite hardy, growing from large, easy-to-handle pea-like seeds. Still, they re a bit tricky because they are slow to germinate. It s worth experimenting with different seeds each year.
Sunlight: Full Sun
Water: Keep soil moist throughout the growing season.
Temprature: Above 65 degrees F.
Fertilizer: Apply any organic fertilizer.
- Sweet peas are happiest with their heads in the sun and their roots deep in cool, moist soil.
- When possible, plant low-growing annuals in front of them to shade their roots.
- Choose a well-drained site.
- Alkaline soil is best, sprinkle some powdered lime on the surface if your soil tends to be acidic.
- Prepare a rich soil by mixing in generous amounts of compost and well-rotted manure mixed to a depth of 2 feet.
- Prior to planting, you re going to want to dig a nice deep trench of about 4 inches in depth.
- After you dig the trench, make holes with a pencil, drop in the seeds, and press down on the soil to firm it and shut out any light.
- Before planting, soak the seeds in water for 24 hours, then nick the seeds with a nail file before planting to speed sprouting.
- You do not need to soak seeds in a temperate climate.
Harvesting: Harvest the stems when the lowest blossom is just begining to open.
- Once planted, germination can take 7 to 15 days, depending on the soil temperature.
- As seedlings emerge and grow, gradually fill in the trench.
- Keep soil moist.
- Summer rain may be ample.
- If you put your finger into the soil bed to its first joint and the soil is dry: water them at the soil level and do in the morning, sweet peas can suffer from bud drop.
- If you use plenty of aged manure and compost when planting, you do not need to fertilize.
- If you do want to add nourishment, use high potash feeds, as nitrogen feeds encourage too much top growth.
- Sweet peas prefer cool days and nights and will start to fade when temperatures go above 65 degrees F.
- Except for the bush types, sweet peas are real climbers.
- Give them at least 6 feet of good support.
- Some varieties may climb to 9 or 1 feet, if you don t have a fence or trellis, provide brush or chicken wire or bushy stubbly twigs that they can cling to.
- When plants become established, mulch well to keep the soil cool and moist, if you mulch, you may not need to water your sweet peas unless the soil gets dry.
- To encourage bushy growth, pinch off the tops when plants are 6 inches tall, not before or you ll encourage premature side-shoot development.
- Pick the flowers for bouquets often and the plant will put energy into more blooms instead of going to seed.
Sweet peas are easy to grow. Get them in the ground early to take advantage of cool spring weather.
- The plant is used for ornamental purpose and can be used as hanging basket plants as well.
The seeds are poisonous.