Oh, so Sweet Pea
‘Tis the season to start thinking about your flower garden and landscape (if you don’t have your plan together already!).
Sweet peas are so named due to their delicate, sweet fragrance. The most fragrant varieties available are labeled “old fashioned” or “heirloom,” although many lesser-fragrant varieties are now available in a gorgeous, ever-expansive array of bloom colors, thanks to breeders.
Sweet peas are strong growers, are fabulous for cut arrangements and are a beautiful addition to any landscape or flower garden.
While they’re not happy in extreme heat, they do enjoy full sun (as long as roots are cool in soil), and bloom beautifully throughout summer and fall. They’re a great addition to gardens, archways, and woodland gardens.
- Sweet pea seeds resemble edible sweet peas, but they are toxic if eaten. So, heed caution if children assist with planting.
- The best secret for successful sweet peas is to sow the seeds early—with frost still on the ground!
- Soak sweet pea seeds in warm water for 24 hours prior to planting, to help soften the seed.
- Seeds may also be planted in late fall.
- In a sunny location, sow seeds an inch deep in prepared soil. Space seeds 6 inches apart for climbing varieties and a foot apart for bush varieties.
- Growth should be seen within two weeks.
- Some suggest pinching out sweet pea growth once sprouts are 6 to 8 inches high to encourage growth; or, let them grow naturally, allowing nature to take control.
- Pinch off spent flowers to encourage further production.
- Sweet pea vines are wonderful for cut flower arrangements. And a bonus? The more you cut, the more they’ll grow.
- If planting by seed is not your preference, small plants are also available.
Sweet pea flowers are available in both vine and bush types. If your sweet pea is a vine, be sure to plant your seeds beside a trellis as vines cannot support themselves without a little help. Be sure to place trellis before planting so as not to disrupt any root growth.
Bush varieties do not require a trellis as they will not grow as tall as vines, and are able to support their weight.
Sow now and enjoy this summertime beauty!