6 tips for growing Sweet Peas

Sweet Peas are the quintessential English Cottage Garden flower. They're easy to grow and produce masses of deeply fragrant blossoms. Here are some tips on growing them in either containers or in the garden.
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Sweet Peas are easy to grow

Sweet Peas are one of the most deeply scented cottage garden flowers — they’re also extremely easy to grow. The more you pick them, the more they produce flowers so they’re a great choice as a homegrown cut flower. Once picked, a bouquet can last up to a week and during that time the flowers sweeten the air and add natural beauty to any room. When the bouquet needs refreshing, more blossoms will have conveniently blossomed on the vine. If you’ve not grown them before, here are six tips to get you started.

6 tips for growing Sweet Peas

1. Select your variety

There is a dazzling array of types and colors on the market and sometimes a huge percentage of a flower seed catalog can be just sweet peas! For me, I usually grow ones I find for free at one of our seed swaps since they all smell gorgeous. On Amazon you can get this great mix of 50 Heirloom Sweet Pea Seeds. Popular named varieties include:

6 tips for growing Sweet Peas

2. Sow sweet pea seeds

Either direct into the ground or in modules. You can do this in Autumn and overwinter the small plants or do it in spring if you prefer. Autumn sown plants will come into bloom a few weeks before spring sown ones but you do need to keep an eye on them over the winter. Make sure they’re under cover such as an unheated greenhouse and that their soil remains moist. As far as soil is concerned, sweet peas, like all legumes, love rich fertile soil rich in Humus and nitrogen.


6 tips for growing Sweet Peas

3. Transplant well after the last frost

They like a lot of nutrients so it wouldn’t hurt to put them in an area dug over with compost or well-rotted farmyard manure. These flowers are great in open ground like a garden or backyard but they also do extremely well in containers. Just ensure that wherever they are they’re just kept well watered. Tip: keep a container near the door so that you’re greeted with beautiful scent every time you leave and enter the house. What a great way to begin the day!

6 tips for growing Sweet Peas

4. Give the sweet pea plants support

These plants are climbers so a wigwam of canes, a lattice of willow, or even an old ladder or other garden art will give the plants the foundation to grow tall and strong. Keep them tied in using garden string or similar or they’ll flop all over the place.

6 tips for growing Sweet Peas

5. Pinch out shoots

If you pinch off the top growing tip of the plant when it’s young it encourages side shoots and a thicker and more blossom-abundant plant. If you don’t pinch shoots out the plants will still grow, don’t worry. They’ll just likely be less full than plants that are manicured.

6 tips for growing Sweet Peas

6. Keep well watered and pick, pick, pick!

Remember that the more you pick, the more flowers you’ll have.

6 tips for growing Sweet Peas


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2 Discussion to this post

  1. Pia says:

    Sow them each year. Even had some seeds from wild sweet peas,they’re crimson ( they have no scent). I collect the seeds each year. Love them. My favourite I think. They’re so grateful,almost weed-like. This year mine are a bit behind due to starting late bc of moving house and garden.
    Thanks for the article. I didn’t know about nipping the shoots.

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