Sweet peas are the annual flowering plant that belongs to the Fabaceae (legumes) family.
It is a native plant of Mediterranean countries like Sicily, southern Italy, and the Aegean Islands. They thrive in hardiness zone 2-11.
They are climbing plants and grows up to 1-2 meters in height if they get suitable support like trees, walls, french, etc.
Sweet pea flowers are bi-colored. They have a light white shade on one side and a colored shade on the other wing of the flower.
The flowers are available in different colors like blue, pink, red, yellow, white, and purple.
The leaves grow on the same axis in an upward direction with a terminal tendril twine around the plant and helping it to climb.
The wild sweet pea flowers have a purple shade, 2-3.5 cm broad. This flowering plant has a very large range of cultivar available.
The flowers are usually strongly scented which smell like orange blossom and hyacinth. They are one of the favorite flowering plants of many gardeners.
Plant type Annual, flowering vine Flower Color White, yellow, deep purple, violet, lavender, blue, pink, red Native To The Mediterranean Family Fabaceae Hardiness (USDA Zone): 2-11 Sub-family Faboideae Bloom time Late winter-early summer, depending on location Genus Lathyrus Exposure Full sun to part shade Species L. odoratus Time to get mature Plant in fall for spring growth Flower color White, yellow, deep purple, violet, lavender, blue, pink, red Spacing 6 feet Maintenance Moderate Planting depth 1/2-2 inches, check seed packets Soil type Rich organic Height Varies Soil pH 7.0-7.5 Spread Densely packed rhizome-based growth Soil Drainage well-drainage Water need Moderate Companion planting Sweet alyssum, lobelia, roses, lavender, catmint tolerance Deers, rabbits and frost Uses Climbing plant on wall, fences, or trellises; dwarfing varieties in hanging baskets Attracts Butterflies, Bees Pests & disease Aphids, caterpillars, cutworms, leafminers, thrips, snails, slugs Different types of sweet peas
There are several varieties of sweet peas that you can grow.
All varieties have a unique color and fragrance. Read the package of the seed before choosing.
Air Warden– it has dark red petals that can grab anyone’s attention. Usually, this variety is used as ornamental plants and kept in containers, vases, window boxes, etc. Crimson Ripple- It has one of the best fragrant and large waxy petals that are colored in crimson and white. They are taller in height. Cupani– It is the most fragrant variety of sweet peas. They have deep crimson colored petals and are heat tolerant. You can keep their flower cutting in the home to have a good smell as well as beauty.
Learn more about
different types of sweet peas. How to plant sweet peas from seeds source If you are growing sweet peas from seeds keep in mind that you have to put only 2-3 seeds in the hole. Do not make the hole too deep. If you sow seeds too deep they might take more time to germinate. When planting seeds directly in the garden maintain a certain distance between each plant nearly 6 inches apart. Sowing the seeds closer will make the area crowded then the plant will start growing which leads to various problems. It might stop growing or do not boom at all. If you are planning to grow sweet peas from seeds in containers like pots, hanging baskets, toilet rolls, up canes, and wigwam some unusual examples :D.
Then there is different approach:
Make a small hole about 3-4 inches deep in the center of the container. You can use a pencil or your finger to make a hole. Put a couple of seeds in the hole and cover it with soil. Do not sow seeds in multiple spots in the container. As there are limited space and too many seeds will make it crowded. Related post: How to grow colorful celosia: The complete guide Where to plant sweet peas
This climbing plant has some specific requirements to grow in an area. As you know they need support to grow or stand. So you have to plant or place the pot near a wall, railing, or fences.
If you locate them where there is no suitable support then they will not stand which looks very unfamiliar. They also might not bloom or get stunt.
Sweet peas plant prefers sunny spots but can also tolerate plenty of shade.
However, if you live in a region where the sunlight is intense then it creates a problem.
The most favorable spot to grow plants is:
To plant them in an area or place the pot in the spot where they get early morning sunlight and afternoon shade.
When to plant sweet peas
Unlike other annual plants, sweet peas need some different growing conditions.
They are fairly frost tolerant and do not get damaged even in cold weather.
If you grow from seeds it will take 14-15 days to germinate seeds. The soil temperature should be near 55
o to 65 o F.
The plant needs at least 50 days of cold temperature for blooming.
You can start planting them after August. Decide on your own by looking at the weather of your region.
The idea is to plant sweet peas in the fall season so that you can receive bloom in the spring.
In the coastal regions, the suitable months for planting them are November and December.
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For the plant growth you have to care for sweet peas properly.
Many people have a common question about why their sweet pea flowers are not blooming.
There can be several reason:
Maybe this is not an appropriate season for blooming. They bloom in the summer and fall seasons. Though this plant is frost tolerant they do not bloom in the frost. Excessive fertilizers: Using nitrogen-rich fertilizer in large quantities might hamper the growth of the plant. It reduces the bloom and attracts insects and fungal diseases which can damage your plants.
Sweet pea does not need much maintenance, but you should know the basics of growing any healthy plant
There are some points you should keep in your mind before watering plants.
Watering the plant too frequently leads to many problems like leaves starting to turn yellow. You should water them only when the soil looks dry. Always water directly in the base of the plant without wetting the foliage and stems. Wet plants have dangerous to pests and diseases. When the plant gets established you can use a mulch to keep the soil moist. If you mulch, you do not need to water regularly unless the soil gets dried. Soil For getting good fruits and blooms you should use good quality soil. Many people use ground soil for gardening but regular ground soil is not rich in nutrition and minerals. You may use potting mix soil. For good air circulation mix the soil with perlite and sand. If you are growing in the pot. Choose a pot that has adequate drainage holes. These holes allow excess water to flow from the pot. Put plenty of stones or rocks in the bottom of the pot for easy water flow. In the garden make a small hole, fill the soil with potting mix soil and sow seeds into it. Do the same transplantation of the plant. You can also do a simple soil test of the garden to know pH. They prefer soil pH between 7.0-7.5 source Prune
By doing correct pruning you can increase the blooming.
Deadhead all the brown-yellow foliage and dry flowers. These waste parts suck energy from plants, removing or cutting them will redirect the energy to new growth. Pinch off or cut off the top of the plant when it grows up to 6 feet, this will encourage flower growth. Do not cut off before, otherwise, they do not get mature. Often collecting flowers for bouquets does not wait for need. Cutting flowers will encourage more flower growth. Cut the flowers just after they open. Fertilizer
Fertilizers are the best option to encourage blooming in the plant.
However, if in the beginning, you have added manure and compost with the soil you do not need to fertilize.
For the nourishment of the plant, the best type of fertilizer is high potash feed. They are rich in nitrogen which helps in the top growth of the plants.
How to propagate from stem cutting in water
You can also propagate sweet peas from stem cutting in water. Growing plants initially in the water does not require anything.
Take a stem cutting. Use sharp shear to cut the stem. Cut the stem from the node.
Node the point from which the stem starts growing.
Put the stem cutting in the glass container like a jar or bottle. Half of the bottle should be filled with water.
It will take 14-15 days to grow new roots from the stem cutting you can transplant them in the soil.
How to grow zinnias in pots: (prune and care in details) Transplant sweet peas
When transplanting sweet pea few things you have to keep in you mind:
Do not transplant them directly in the garden. As you grow them indoors, let them be comfortable with outside conditions. Put the potted plant outdoors for a couple of hours 2-3 days. After that they get familiar with outdoor conditions. You have to leave at least 6 inches of distance between two plants. Transplant them in the area where they have suitable support to climb. How to harvest sweet pea seeds
Their seeds are edible and used to make many dishes. You can easily collect seeds from sweet peas.
They are ready to harvest after 2-3 weeks of blooming.
For eating purposes harvest seed-pods when they get 2-3 inches long and become cylindrical in shape.
The all seed-pods inside and remove all the seeds from seed-pods. Let the seeds dry for 2-3 days on paper. Take an airtight container and pack all seeds to keep them dry. Store them in the freezer. You can store them for at least one year depending upon the variety. Pest and disease
Growing any plant in the garden has some problems so as sweet peas.
Here I mention all possible diseases that you might encounter growing them.
If you take care of your plant properly like water and pruning you might not face these problems.
Anyway let’s see them one by one:
If you plant sweet peas too close and in a spot where they do not get enough sunlight. They might get attacked by powdery mildew which slows down the plant’s growth. Aphids are often seen on these plants. They suck water and nutrition which cause multiple problems. You get rid of them by the blast with a stream of water from the hose. Treat plants with neem oil sometimes to prevent insects like spider mites, caterpillars and cutworms, leafminer, or thrips. Snails and slugs are also attracted in the rainy season, treat them with a bait such as Sluggo. Are sweet peas poisonous?
They are mildly poisonous to humans and pets. if eaten in large quantities and can cause a condition called Lathyrus.
In this condition, a person suffers from a heavy breathing problem. If you have domestic animals like cats and you suspect ingestion of peas.
Immediately take it to the animal doctor without waiting for any symptoms.