Grow Sweet peas this season!

If you're dreaming about picking huge bunches of sweetly scented, home-grown sweet peas this Spring, you must sow your sweet peas now, or you'll miss out!

Beautiful climbing or bush varieties are available to choose from.

Provide support

You will need to offer some kind of support to the climbing sweet pea.

A trellis or a meshed fence works well, or make your own wigwam shape by tying rods or bamboo canes together at the top with string or wire.

Dwarf or semi-dwarf varieties of sweet pea require little or no support. Depending on size (this will be indicated on the back of the seed packet), they can be used in flower beds or containers.

Three short bamboo canes angled and tied together at the top, also make a pretty climbing frame for twining plants such as dwarf sweet peas planted in containers. (loop garden twine round the canes halfway up to ensure stability as the plants grow).

Soil preparation

Soil prep is crucial if you want to grow sweet peas successfully!

Dig a trench to a depth of at least 50cm. Add some superphosphate.

Then mix the soil you’ve dug out with lots of good quality compost and a general fertiliser (like 2:3:2).

Help seeds to germinate

To help seeds germinate, soak the seeds or put them between two layers of kitchen towel or cotton wool soaked in water overnight. This will soften the hard outer coat.

Plant your sweet pea seeds about 2 - 3cm deep and 10 - 15cm apart.

Water with a fine spray and be sure to keep them moist until they start sprouting.

Photo credit: @helminghamhallgardens, @ccamullet 

Sweet pea needs

When your sweet peas are about 15cm high, pinch off the growing tips to encourage the seedlings to produce more shoots.

Pick flowers every second day to encourage more flowering.

Plant them in a sunny position sheltered from strong winds.

In dry weather, make sure sweet peas are watered regularly and never allow the roots to completely dry out or flowering may be restricted.

They are fast growing and need generous amounts of regular feeding as they develop deep root systems.

Keep the soil well mulched with compost, but be sure to keep it away from the main stems.

Don't hold back to pick the beautiful blooms for your vases or share them with friends, because when it comes to the prettiest of the spring flowering annuals, being generous only results in being rewarded even more –the more you pick your sweet peas, the more they flower!

Photo credit: @small_magical_gardens