Sweet peas climb, are ornamental and add great colour to a garden
Sweet peas are a great provider of scent in a garden. They are flowering, highly scented, ornamental plants that climb and add fantastic colour into any garden.
Sowing sweet peas from seed
If you are planting sweet peas from seed, you will sow them in March or April. Sweet pea seeds should be planted two to three inches apart in soil that is freshly dug and fertile. Simply press the seed about a half inch into the ground and feed them straight away.
If you buy your sweet pea in pots, separate them out and plant one every two and a half inches or so. Water them immediately to settle them into the soil. If you’re planting sweet pea in a container, plant them on their own as they tend to try to climb on top of other plants.
Caring for sweet pea
When they are about 3 inches tall, pinch out the active buds. This is a quick and easy job and means you will have about four times the amount of flowers. Sweet peas start flowering in May and are among the most highly scented plants of all. I recommend cutting off a few flowers every now and again and bringing them into your home. This will not only fill your home with perfume but it will encourage even greater flower growth in your garden.
Sweet peas are climbers so ideally they should be sown close to a wall, a trellis or netting. They need something to cling onto. If they are lying a bit flat, tuck them in a little and they’ll take off.
When the seeds are germinating, keep an eye out for slugs. I scatter slug pellets in my own garden just in case. I tend to use the organic one, Sluggo. It comes in a handy shaker container and is very easy to apply. It does the job and doesn’t harm birds or other wildlife Apply one pellet per square inch close by.
Sweet pea is a hungry plant though so you need to feed it every two weeks and once it starts to flower, it needs to be fed weekly I feed mine every week with Baby Bio or sometimes I use our Vitax Tomato Feed.
Sweet pea starts to get tired in September time. So when they start to get scruffy, retire them to the compost heap.
Malachy’s top 6 tips for Sweet Peas
- Choose sweet pea seed if you want to grow certain colours
- If you want extra-large flowers, also choose seed but remember that these varieties are not as sweet smelling
- Buy young plants rather than over-grown ones
- Water immediately after planting and feed regularly
- Remove faded flowers to prevent the plant going to seed
- They’re a fantastic pollinator so are the perfect flowers for attracting bees into your garden