Learn How to grow Sweet Pea from Seed! The highly Scented Sweet Pea with its slender stems and paper-like flowers are an absolute must for the traditional English Garden. Grow your very own Sweet Pea for blooms that keep coming month after month.
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What is a Sweet Pea ?
The Scientific name for Sweet Pea is Lathyrus odoratus, meaning Fragrant and Attractive. Sweet Peas are a member of the Fabaceae family. Sweet Pea is not to be confused with the everlasting pea Lathyrus latifolius, which looks similar to it. One main difference being that the Sweet pea is an annual plant, while the everlasting pea is a perennial.
The Beauty Of Sweet Pea
Sweet peas are mainly grown for their beauty and wonderful fragrance. They have petals similar to a butterfly’s wings, prone to fluttering elegantly against the breeze. They Bloom In late spring or early summer, in a Kaleidoscope of colours including red, pink, purple, orange and white. Often trained up a structure of some type, generally bamboo tepees. *These structures are very necessary due to the Sweet Peas climbing habit…they can reach up to heights of 8ft tall!
Sweet Pea Origins
Sweet peas may be an English Favourite but they are not native to our lands. They originally hailed from Sicily, Cyprus and Southern Italy. It was a Sicilian monk whom is credited with sending the first Sweet Pea seeds to England back in the 17th century. They soon became very popular especially in the late-Victorian era after being cultivated by the Horticulturist Henry Eckford. Henry Eckford’s efforts earned him the well earned title of ‘Father Of The Sweet Pea’ he became the most famous breeder of Sweet Peas, turning the once minor flower into a leader among the annuals.
What does the Sweet Pea Symbolise ?
The Sweet Pea is a romantic flower, traditionally in bloom on 21st June, the longest day of the year. It universally symbolises kindheartedness and love.
Sweet Pea Symbolism by colour
- White – Commonly associated with innocence and purity, a popular flower for weddings
- Purple – Purple sweet peas represent pride.
- Orange – Orange Sweet pea flowers symbolise Spirit and excitement.
- Pink – Symbolic of beauty and youth.
- Red – Red is commonly for passion, desire and love
How To Grow Sweet Pea
How to Sow Sweet Pea Seeds
Or…Learn how to save your own Sweet Pea Seeds!
Sow Sweet Pea seeds in Autumn or Spring in deep pots(Sweet Peas have very long roots), Use a good quality compost and sow 2-3 Sweet Pea seeds to a pot, this ensures at least one will germinate. Sow the seeds 1cm deep, cover with compost, place on a sunny windowsill and water well.
You can also group sow in a deep pot. Simply separate each seedling and plant out once they are large enough to handle
Growing Sweet Peas
When the plants are around 10 cm tall, pinch out the growing tip to encourage bushier growth. Plant them out in mid-spring once all risk of frost has passed, keep them well watered. Construct a frame of some sort for the Sweet Peas to climb. Most varieties have tendrils that will ‘self-cling’ to their supports, but some varieties may need tying in. Plant in a Sunny Spot.
*Top Tip for longer Sweet Pea Stems
If you are primarily growing Sweet Peas for the purpose of Cut Flowers, you’ll want nice long stems on your Sweet Peas. To ensure you don’t end up with stumpy stems, remove the tendrils and secure the Sweet Peas to the frame with twine. Removing the tendrils forces the plant to put more energy into the stems and not the tendrils, creating taller vase friendly blooms.
How to Care For Sweet Peas
When the flowers begin to appear, treat with Tomato food. Very Important…Keep picking! Regular picking will encourage more flowers and prevent the plants from setting seed.
Want to save Sweet Pea Seeds for sowing next year?
Want to Learn More?
Take a look at these posts for some Flower Growing Inspiration!
Want to Grow a Vegetable Garden?
Are you a fan of Sweet Peas?
Let me know in the comments below. Sweet pea Pictures? I would love to see them, tag me on Instagram, I love to share my favourites on my stories