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How to Grow Sweet Pea


Annual, perennial, Lathyrus

Sweet Peas are an old fashioned flower, a favorite in the home garden. Most likely Grandma grew them. Chances are, you are carrying on the tradition. These fragrant charmers were brought to you from Europe. There is a large variety of both annual and perennial varieties. How many varieties, you ask? There's well over 1,000 to choose from!

There are vining and non-vining varieties producing an early bloom in cool weather. Non-vining varieties grow 1-2 feet tall. Vining varieties can grow 10-12 feet, or more. Flowers grow up to 2-3 inches in diameter. Sweet Pea colors include blue, white, pink, cream, and purple flowers. Purple is by far the most common and most popular.

Sweet Peas are a hardy annual  that thrives in cool weather.  The plants can survive frosts, freezes, and a snow cover. That's how their cousin the vegetable "Snow Peas" got their name.

They can be grown in your flower garden, or scattered as a wildflower.

Tree Branch

Plant Propagation:

Sweet Peas are grown from seed. Directly seed them into your flower garden in the spring.

Sow Sweet Pea seeds 6 inches apart and 1 to 1/12 inches deep.

Once your plants have been established, they usually reseed themselves.

These fast sprouting, fast growing plants are not good candidates for an indoor start.

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How to Grow Sweet Peas:

Sweet Pea plants are very, very easy to grow. They prefer full sun and cool weather. The plants do well in a variety of soils, but prefer rich soil. They are not bothered by cold, wet soils.

Water them during dry periods, once or twice per week. For maximum growth and bloom, add a general purpose fertilizer, once a month.

For vining types, plant them along a fence or pole. Or, provide a trellis for them to climb.

Sweet Pea are also considered wildflowers. Once established, they will thrive and spread easily. If in a flower garden, they can get out of hand easily and overcrowd other flowers.

 To promote continuous blooming, pinch off spent blooms to before the seed begins to form.

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Insect and Disease:

Sweet Peas are popular among a variety of insects, birds and butterflies. The most common insect problems include aphids and root borers. Insecticides and repellents are usually effective. Slugs can also be a problem.

In  very wet and cold weather, mildew and fungus can invade your plants. Use fungicides early, before disease gets a foothold.

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Insect and Disease:

Insect and disease problems are infrequent. Apply insecticides or fungicides only as needed.

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