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How to Grow Sweet Pea Flower Plants

Annual, perennial, Lathyrus

Flowering Sweet Peas are fragrant, and have an old-fashioned charm! They were brought to the New World from Europe. There are annual and perennial varieties in a range of colors including blue, white, pink, cream, and purple flowers. They can be grown in your flower garden, or scattered as a wildflower.

Sweet Peas plants are a hardy annual . They thrive in cool weather.  They can survive frosts, freezes, and a snow cover.  That's how their cousin the vegetable "Snow peas" got their name. Vining and non-vining varieties exist,  producing an early bloom in cool weather. Non-vining varieties will grow 1-2 feet tall, while vining types can grow 5-7 feet or more.

Did you know? There are over 1,000 varieties of Sweet Pea.

Plant Height: Smaller varieties: 12" - 18"; larger varieties: 4 to 6 feet

Plant Propagation:

Sweet Peas are grown from seed. Directly plant Sweet Pea seeds into your flower garden in the early spring. Sow seeds 6 inches apart and 1 to 1/12 inches deep.

You can also start seeds indoors, to transplant later. For an indoor start, plant seeds 4 6 weeks before the last frost in your area.

Garden Tip: Nick seeds and soak in water overnight, to speed germination.

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

Days to Germination: 10 - 21

How to Grow Sweet Pea Plants:

Sweet Pea plants are very easy to grow. They grow best in full sun and cool weather. They will do well in a variety of soils, but prefer rich soil. Being an early, cool weather plant, they do not mind cool or cold weather, or wet soils.

Water them during dry periods, once or twice per week. Add a general purpose fertilizer once or twice a season. They require little maintenance.

For vining types, provide something for them to climb and they will rapidly ascend skyward.

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.

Tip: To keep the flowers blooming, pick spent blooms before the seed begins to form.

Flowers Bloom: Spring through Summer

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. More on Slug control.

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

More Gardening Information:

How to Grow Sweet Pea Plants


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