“There are few pleasures like really burrowing one’s nose into sweet peas.” – Angela Thirkell
Sweet peas make for an excellent addition to any garden. They carry a heavy scent, which is a big part of what makes them so appealing. These blossoms work just as well as border plants as they do on a trellis. They also look wonderful as cut flowers in a vase bouquet.
Let’s take a closer look at how to grow and care for sweet peas so you can burrow your nose into them too!
Jump To a Section Below
- What Are Sweet Pea Flowers?
- How To Grow Sweet Peas
- Caring For Your Sweet Peas
- Common Mistakes When Growing Sweet Peas
- Common Questions
- Sweet Pea Flower Meaning
What Are Sweet Pea Flowers?
The beloved sweet pea is a climbing plant that bears clustered flowers in a range of colours, including white, purple, pink, red and blue. These blooms look a bit like snapdragons and resemble fringed butterflies, and the stems look as though they’re folded. These stems are, however, sturdy enough to hold up their bountiful flowers. When sweet pea plants mature, the vines stretch to between six and eight feet tall.
There are several varieties of sweet peas, many of which have been cultivated for their vibrant colours and intense fragrance. However, newer variants of the plant are less fragrant.
Despite their delightful name, sweet pea plants are toxic, and the seeds should never be ingested by humans or animals.
How To Grow Sweet Peas
Planting sweet peas is a fairly simple process. Just be sure to stick to the following guidelines:
When to Plant Sweet Peas
Where to Plant Sweet Peas
Sweet peas will thrive when their heads are in the sun and their roots are deep in cool, moist soil. If possible, plant low-growing plants in front of them to shade their roots. Make sure that your planting site is well-drained.
How to Plant Sweet Peas
Use alkaline soil as it is the best to use for sweet peas. If your soil tends to be acidic, sprinkle some powdered lime on the surface.
Caring For Your Sweet Peas
Caring for sweet peas is simple.
The first thing to remember is that these plants are real climbers. When planting them, consider giving them at least six feet of good support. Some varieties of sweet pea may climb up to nine or 10 feet. If you don’t have a fence or trellis for your sweet peas to grow on, provide them with something else to cling to, such as brush or chicken wire.
Once planted, the germination of sweet pea plants can take between seven and 15 days depending on the soil temperature. As your seedlings emerge, hoe more soil up to them. Be sure to keep the soil moist.
Summer rain may be enough for your sweet peas to survive. However, to make sure that they are getting enough water, push your finger into the soil up to the first joint. If the soil feels bone dry, water the plant in the morning. Watering these plants in the morning is key, as sweet peas can easily suffer from bud drop.
Once your sweet pea is an established plant, throw some mulch on the surface of the soil. This will keep it cool and moist and will greatly reduce the frequency of watering needed.
To encourage bushy growth and blossoming, be sure to gently pinch off the tops of plants that are six inches or taller. By frequently picking flowers, you will see the plant put more energy into blooming.
Common Mistakes When Growing Sweet Peas
Avoid these most common mistakes associated with planting sweet peas.
Why Are There No Flowers On My Sweet Peas?
While it is quite easy to care for sweet peas, there are some factors to consider in terms of your plant flowering.
First, check if your sweet pea is getting enough light. While they do need to have shade, they also need a bit of sunlight.
Second, consider the fertiliser you are using. Avoid using soil that is rich in nitrogen, as this will discourage blooming and instead encourage the further growth of foliage.
Why Are My Sweet Pea’s Leaves Turning Yellow?
If your sweet pea’s leaves are turning yellow, it’s generally an indication that the bottom of the plant has been over-watered.
Another cause could be the compost being too rich, which leads to the roots of the plant burning.
Why Don’t My Sweet Peas Smell?
The fragrance of sweet peas can vary depending on the variety of the plant. Some of the most recent hybrids to come about aren’t as fragrant as the older ones. Factors like rain, high temperatures, the time of day and the age of the flower also play a role in influencing the fragrance of the flowers.
What Month Do Sweet Peas Flower?
If they are well established, most sweet pea plants will flower within the first month of spring.
Are Sweet Peas Annual Or Perennial?
In general, sweet pea plants are considered to be annual. However, there are a few perennial cultivars. These tend to be a lot less fragrant.
Do Sweet Peas Come Back Every Year?
There are different types of sweet peas and they all fall into one of two categories. Annuals last for just one season. On the other hand, perennials come back each year but tend to be less fragrant.
How Long Does It Take For Sweet Peas To Bloom?
Depending on the cultivar, sweet peas generally begin to bloom between 90 and 120 days after their seeds are planted.
Should You Dead Head Sweet Peas?
Sweet peas don’t really require deadheading to properly develop. However, if you want to encourage bushier foliage and more flowers, deadheading is the way to go.
Are Sweet Peas Poisonous For Dogs?
Sweet peas are poisonous to dogs and other small animals. While their name suggests them to be a delicious treat, they should not be ingested. Sweet peas contain a toxic chemical called aminopropionitrile which causes musculoskeletal and central nervous system problems.
Sweet Pea Flower Meaning
Sweet peas are long associated with saying goodbye and thank you. The flowers are also representative of blissful pleasure. Along with the daisy, they are the official birth flower for the month of April, and make for a wonderful gift, either in a pot ready for planting or a vase!