The Q&A Archives: Starting Sweet Peas Indoors

Question: I would like to start sweet peas indoors and have them ready to plant by the last of April. When should I start them?

Answer: Sweet peas do not like root disturbance, which make them difficult to transplant. In areas with long, cool springs, they should be planted right in the garden. But because they prefer cool temperatures, it's a good idea to give them a head start in regions like yours where spring quickly turns to summer.

Sow seeds directly into individual peat pots, so you can just peel back the pot and pop the root ball into the garden. Plant 2 seeds to a pot, but only allow one to grow, cutting off the weaker one after the plants are 2 inches tall. Since you want them in the garden in April, the seeds should be sown in early March. Because of their resistance to transplanting, be sure to harden them off well before setting them in the garden.

Even though short-lived, their fragrance and old-fashioned charm makes them worth the extra effort. Enjoy!

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