The Q&A Archives: Sweet Peas

Question: I would like to know all about the planting and caring for sweet peas. I just bought the seeds.

Thank you.

Answer: There are annual sweetpeas and perennial sweetpeas, both grown for their prolific butterflylike flowers and sweet fragrance. Growing conditions are the same for both; full sunshine, moderate water during the growing season and a trellis or other support for the twining vines.

Chip the seeds or soak them in warm water 24 hours prior to sowing, planting 1/2" deep in a prepared garden bed. Early spring is the best time to sow the seeds, when the ground is still cool but no frost is expected. Keep the bed moist and seedlings should appear in 10-30 days (depending upon whether they're seeds of annuals or seeds of perennials). Fertilize your plants every 3-4 weeks with a diluted liquid fertilizer (I use 1/2 strength), and remove the spent flowers before seed pods appear (to prolong the blooming season). Sweetpeas prefer cool soils and you can apply a mulch to help retain moisture and keep the soil cool. Tie your plants to a support until they're big enough to send tendrils out on their own. Other than the above, sweetpeas are very easy to care for. Enjoy!

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