The Q&A Archives: Growing Sweet Peas

Question: My mother sent me some sweet pea seeds. When and how do I plant them, and do they like partial shade or full sun?

Answer: Varieties of Lathyrus odoratus (Sweet Peas) grow and flower exceptionally well in your gardening region. The Sweet Pea is an annual climber with winged stems and mid to dark green leaves comprising a pair of ovate-elliptical leaflets. They flower all summer until frost. Regular cutting of the flowers for display indoors encourages more flowers to develop later.

For Sweet Peas it is recommended that you incorporate organic matter into the soil prior to planting. Use aged-compost, leaf mold or peat moss, digging it in to a depth of about 6".

Seeds may be sown directly into the ground as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring or, in your mild-winter region, you can sow in the autumn. Seeds should be soaked in tepid water for 24 hours before sowing. When the seedlings have three true leaves I would pinch out the growing tip of each seedling to encourage strong basal shoots. As the basal shoots appear, provide each plant with support.

Plant in a sunny area for best flowering.

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