The Q&A Archives: sweet peas and Angel's Trumpet

Question: Please give info. on the above 2 plants- care, location, watering, etc. thanks

Answer: Lathyrus odoratus, or Sweet Pea are annual climbers bearing clusters of flowers in a wide variety of colors including red, pink, blue, white and lavender. The stems appear folded and the flowers resemble fringed butterflies. The old-fashioned varieties were selected for their vibrant colors and intense fragrance. Many modern cultivars are on the market offering sweet peas in almost every color except yellow. Not all Sweet pea varieties are fragrant. They have a long season of bloom and make excellent cut flowers.

Grow in full sunshine. Sweet peas are usually direct seeded. To assist germination, seeds should be nicked or soaked in water for several hours, to soften the seed coating. Seed can be started outdoors, as soon as the ground has warmed to about 50 degrees F. and is not too wet. At about 3-6", pinch the seedlings to encourage strong side shoots. Seed can be started earlier indoors, in pots. Pinch off all flowers and buds when transplanting seedlings, to encourage root development.
Sweet pea vines have tendrils and will attach themselves to most any type of support with meshing or lines. Regular deadheading or cutting for display, will keep them blooming longer. Sweet peas require regular watering, especially as the temperature increases. They prefer a somewhat rich soil and can be fed monthly with a fertilizer high in potassium, as used for tomatoes. Adding a bit of blood meal to the soil is thought to help keep the stems long and suitable for cutting.

There are few pests or problems associated with sweet peas. They are usually done in by the heat.

Angel's Trumpet are easy to grow. They prefer full sun, but will tolerate partial shade. They grow best in damp weather conditions, with warm days and cool nights. Plants like a rich soil to fuel their fast growth. Mix a healthy dose of compost into the soil prior to planting.

Plants like a lot of water and nutrients. Keep soil moist. Add general purpose fertilizer when planting, and every two to three weeks during the season. Switch to a high phosphorous formula just before the blooming period.

Angel Trumpet Flower are often grown in pots. Make sure to use a big container for this big, fast growing plant. You may need to water it daily during hot, dry weather.

Keep the areas weeded when plants are young. A layer of mulch will keep weeds down, and create a neat appearance. The mulch also helps to feed the big appetite of this plant.

Best wishes with your garden!

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