Sweet peas, all I can say we love growing sweet peas in our backyard garden. From there fragrance which you can smell as soon as you open the back door to go outside, to their flowers which there are so many different colours, and the colours can have so much depth. Most of our sweet peas are self-seeded, so we have these amazing flowers comeback, year and year again with very limited effort. Sweet peas can be both grown in the ground or in pots.
When to Plant Your Sweet Peas
We have 2 times of the year that sweet peas flower which is Autumn and Spring. When planting in Autumn we like to sow the seeds in March, keeping them in a cool area until the weather cools down, which generally is in April. When planting your sweet peas for Spring we like to have our seeds sown in early August, so the seedlings are ready for transplanting in early September. Sweet peas take 12-14 weeks to flower so if you’re planning an event and want your sweet peas flowering just remember you will need to plant your seeds even earlier.
How to Plant Your Sweet Pea Seeds
Sweet peas can both planted directly into the ground or into seedling trays. We prefer to plant them into seedling trays as its easier to control the environment and keep pests at bay. Sweet peas germinate in 14-21 days and germinate best when soil temperatures are between 13 to 18 degrees Celsius. Once the sweet peas have 3 to 4 pairs of leaves or are between 5-10cm in height, they are ready to transplant.
How to Plant Your Sweet Pea Seedlings
Sweet peas are best grown in full sun but can tolerate part shade. Before transplanting your sweet pea seedlings, you will need to prepare the soil and setup something for them to climb on, a frame, canes or a structure such as a mesh fence which is what we use. When preparing the soil we like to add some homemade compost, well composted manure, blood and bone, good organic slow release fertilser and mulch.
How to Care For Sweet Peas
Sweet peas are easy to care for, but do require a little attention as you will need to secure them to your climbing structure. Its optional but you can pinch out the growing tips to help encourage bushier growth, which also helps to make stronger stems and more flowers. Dead heading flowers will encourage the plant to produce more flowers.
Common Problems With Growing Sweet Peas
We haven’t had any major problems when growing sweet peas other than the odd snails and slugs.
Snails and Slugs
We have snails and slugs to be a issue when the seedlings are young. After transplanting the seedlings, we like to return that night and inspect for snails and slugs. Most times this is when we find them out trying to decimate our sweet pea seedlings. We just remove them and dispose of them. If you’re having a major issue with snails and slugs, here is how we deal with them.
Here are some other issues you may come across, however we haven’t yet.
These are a small sap sucking insect which you will find on new shoots and the underside of leaves. They can also cause the leaves to become wilted and discoloured. Aphids can be treated by either squashing them with your fingers or washing them off with the garden hose. If the whole plant is infested we recommend in spraying with a horticultural oil.
This is a fungal disease which causes grey-brown to yellow patches on the leaves. Its not an easy disease to control but can be prevented by watering at soil level and make sure plants have good airflow and aren’t overcrowded. If the plant does become affected by downy mildew, prune off diseased foliage and if the whole plant is affected, remove it before it transfer to other plants.