Also known as Sweet Peas.
Type - Hardy annual, Hardy annual climber
Border position - Climber
Soil type - Fertile, Neutral
Site - Full Sun
Spacing - Two plants to a vertical support, 22-30cm apart
There's lots of advice to place seeds in a damp cloth in a warm place to soften their seed coat, or soak them in water for a couple of hours before you sow and once they start to swell or sprout they are ready to be planted. Personally, I have never done this (!) and always had fantastic germination from my Sweet Peas.
Sow October - December or from January - March, two seeds in to one rootrainer or pot, if sown in Autumn keep them in a light, cool place during Winter.
Make sure you keep seeds and seedlings well away from mice - I use the top shelf in my greenhouse.
Pinch the Sweet peas when they are 10-20 cm tall - this simply means to pinch their main stem just above a leaf node. Feels harsh but this is the way to make sure you have bushy plants with more flowers.
Flower May - August if sown in Winter, June - September when sown in Spring, flower 12-14 weeks after spring sowing of seeds.
Will grow 180cm high so make sure you have something for them to climb up - that could be a trellis, some netting or a bamboo wigwam.
Many have a beautiful scent for bouquets and the more you pick the more they produce!
They will also produce seeds that you can gather at the end of the season.
Grandiflora sweet peas tent to grow more spread out along the stem, Spencer varieties will grow with less flowers, more clustered towards the top'
The seeds can attract rodents so keep them up high and with rodent-proof coverings if possible - otherwise these are simple to grow and should be a staple part of your cut flower garden.
When do I move my Sweet Peas from my kitchen windowsill?
My Sweet Peas seedlings are all long and spindly - help!
If your sweet peas are indoors and looking long, tall and spindly with no, or minimal flowers, get them out into a greenhouse, cold frame or somewhere in the garden where you can shelter them from the rain and snow. Here's where you want to trade heat for light - get them cooler, give them as much light as you can.
They are graded at H3 in terms of hardiness which means they can survive temperatures down to -5 - but if they are outside, make sure to cover with horticultural fleece if frosts are forecast.
Here's what to do if your sweetpeas (or any other seedlings) have got a little carried away...
and here's why we're doing it!