Anyone growing sweet peas?

lavender_lass(4b)April 3, 2011

I'm trying sweet peas, for the first time, this year. I have never had any problem growing edible peas, but I want to put sweet peas on the arches. Edible peas will be in separate areas, on expandable trellises...to keep nieces and nephews clear about which to pick and which to leave alone.

Any hints or suggestions with sweet peas? What do you plant with them, for later summer bloom? I've tried morning glories, without much luck, but I'm happy to try again. Any other ideas? Thanks in advance :)

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natal(Louisiana 8b)

First year for me. They're a spring bloomer down here.

Speaking of edible peas ... I tried a small patch this year. Next year I'll plant more. We've been eating them as a fresh snack, but tonight I actually have almost 2 tablespoons to add to Crawfish Elegante. ;)

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 7:37PM
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serenae(6)

I wintersowed the Everlasting ones, and I'm going to directly sow the...erm "regular" ones (can't remember what the variety is called). I don't know how well they're going to do here though, as the hot summers may kill them off.

The Everlasting ones don't have a scent, but they bloom over a longer period, as far as I know.

I'm using them to grow up the compost, and between two poles on my ugly shed. They disguise all sorts of ills!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 7:58PM
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quilt_mommy(5/6 Northeast Ohio)

I am growing sweet peas again this year. Last year I only grew seeds that I had gotten from trade and I think they must've been duds because none of them ever germinated. This year I'm doing Burpee's Galaxy Mix and they are already sprouting for me, yay! I may rig up something a little different for them to climb on though, they didn't seem to like this tripod contratption much because they didn't get very tall - I'd say 4 1/2 feet maybe? I think I still may do a tripod but with chicken wire instead because they really seem to like to climb on that mesh kind of wire. I planted some violas and petunias around the base for a little extra color, and in my area, even though we have hot summers these really went for a long time. I don't think I ended up ripping them out until sometime in July.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 9:52AM
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schoolhouse_gw

I try them most every year and have little luck. They sprout nicely but end up thin and sickly with only several blooms. I'm sure it's because I just don't have a spot with enough sun. The perennial sweet peas in the orchard have been there for so many years, I'm always surprised to see them return. Altho unscented, they are a pretty pale pink and have vigorous vines that climb right up and out of the tall weeds.

Love your photo quilt mommy, convinces me to try again.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 10:00AM
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floridarosez9

Once when we were kids (when Florida had a winter and spring), my dad dug a trench the entire lenth of our backyard and backfilled it 3/4 of the way full with cow manure. He planted sweet peas and as the vines grew, he kept filling the trench with more manure (sweet peas like their roots cool). The vines were at least eight feet tall and covered in blooms. I have pictures of my mom with armloads of sweet pea blooms, and we took them to our teachers at school in bouquets.

Ever since I started gardening, I attempt sweet peas almost every year. I always get a few puny vines with a few flowers but nothing compared to the ones my dad grew that year. One year, I started them under lights in my living room in July because I heard they do better the earlier you start them. I had sweet peas crawling all over my livingroom carpet, but they didn't do any better outside. Sooner or later, I guess I ought to give it up.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 1:24PM
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ianna(Z5b)

Hi Lavender,

I grow them easily. I'm sure you know this already, but just in case, you have to soak the seeds overnight before planting out. I like to creaate a teepee made of bamboo andplant about 3 seeds per pole. The more the better - that is for me. and I like to create elaborate trellises using twine and bambbo sticks.. so the fancier - the better for me. and then next season I get to redo it all over again(yeepee)

Altertnately, you could grow them with another tall growing annual - like perhaps a sunflower. Morning glory would have been too overpowering for these delicate vines.

The sweet peas look fresh in spring but by summer, they start looking dull and old. I try to extend it's flowering season by removing seeds pods which does help.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 4:27PM
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beansie

If you want to encourage bushiness in your sweet peas, you have to pick off the apical shoot when they really get growing. It makes all the difference between a lanky vine and a full one.
pick the flowers constantly, they not only look great in a vase with roses or by themselves, but it encourages more blooms.
If you use too much nitrogen fertilizer, it will encourage growth, not flowering in sweet peas. They do like rich soil, so I amend very heavily with compost before planting and then leave them alone.
extend the flowering season by picking off seed pods.
Happy growing!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 1:33PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

'....you have to soak the seeds overnight before planting out...' You can, but you don't HAVE to. I never do.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 4:30PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

Gorgeous picture of the Sweet Peas. I have never tried Sweet Peas but after reading this post and looking at the picture, I couldn't resist. I got four small packets of Sweet Pea seeds today and gonna plant them tomorrow.

I bought Elegance Mixed Colors, Royal Blue, OLd Spice and Starry Night Sweet peas.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 7:32PM
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ianna(Z5b)

Flora, it's just a method to get the peas growing faster especially since we have a shorter cool season here compared to the UK.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 8:42PM
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lavender_lass(4b)

Thank you for the responses and very nice pictures!

I didn't soak my seeds overnight, but I did soak them for half a day...but with all the rain we've had, I'm sure they're still soaking! :)

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 10:13PM
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ianna(Z5b)

half a day is good. The soaking just helps to loosen the outer coating and making it easier to revive the pea. You should start seeing flowers by next month.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 12:34PM
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mandolls(4)

Does anyone grow sweet peas in hanging baskets? If so do you keep them trimmed down? I have some growing under lights right now, they are maybe 3 inches tall, and look like miniature asparagus. At what point should I pinch them back to encourage lateral branching?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 7:34AM
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Calamity_J(z7bc)

I have some in a planter pot, and never end up doing anything with them(too busy buying/planting more plants!;) ), but right now they have come back again, and they are about 1ft high, they didn't even bloom last yr! I keep meaning to transplant them...maybe they will get moved this yr....I just can't resist a plant sale(local gardeners!)

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 8:58AM
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ianna(Z5b)

sweet peas will grow upwards and not dangle so are not good candidates for hanging baskets.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 11:52AM
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gardenbug(8b)

I have 1 package of Sweet Pea seeds and a 6' trellis with a bit of netting to grow them on, in an area that pretty much gets sun all day long.

Can someone please tell me what size pot to put them in and how do I sow the seeds? Thanks so much.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 3:47PM
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ianna(Z5b)

They don't grow deep roots but from the perspective of having to water that pot consistently - I would suggest getting the largest pot you could find. Smaller pots do tend to dry out too quickly - especially in sunny locations. I might even suggest using those water retentive gels mixed in with the soil. Sow as if you planted them in the ground. Just follow the instructions on the package.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 8:25PM
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gardenbug(8b)

Thank you ianna. So, would one package work say in a ceramic pot about 18" x 18"? I would definitely water it regularly. Maybe put some bark mulch around the top of the pot?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 9:30PM
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ianna(Z5b)

Hmm. sounds okay. that's a good size. try the entire package and make sure theres enough space per plant. thin out as necessary. Instead of putting mulch which may encourage little creatures to hide underneat it (earwigs and slugs come to mind) use a saucer at the bottom of the pot to catch the water.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 12:05AM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

I did soak my sweet pea seeds overnight and then planted them. I guess this should have been done earlier but I didn't even think of it in March. Will see if I have any sucess as I have never tried before.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 11:32AM
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ianna(Z5b)

You should be fine. These are so easy growers. I've not yet tried any sowing since it is still cold up here. We had snow and later hail yesterday..

Ianna

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 4:20PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

mandolls - about the pinching. I do it several times as soon as they start to have some true leaves. Mine were started indoors in a cold greenhouse in late January and have been out in the garden now for three weeks. They don't appear to have moved much but they will get going soon I am sure. We are having an unusually dry spring and I have actually had to water them a couple of times so far.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 4:42PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

I have grown regular eating peas and also Sugar snap peas. Both of which are easy. I am hoping Sweet Peas are just as easy.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 5:01PM
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ianna(Z5b)

just as easy. just don't eat them because they are toxic.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 9:36PM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

No, I wasn't going to eat them, just look at the pretty flowers :-))

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 10:37PM
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mandolls(4)

Flora - thanks for the pinching advice. After ianna stated that they are not good for baskets, I double checked my info. I have started dwarf sweet peas fantasia mix, which are supposed to be good for trailing, and apparently more popular in the UK than here. Mine have 2-3 sets of true leaves now, so I will start pinching.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 7:06AM
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lynnencfan(7b/8aNC)

This was beginners luck for me back in 2006 - I have NEVER been able to duplicate the show - must have been perfect conditions - I direct planted them in late January and I used bird netting as my trellis - had to pull them out in August but what a show I had that spring - smelled like heaven .....

Lynne

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 8:59AM
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schoolhouse_gw

Oh my gosh! What a beautiful sight, how I wish I could have that at least once. Your photo would make the prettiest greeting card, Lynne.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 9:41AM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

Stunning!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 12:03PM
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ianna(Z5b)

schoolhouse, you should be able to do this. Why not?

mandoll I stand corrected as I didn't know of the dwarf forms.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 12:12PM
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schoolhouse_gw

ianna, I don't seem to have the right spot for them - either there is too much shade or the soil is too thin and dry. I'll keep trying though, maybe on the bean trellis in the veg garden this year. Plenty of sun there with good soil.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 3:34PM
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lavender_lass(4b)

Schoolhouse- My mom plants them in her veggie garden, on the arches, with morning glories. By the time the morning glories take off, they cover up all the old sweet pea vines :)

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 3:40PM
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schoolhouse_gw

Then I'd better be buying me some sweet pea seeds before all the nice varieties are gone. When I'll be able to get them in the ground is another thing. If it would just warm up a bit and stay that way for awhile.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 7:22PM
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ianna(Z5b)

yeah It's been cold on my end too. I'm waiting for a good warming to start off the seeds. I get my sweetpeas from a company that sells heirloom seeds. Their plants are so fragrant and so bright.

I was wondering about experimenting on sweet peas. Since they do well only in cool weather and start looking old by summer, I was wondering what if I plant them again in late august so that by sept and early oct. I would have flowes again? I just wonder. it may work.What do you think?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 11:10PM
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mary_lu_gw

Have any of you tried growing the perennial sweet pea? I did several years ago and they do great. But tend to reseed themselves quite abundantly. I have given seeds to many family and friends. They do tend to grow a large root mass after a few years. Ask me how I know? (tried to dig one up for my sister) We found out it is better to start them from seed than to transplant them.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 11:29PM
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lynnencfan(7b/8aNC)

I love the pink flowers on the perennial ones but they are considered a weed down here and are very aggressive. I pull the vines out by the wheelbarrel load every spring - I think their roots go to China. I wish they had a scent but sadly they don't .....

Lynne

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 9:16AM
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schoolhouse_gw

I can find some nice heirloom sweet pea seeds at a local nursery. They order a rack of different varieties of flower seeds from Renee's Garden every year. It's such a chilly, drizzly day here today, perhaps a trip out there would cheer me up.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 10:12AM
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ttandcindy_aol_com

wondering if anyone has had experience with the most fragrant sweet pea? Burpee lists one called ' high scent'
I have little experience with growing them, but I am learning. Wonderful info on this blog, thanks to all!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 10:38AM
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sarahrock(6)

I'm trying some high scent this year, but they are not looking very promising. I'm hoping that one all this rain and overcast weather moves along I'll get some action from them. And I didn't think to pinch them, but thanks to this thread I will do that as soon as I get home from work today!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 10:50AM
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newyorkrita(z6b/7a LI NY)

My sweet peas I planted have come up but they are tiny little things. At this rate they will never get to bloom!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 1:53PM
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schoolhouse_gw

No such luck at finding the heirloom seed this year at the nursery, they've stopped carrying Renee's Seeds. :( Next year, I 'll order online.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 2:47PM
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olivia13043(Zone 7)

I bought heirloom seeds from Montecelo a few years back and they were slow to grow but bloomed last year so-so. This year the vines are wrinkled and appears to have mildew. Any help?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 3:35PM
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schoolhouse_gw

Olivia, I replied to your post above about planting the Orchids for the first time and how well they are doing - so far. I did find them at Renee's Garden last Spring (of 2012).

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 6:57PM
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