Sweet peas in the (sub)tropics

ianbrazil(11)January 30, 2013

My daughter-in-law has sent me some sweet peas, the peas!. Can I expect anything of them? Will it be necessary to pre-chill them before sowing?

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Hi ian,
I'm in south Florida. I don't chill them, but I do soak them for about a day. When I see they're starting to swell a little I plant them directly in the ground in a very light soil. This is the Royal Family mix with many purple & pink blooms. In my zone, they do well until about June or July when the humidity really starts. So they're a winter-spring flower in my garden.

There's a species that grows wild here in south Florida, with very small red flowers, that takes over very quickly if ignored. The of peas of this one are very small.

If the peas she sent came from up north, then maybe a chill is in order since that's what the plant they came from was used to doing-dropping them in the Fall and then they chill over winter.
The peas I sow came from a plant that was used to zone 10a. So I've never tried chilling them. Hope that helps. Go for it & have fun. Just be prepared to trellis or train them.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 10:40PM
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They don't require any type of cold stratification. I just soak or nick and soak them prior to planting. I'm in zone 7a and have a difficult time with sweet peas due to the heat. If the spring is mild enough that I can start them early and we don't get an early heat wave they do ok. Unfortunately we are often in the upper 80's by the end of May and that causes them to suffer. The only sweet peas that do really well here are the perennial variety. They come in pink and white and are quite pretty but have no scent. There might be some type of heat resistant variety that would do well in your climate.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 8:30AM
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steiconi(12a-Big Island, HI)

You might do OK if you grow them now, rather than waiting for spring. I can get a few snow peas in the winter, none at all in summer.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 12:42PM
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Can't grow anything here now except icicles. lol It's 26 F with a wind chill in the teens.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 2:46PM
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I'm near Brisbane in Australia, so probably similar climate - we don't usually get frosts.
It's "traditional" here to sow seeds about St Patrick's day (about 17th March this year) - so basically in early autumn - though really we can put them in till end of april if there is still some warmth.
They grow through autumn/winter and flower either late winter or spring.
They like a well-drained, sweet soil, so adding lime may be necessary to prep if the PH isn't already about 6-7. They also need a sunny spot and a trellis ready to climb. Not too much nitrogen - more phosphorous if you are going to fertilize.
If your soil is very light, then you could scarify the seed and soak overnight before sowing. Like most pea seed they swell up.
I don't think the source of your seed (ie if from northern hemisphere) will be relevant, it will germinate if it's given the right conditions.
Good luck, would be lovely if you posted the results later?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 1:56AM
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