Sweet Peas

How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Sweet Pea Flowers

Sweet Peas


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With their fragile, seductive fragrance, Sweet peas make great flowers for gardens and bouquets. These pea-like flowering annuals grow in many lovely colors and are suitable for a border, a woodland garden, and a trellis or arch.

Cultivated sweet peas go back at least 300 years. In their native Sicily, these ornamental peas have weak stems and an intense orange-jasmine-honey scent. Modern hybrids are stronger-stalked and have larger blooms.

Growing sweet peas is akin to making a pie crust. Some people have the knack, others don’t. Sweet peas are quite hardy, growing from large, easy-to-handle, pea-like seeds. Still, they’re a bit tricky because they are slow to germinate. It’s worth experimenting with different seeds each year.


  • Early sowing is one of the secrets of sweet peas. In Zone 7 or colder, plant them in very late winter or early spring as soon as the soil is dry enough to work. (Do not wait until last frost.) In the coldest parts of the country, get a jump on the season by starting sweet peas indoors in six-packs or Jiffy pots. Harden seedlings off for at least a week, and then set them out into the garden as soon as the soil can be worked. If you garden in mild winter climates (Zones 8, 9, or 10), plant sweet peas in the late fall so they can develop and bloom in late winter and early spring.
  • Sweet peas are happiest with their heads in the sun and their roots deep in cool, moist soil. When possible, plant low-growing annuals in front of them to shade their roots.
  • Choose a well-drained site. Alkaline soil is best; sprinkle some powdered lime on the surface if your soil tends to be acidic.
  • Prepare a rich soil by mixing in generous amounts of compost and well-rotted manure to a depth of 2 feet. (Learn more about soil amendments and preparing soil for planting.)
  • Prior to planting, you’re going to want to dig a nice deep trench of about 4 inches in depth.
  • After you dig the trench, make holes with a pencil, drop in the seeds, and press down on the soil to firm it and shut out any light.
  • Before planting, soak the seeds in water for 24 hours. Then nick the seeds with a nail file before planting to speed sprouting. You do not need to soak seeds in a temperate climate.


  • Once planted, germination can take 7 to 15 days, depending on the soil temperature.
  • As seedlings emerge and grow, gradually fill in the trench. Hoe more soil up to them.
  • Keep soil moist. Summer rain may be ample. If you put your finger into the soil bed to its first joint and the soil is dry: water them at the soil level and do so in the morning; sweet peas can suffer from bud drop.
  • If you use plenty of aged manure and compost when planting, you do not need to fertilize. If you do want to add nourishment, use high potash feeds, as nitrogen feeds encourage too much top growth.
  • Sweet peas prefer cool days and nights and will start to fade when temperatures go above 65°F.
  • Except for the bush types, sweet peas are real climbers. Give them at least 6 feet of good support. Some varieties may climb to 9 or 10 feet. If you don’t have a fence or trellis, provide brush or chicken wire or bushy, stubbly twigs that they can cling to.
  • When plants become established, mulch well to keep the soil cool and moist. If you mulch, you may not need to water your sweet peas unless the soil gets dry.
  • To encourage bushy growth, pinch off the tops when plants are 6 inches tall—not before or you’ll encourage premature side-shoot development.
  • Pick the flowers for bouquets often and the plant will put energy into more blooms instead of going to seed. Harvest the stems when the lowest blossom is just beginning to open.


Recommended Varieties

Wit & Wisdom

  • The sweet pea is an essential member of a late-Victorian garden. Victorians loved sweet peas for their color diversity and fragrance.
  • Gather the flowers in the morning when the dew is still on them. This is when their scent is the sweetest.
  • Sweet peas are one of the April birth flowers.

“The odor of the sweet pea is so offensive to flies that it will drive them out of a sick-room, though not in the slightest degree disagreeable to the patient.”
–A tip from The 1899 Old Farmer’s Almanac

Sweet Pea
(Delicate Pleasures)
“Here are sweet peas, on tip-toe for a flight:
With wings of gentle flush o’er delicate white,
And taper fingers catching at all things,
To bind them all about with tiny rings.”

–John Keats (1795–1821)

Reader Comments

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sweet peas

My daughter is planning an Oct wedding and would like sweet peas in her bouquet--I have started some indoors, they have just germinated and the seedlings are a few inches tall. It is way too hot here in the Midwest in July for outdoor transplant. Can I keep them indoors near a sunny window till cooler weather in Sept? or can I continue to grow them indoors till they flower? Thankyou

Sweet peas in autumn

This is a tough one. We are inclined to think that sweet peas’ needs are so particular that keeping them indoors for the entire growing period would not give you the results you want. (See specifics above.) You could transplant some in, say, mid-August and some later (and maybe not transplant a few to see how they go indoors). Per above, if you can keep their “feet” cool, you might have success in August. Keep in mind, too that sweet peas like sun, and the days are (already!) getting shorter. We suggest getting the seeds out when you can to give them plants the best chance to mature.

We also suggest that you contact your local cooperative extension service (find your state here and click through: http://www.almanac.com/plant/sweet-peas). They are local experts and may even have experience with your situation.

Transplanting Sweet Peas

I started sweet peas from seed indoors in March. They are now in 4" pots in my window sill and the vines are 4-6" long. I know it's time for a transplant, but I live in Virginia in zone 7 where I am afraid these sweet peas will not survive the outside heat. I was thinking about trying to keep them indoors until the fall but I will need to find something for them to climb, as they are hanging down the edge of the wall now. Any recommendations on what I can do to keep them going until I can get them into the ground when it's cooler?

when to plant sweet peas

Broadly speaking, based on the planting advice above, you would have been safe planting the seeds in the spring, being in Zone 7; of course, micro-climate conditions can put you into a higher zone. But here are a few ideas:

You can transplant them outside in part shade, in well-drained soil (not clay). They like sunshine, but they like cool soil. Organic mulch will help that, but certain mulches can also harbor slugs, especially the coarser materials such as bark mulch or straw. Fine organic matter isn’t as attractive to slugs.

You can also try planting your sweet peas in containers outdoors, using the potting soil etc. that you have. In the heat of the afternoon, provide some shade for them, or wheel them into a shady spot.

Read above about care and pests.

We hope this helps!

mature sweet pea

I have a sweet pea that I moved about 7 years ago from my aunts home...we put it in a spot "temporaily" until we found a better place for it...and its still there! I live in zone 5...when and how can we transplant to another location..so that we can have it grow up instead of lieing on the the ground...thank you!

when to transplant sweet peas

Sweet peas love cool weather; it might be getting too hot for them now. If you’d like to try, however, you can transplant them to a part shade area, in well-drained soil (not clay). They like sunshine, but they like cool soil. Organic mulch will help that, but certain mulches can also harbor slugs, especially the coarser materials such as bark mulch or straw. In the heat of the afternoon, they will need shade. Choose your planting site wisely. Good luck!

Sweet Peas

Is it possible to grow sweet pea in a indoor greenhouse?

growing sweet peas

Yes, you can start sweet pea seeds indoors in a greenhouse. Here in northern climates, we sow mid-April and grow indoors for 3 to 4 weeks before transplanting outside.

Washington state is what zone?

I'm in Washington State. What zone am I? When should I start planting my sweet pea seeds so I can get it in Early or late Spring?

I planted mine in March and now they're about 5 ft tall. It probably bloom will July. Any tricks so I can them sooner?

sweet peas

Washington has quite a range—mostly 6am to 8b. So it depends where in Washington. See the Plant Hardiness Map: http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/

If you planted by the spring equinox in March, you should probably see blooms by the summer equinox in June.

Long Island, NY

I believe I am in zone 7, and I would love to plant sweet peas. Sadly, I think it is too late to get them this year, but perhaps next. What variety will produce large pink or purple flowers on long stems for cutting?

growing sweet peas

If you’re in zone 7 (or south), you could go for fall planting.  Sweet Pea-Mammoth is a variety with large flowers on long stems.

sweet peas planted with sugar snap peas

I planted sweet peas next to my sugar snap peas. They are both blooming at the same time. I just learned the sweet peas are poisonous to eat. Should I not eat my sugar snap peas because they might be poisonous from cross pollination with the sweet peas?

Sweet peas turned yellow

I live in Houston,TX. What zone is that? It got cool for a few days. Is it just not possible to grow sweet peas here? Are there other vines that I could plant now?

Plant Hardiness

Hi Laura,

You are in zone 11, which includes all of Texas. In your area, it’s best to plant sweet peas in the fall to develop in the winter. Sweet peas like cool, moist soil and can yellow easily in the heat. Another good vine you could grow now would be summer squash, which can spread out on the ground. The big leaves of squash plants naturally keep the soil beneath cool and help to prevent water evaporation. Learn more about squash growing here: http://www.almanac.com/plant/squash-and-zucchini 

We hope this helps! 

Growing sweetpeas

As a child I remember eating sweet pea pods from a hedge around a neighbour's garden - they were delicious! I would love to grow plants for my grandchildren to enjoy as I am trying to encourage them to enjoy gardening and the magic of growing things for themselves ... now I read that the sweetpea pods are poisonous?? I find that rather alarming so just want confirmation ... is this really true? I certainly survived the experience without any after effects ... please clarify for me.

sweet but poisonous peas

Sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus), the flowering plant such as pictured above, are poisonous.

Sweet peas (Pisum sativum) the vegetable, which also send up flowers before the pods (that eventually contain the vegetables), are not poisonous. You are probably remembering eating the vegetables. Click here for more information about the choices of those and recommendations for planting: http://www.almanac.com/plant/peas It’s time to plant your peas!

sweet pea planting

I live in the foothills above Sacramento, Sunset Garden zone 9. We have had an extremely wet winter/spring. Is it too late for me to plant sweet peas? Is it best to plant directly in the soil, or should I transplant from pots? These are my favorite flower!

growing sweet peas

Yes, it’s too late to plant sweet peas in your zone. As stated above, you plant sweet peas in late winter or early spring, well before frost. In zone 9, however, gardeners plant sweet peas even earlier in mid-fall to maximize winter and spring flowering. Sweet peas need cold temperatures for a good start and they like cold nights, too. Sweet peas do best when direct seeded in the garden in prepared soil. Give them deep, rich, loamy, moist but well-drained soil. Add plenty of organic matter (compost, well-rotted manure, leaf mold, or humus) to enrich the soil. Ensure they have a site with sun to partial sun.

Fearing I killed my sweet pea seedlings

Thank you for this service and for a great website with lots of wonderful flower information. For 6 weeks, I have nursed along many sweet pea seedlings in my Iowa (z5) location and was planning to plant them outside in mid-March. Last week, I started hardening them off on my screened porch for increasing hours each day while watching the weather and temps for the week ahead. Thinking I was going to plant them out tomorrow, two nights ago, I covered them with blankets on my porch all night long, but it was very cold (12 degrees). I thought they had been hardened and were covered properly, but the dirt in their peat pots was frozen hard the next morning. Now, two days later, they seem very limp and there is some yellowing on the edges of the leaves. Do you think I froze them to death, or do you think they will spring back as it gets warmer? Thanks in advance.

frost damage

Only time will tell. Sweet peas are fairly tolerant to mild frost. I’m guessing it will depend on the health of the seedling as to whether it can bounce back. If the roots are still OK, then the plant might be able to re-grow. If the transplants are of enough size, you might pinch off any blackened leaves/stems. Otherwise, you might just give them extra protection and care, providing as ideal growing conditions as you can, then see if they perk up again. It may take a little time, though, for them to fully recover. Good luck!

sweet peas

The very best ever seen and complete help on article, my grandfather raised them always in Maine and I moved to Washington state awhile ago and saw some growing near the
salt wter and bushy so brought them home and nothing happened for 2 years and finally this year they came up in all
their glory and beautiful purple and red and strong, very much
so in the branches and climbed about 3 feet and strongly bushed out and bloomed all summer. if i cut them back will
they not climb again from roots? One of your articles said to
cut them back i believe but save the root? Have relied on
the Old Farmers Almanac all!!! my 87 years!!! Keep up the
fabulous work. Thank you

Sweet sweet peas

Hi, Evangeline, Thank you for your kind words. Sweet peas are annuals; you should not expect them to last into another season.
We do not know what took these so long to flourish, but it sounds like they were lovely. Perhaps you can get a similar seed next season. Note that these were the vining type; there is also a bush type that will not spread the same way.

Thanks again for all of your enthusiasm. We hope this answers your question.


iam very happy

sweet peas

i grew sweet peas, backyard, they need a fence or trellis to climb, tendrils hold the vines up, delicate blooms spread a subtle perfume


I live in the Northwest Territories of Canada. My sweet peas are up and have gorgeous flowers but there is no fragrance. We have had cold and continuous rainy weather. Too much rain?

Sweet Pea Fragrance

Some varieties are more fragrant than others (typically, the larger the flower, the milder the fragrance). Heirloom and Heritage varieties tend to be the most fragrant. You may have a variety that is genetically light in fragrance.

Sweet peas

I moved into my home last June ,now my Sweet Peas are out again for the second time and I love them .Their sent is wonderful. I wonder if I can harvest the pods and take out the seeds and plant them for in house till next years planting out side and as gifts. Any ideas, thanks . Mark

Growing Sweet Peas

If you are able to dry your seeds and store them properly (don’t plant them), you have a good shot at growing new plants with them next year. To store the seeds: Place them in an airtight, watertight container such as a jar with a rubber seal or a Ziplock bag inside a jar. Keep the seeds cool (ideally, below 50°F); you could also put them in a jar and store them in your refrigerator or freezer. Then, in the early spring, start them inside.

My small victory with the Little Sweetheart sweet peas

I was determined to grow a sweet pea but the weather in Washignton DC is so extreme that it has been difficult to get a plant to bloom. This year on Feb 1, 2016 I planted Little Sweethearts, a petite variety that is supposed to grow bushy.
I began them indoors: after soaking the seeds overnight, 1 set was planted directly into a 6inch by 6 inch container, and others in little starter cans that would later be transplanted to larger containers once the weather warmed up. February was cold; the seedlings emerged within a week, germinating nicely but remained indoors for the month. In March I gradually moved everything outside, occasionally bringing the plants back indoors if the weather got too cold.
I was plagued by little soil gnats, and no amount of using Natria or Neem oil pest control could get rid of them. I even tried putting garlic on the soil hoping the smell would drive them away, but to no avail.
We had a few stellar days in April, but May was unusually cool for this area. And I think that helped the plants. In late April-May I began adding a few drops of liquid fertilizer when watering. Unfortunately all the transplanted seedlings gradually died off - I think the shock was too much for them. It was so disappointing to see that even though they appeared to initially thrive, they just dried up bit by bit.
However,the plant that had been started off in the 6by6 container which had not been transplanted, did really well. I watched with bated breath as miniature buds formed - one has already dropped, but the other swelled up, and grew ... and bloomed into a marvelous pink little flower. It was miraculous to watch it go from a hairy little green bud, to a little off-white looking emergence, and then hints of pink which finally deepened into a spectacular flower on June 12th. It took a full 4 months and 2 weeks for this to happen. The flower does not seem to have any scent but is lovely nonetheless.
I still have a handful of soil gnats, but I think with the weather warming up they are gradually disappearing. In the meantime, the plant seems to have a few other small buds debating on whether to grow...I am hoping the temperatures stay lower than normal for this region (it has been in the low 80s in June thus far).
It is such a treat to have my morning coffee, and taking in this spectacular beauty. It's a great way to start the day before the chaos of work sets in.

Sweet Peas

I grow sweet peas wherever I live. I am now in Victoria, BC, Canada. I am thrilled to have picked my first bouquet today, and more are blooming to follow. There are lots of flowers coming, and they are growing higher. They are my every year favourites!

I am a bit concerned about keeping the roots cool, as there is not much shade where they are growing against the house, and some bottom leaves are turning yellow. Is this yellow caused by dryness or heat or what else could it be?

I don't want them to die back, as they are doing so well, and I love them. I am planning to add mulch, and maybe more soil asap.

What do you suggest so that the yellow leaves don't get any worse?
Thank you.

Hi Ann,

Hi Ann,

Over-watering can lead to root rot and yellow leaves. It may also be lack of magnesium in the soil. To cool the roots you can put some ice cubes in a few small pots with holes in the bottom and place them around the sweet peas.

Sunlight for Sweet Peas

How many hours of sun does sweet peas need? I have been planting them where they only get about 3 hours worth of direct sun in the later afternoon.

Sweet peas prefer full sun, 3

Sweet peas prefer full sun, 3 hours a day will not be enough for them.


I live in San Diego, planted sweet peas in mid December. Plants are doing great but no flowers

Sweet peas can take 3 months

Sweet peas can take 3 months from planting to bloom. If your plants are healthy you should see blooms before long. You can feed them with a fertilizer that is high in phosphorous to promote more flowers.

Am I too late?

I live in South Louisiana. Am I too late in planting my seeds, now?

Planting Sweet Peas

I’m afraid so. In your region, plant sweet peas in October or November and provide a good trellis. They’ll bloom in February or March and continue into May.


I live in NE Ohio. My husband planted sweet peas earlier in the year. From what I am reading here, I think we probably planted them too late. They never bloomed, in fact, the didn't even grow very well until very late summer. It is now the end of November, we have had several hard frosts, and they are still green and bushy. My question is.... is there any chance that they will come up in the spring? As I said, they did not bloom, so it won't be a matter of them re-seeding, but could they grow back in the spring? If they could, should we leave them alone, or cut them back? Thanks for the information!!!

Sweet peas need to be

Sweet peas need to be protected from hard freezes and heavy snows. If the ground is still soft you can dig up the plants and plant them in a big container. Move the container into an unheated garage or shed and cover with some blankets if the outside temps. drop below 20 degrees. Do not prune the plants. Most people regard sweet peas as annuals and plant new seeds every year. The trick is to get the seeds growing early in the spring. You can start them indoors 6 to 8 weeks before your last spring frost and then get the seedlings outdoors as soon as possible.

Any tips for flower abortion?

Any tips for flower abortion?

my sweet peas went crazy ,

my sweet peas went crazy , beautiful and full of pods, can they be eaten?

Hi Elayne, No, the flower

Hi Elayne, No, the flower pods may look like they are edible but they are not! In fact, they are poisonous. Just enjoy the flowers. They make great cut flowers, too.

we were up in northern

we were up in northern California and picked cuttings of the wild sweet pea up there, ~ 2 wks+ ago. they have been sitting in a glass filled with water and some plant food in it. some of the cuttings still look healthy. i was wondering if i can get the cuttings to survive and root if put in healthy soil. we are in inland Ventura county of California.

can i dig in my sweet pea

can i dig in my sweet pea plants when they have finished producing, as i would my garden peas, to help replace nitrogen ? .I have searched everywhere for an answer to this question.

Hi Rose, Yes, you can chop

Hi Rose,
Yes, you can chop the sweet pea plants and turn the pieces into the soil, just like garden peas.

I live in the foothills of

I live in the foothills of Northern California and have some wild sweet peas growing. I would like to grow more vines so I can harvest the peas. They taste sooo good! Do the same growing tips apply (soaking the seeds, nicking them before planting)? When should I plant? Our summers are incredibly hot (it's been 105 for the last few days)and our winters are rainy and mostly in the high 30's low 40's at the coldest. Thank you so much for answers and such a great site!

eatting wild sweet pea pods

Mary, I wouldn't be eating any part of the wild sweet peas. I also live in the foothills, in Butte County and I has been told to me that they are very toxic to horses. I have been battling wild sweet peas that grow in a pasture. I would talk to the ag agent before eating any more.

I am trying to grow my sweet

I am trying to grow my sweet peas in pots on the balcony. I have the Old Spice variety and they are about a foot high right now. How long till they bloom? I think I planted them in early April and we are now in the first week of June. One of them looked like it had a small colored bud peeping out, but it has just remained as a mysterious little thing that has not unfurled for about 10 days now. What to do?

I started seedlings indoors

I started seedlings indoors im in phila pa front yard gets late afternoon to evenin sun have clay soil slugs too and want to transplant my babies how n when do i do this help please i love my sweet peas but ive been procrastinating puttin them outside if they die id be devestated any suggestion?i also bought good planting soil n compost i have black mulch not crazy bout the color but if itll keep away slugs im all for it ty sincerely sarah p
Ps so grateful i found this site been searching for days again ty in advance

Sweet peas love cool weather;

Sweet peas love cool weather; it might be getting too hot for them in Philly now. If you'd like to try, however, you can transplant them outside in part shade, in well-drained soil (not clay). They like sunshine, but they like cool soil. Organic mulch will help that, but certain mulches can also harbor slugs, especially the coarser materials such as bark mulch or straw. Fine organic matter isn't as attractive to slugs. You can also try planting your sweet peas in containers outdoors, using the potting soil etc. that you have. In the heat of the afternoon, provide some shade for them, or wheel them into a shady spot. In the fall, you might try planting more seeds outdoors--they should flower in spring, just when it's perfect weather for them.
For more information about sweet peas, you might be interested in:
For more information about how to control slugs, this video gives several tips and methods:
And here are a few more tips on controlling slugs:
Hope this helps!

I plant sweetpeas every

I plant sweetpeas every spring on the Victoria Day long weekend (live in Alberta Canada). I soul them in water for a day and plant about 150 seeds along my south exposure 8 meter fence with 2.5 meters high chicken wire. They take 2-3 weeks to come up and by August they reach the top of the chicken wire covering the whole fence. I water on a regular basis and clip the flowers for bouquets weekly. The fragrant aroma on a warm summer evening is great. Summer temperatures range from 9-20 degrees at night and 18-30 during day. Hope this helps.

I just planted sweet peas for

I just planted sweet peas for the first time, I also live in Alberta. When can I expect them to flower? Thanks.

Hi wondering about the Sweet

wondering about the Sweet Peas, I live in St John's Nl, i have planted my sweet peas just about 2 weeks ago and they are about 4 inches high. If you let then die off in the fall, have you known then to seed again and survive the cold harsh winter.

I have a lava rock area on my

I have a lava rock area on my side yard with a nice sturdy fence that I would like to grow these on so I can create privacy from my neighbors as well as keep the flies away that gather from them not picking up their dog waste so this spot would be ideal, however i don't want to remove all the rock, will I still be able to grow this in the ground dispersed between the rocks? if not is there something else you can recommend that will climb up the fence and will tolerate the lava rock


Yes, sweet peas grow in lava

Yes, sweet peas grow in lava rock. Good choice! In fact, sweet peas thrive with poor soil and like to struggle. Don't baby them. Ignore them!

Due to topography, etc, I

Due to topography, etc, I have a cooler side to my home. I have an area herein which receives full sun, BUT, by about 1pm, it becomes shady. MUST the sweet pea (and/or the Morning Glory) have full sun ALL DAY?

I live in mid Georgia (zone

I live in mid Georgia (zone 8a) and planted some sweet peas in early March, according to the recommendations on the seed packet. The plants are growing great but haven't bloomed yet (early May). I am getting married in early September of next year and wonder when is the best time to plant next year in order to have flowers available for my wedding. By my calculations, it seems mid-May would be the right time to plant to produce September blooms, but I think Georgia will be too hot for them to grow properly at that time. Any suggestions? Is this even possible, or am I setting my hopes too high?

Hi Lara, Most sweet peas grow

Hi Lara,
Most sweet peas grow best in cooler regions but there are varieties available that tolerate heat and grow through the summer. 'Zinfandel', 'Cupani' and 'Painted Lady' are just a few. Read our planting and care information above. You can test a couple of different varieties this summer to see if you can keep them blooming until September. One trick to get them to bloom for a long period of time is to keep picking the flowers and not let them go to seed.

Dear almanac team. I live in

Dear almanac team. I live in Cape Town South Africa . My husband has been planting sweet pea seeds with no show of germination. Very frustrating for him ! We have put seeds into peat pots, planted in various places in the garden and if we are lucky, one out of 10 might germinate . Please help . We would love to have these beauties in our garden this winter and spring .
Regards Sham

I have good luck with my

I have good luck with my sweet peas growing and climbing, what I need to know is what do I do with them in the spring. I have all the dead vines, do I cut them off, leave them or what?? I checked the other comments and unless I over looked it, I saw nothing on what to do with sweet peas in the spring??

Hi Carol, Sweet peas are

Hi Carol,
Sweet peas are usually grown as annuals. You sow the seeds in the spring and the plants will bloom and form seed pods during the summer. You can pick the seed pods when dry and save the seeds for the next year. In the fall pull the plants or cut off the dead vines.

Hi, my question is that I get

Hi, my question is that I get a good showing of sweet peas early on and then it seems like the stems turn a whitish color and they die....I live in B.C. thanks

Hello to everyone! I've

Hello to everyone! I've looked all over the internet and I can't find an answer...hope that you will be able to help me! So,there are both winter and spring varieties in lathyrus odoratus. I've grown my winter sweet pees (I 'm from Greece) and now I don't know if i must sow again Winter or a spring variety.What determines when to sow each one????I use them as cut flowers and now I must sow the next batch.Thank you in advance

Thanks for the help...I

Thanks for the help...I didn't even have to ask a question.....everyone else asked for me!!! I'm planting Heirloom seeds and hoping that I have good luck with them! Thanks again !

I live in New Orleans and

I live in New Orleans and have planted sweet peas as late as January and still got a good show. However, October seems to be the best time to plant. I also plant them pretty thick, so I end up with a kind of 'hedge' that is absolutely a car-stopper! I used to live near a Mardi Gras parade route, so people would park their cars all over our neighborhood, and I'd stand by the hedge with a pair of scissors and hand out bouquets to passersby- just part of the fun!

How do I grow my plant if I

How do I grow my plant if I want to use only water in a bowl

I live in the high desert of

I live in the high desert of California and have planted my sweet peas which I hope to bloom in the spring. It's still warm during the days here--in the 80s and in the 50s at night. I have been watering the seeds and they're starting to sprout! Should I have waited until it's cooler in the daytime?

Also, should I water the seeds in the ground now or wait until spring when I want them to grow? I can't figure out why it's best to plant early and not water; but then why plant early and water and not want the seeds to sprout for several months?????

Sweet peas grow best in cool

Sweet peas grow best in cool temperatures. To shade the roots from the daytime heat put some mulch down around the seedlings. Keep the soil moist but not too wet. Your sweet peas may bloom before spring. If they bloom early plant some more seeds for spring blooms.

I live in Austria, Middle

I live in Austria, Middle Europe and have moderate success with sweet peas, this year was sorry.
In garden I have a pervious soil, the humus is 1 foot deep, deeper stoniness.
The earth from my composter is very fat.
Before winter, I want to
prepare the soil for the peas.
Have you an advice for me?

I grew sweet peas this year

I grew sweet peas this year foe first time in many years. I found two different seed pods on them one is shaped like a legume or bean and large like a lima bean and purple and pink spotted, the other is small round dark seeds. which one do I plant and what is going on. very strange

For sweet peas, after the

For sweet peas, after the flower fades, you should see a string bean-like pod encase the seeds. The pod starts out bright green, but it will fade to a brown color when the seeds are mature. The dried pod will split to reveal the seeds.

I planted my sweet peas way

I planted my sweet peas way too close together. If I untwirl them all & cut every 2nd plant right back, will the mature plant transplant ok? I live in subtropical Australia. Thanks.

I planted 3 window boxes of

I planted 3 window boxes of sweet peas (in Catskill Mtns., 2600' elev) and all three have grown, but....not one bloom as of 8/6/14! We've had a cool and wet summer unlike most years.

One box is separated as it has aphids, the other two are not infested.

I grow eating peas and beans well in hay with no problems! In reading advice, I've done it all. I'm a bit sad at not having one single blossom. :-(

I'd say we are a zone 4 due to our elevation (called a mini-alpine climate by a local horticulturist)

Our clematis, BES, phlox, lilies, etc. do fine though. Oh well.

I have kept and marked the

I have kept and marked the various colours of sweet peas.
Will the White seeds collected bear White sweet peas and Purple bear the same shade as the mother plant?
If so, arranging a colour scheme for balance would be nice. In mixed packets, Murphy's Law will have all Purple at one end with a Pink somewhere in the middle:)

Interesting question! With

Interesting question! With sweet peas, there are dominant and recessive genes. Keep this in mind when breeding: white flower color is the recessive color (though dominant to cream). Red flower color is dominant over pink and rust. I believe purple flower color is dominant over red and maroon. We'd love to hear about your experiment and how it turns out!

Are the peas off of purple

Are the peas off of purple sweet pea flowers eatible?

Sweet peas are flowers not

Sweet peas are flowers not green peas. The seeds are poisonous.

Can I use the pods

Can I use the pods (seeds)from this years plants to have seeds for next year?

Sweet pea seeds are easy to

Sweet pea seeds are easy to collect and store for next year. Make sure the seeds are totally dry before putting them in an envelope or container. Pick the pods when they are mature and already have started to dry on the plant. You can put the peas on a plate in a sunny window to finish drying.

can i use the seeds(pods)

can i use the seeds(pods) from this year for flowers next year?

well i planted {by plants] in

well i planted {by plants] in April my Sweet Peas, i am zone 7. They have grown but never any flowers. I do have Petunias planted around them. They are green and vining up a tree. I AM BUMMED ( THEY ARE MY FAV OUTTA ALL THE FLOWERS I GROW!!!) Thank you for all you info...

I have the same problem!

I have the same problem! Please can someone advise? My plants are healthy and seem happy at about 40-50cm tall, but not flowering. We are near the end of winter where I'm from, should I just be patient?

Hi, Jaime, Since you seem to

Hi, Jaime, Since you seem to have the same problem as Terry (above), here is the same answer:
By most estimates, your peas are not flowering because they experienced too high temps—some say 85°F or above, but even cooler could cause produce this outcome.
Petunias are not specifically cited as an influence, but sweet peas, like most vegetables, need to be rotated in the garden—that is, planted in a different place every year for four years; in the fifth year, you could plant them again in the original (first, so to speak) spot.
So, start them sooner next year in a different place with the proper conditions (see above).
Hope this helps!

Hi, Terry, By most estimates,

Hi, Terry,
By most estimates, your peas are not flowering because they experienced too high temps—some say 85°F or above, but even cooler could cause produce this outcome.
Petunias are not specifically cited as an influence, but sweet peas, like most vegetables, need to be rotated in the garden—that is, planted in a different place every year for four years; in the fifth year, you could plant them again in the original (first, so to speak) spot.
So, start them sooner next year in a different place with the proper conditions (see above).

Can sweet pea flowers be

Can sweet pea flowers be grown indoors in Florida?

Sweet peas aren't an easy

Sweet peas aren't an easy plant to grow indoors as a houseplant. They need cool temperatures but at least 6 hours of sun per day (morning sun might be best, as it gets hot in the afternoon). Lots of rich soil and a deep pot. You may not get blooms, but it is certainly worth a try. You might try planting them in the fall, during cooler weather, unless your home is cooled all year.

Thank you Almanac Staff. I

Thank you Almanac Staff. I will try to grow this plant indoors in the Fall as I love the flowers. I sure hope I'm successful

I live on the Washington

I live on the Washington State coast line. My husband just built me a bed for my sweet peas but in doing so I asked him to put down plastic cloth over the driveway gravel. He then built a semi circle bed out of landscaping blocks and it is great. My question is: should I have poked holes in the plastic before covering it with 18" of 4 way soil, or will it drain through the landscaping blocks or out the bottom under the blocks. He did such a wonderful job I don't want to complain especially since it was my fault.

After considering several

After considering several experiences with both black plastic and landscape cloth, we would have advised not using either and mulching heavily instead.
Rain runoff is only one concern but it may also mean that you water more. "Dead" (undernourished) soil under the plastic, as well as critters from snakes to moles. not to mention decay can happen. Removing both of these materials after they decay can seem to take forever.
Consider removing the soil, setting it aside, and pulling up the plastic at the end of the season—then returning the soil to the same spot. The gravel will provide drainage. And mulch whatever you grow.

Hi! I am extremely surprised

Hi! I am extremely surprised at the concensus that sweet peas are hard to grow and must be started very early. In Prince George, BC Canada I threw a handful in a large empty plant pot at the end of July and had beautiful flowers well into the fall. I did not soak or file and the sprouted quite quickly. July and August are hot in P.G. I can't understand the fuss people are going to with these plants. I have them at the front of the house too and did not dig down 2 feet.I plant the ones out front in April and they take off like wildfire. I have been using "Jumbo" Royal Family Mix, Spencer Giants and the Everlasting mix comes up every year if I let the seeds drop. I would really like someone to explain to me why I have never had a struggle with these plants?

Hi, Susan, Whatever you're

Hi, Susan,
Whatever you're doing, it's working—and we all here are envious, I'm sure (I know I am!).
McKenzie Seeds (which claims to be Canada's #1 packet seed company) advises soaking these seeds for 24 hours before planting and planting at about 1/2-inch (13mm) depth, so that's similar to the advice here. This vendor also describes the variety as "exceptionally long lasting" on "long, sturdy stems"—up to 2.1. meters (7 feet).
Another vendor, Ed Hume, suggests a trellis for this height, and also advises keeping the soil moist throughout the growing period and picking/deadheading flowers for the longest bloom period.
If you're not doing any of this, yet have fabulous results, I can only guess that you have a deep green thumb. Thanks for sharing this variety.

The difference is you live in

The difference is you live in Canada, where it is cooler. The person before you said she lived in zone 7. Big difference in temperature.

I live in Canada in Southern

I live in Canada in Southern Ontario and this summer has been cool and damp.My sweet peas are at the south side but did not bloom at all.Lots of growth but not one flower. They have been up since June and it is now Sept.This is the first time I have planted them in a long time and I never had a problem before.I am blaming the seeds.They were not cheap ones either.I''m going to rip them out. What would make them not flower?

more info please on the

more info please on the short, non-climbing variety, like 'Bijou'. Especially stuff like depth of trench, depth of roots, and soil mix.

Hi, Leslie, This is an ideal

Hi, Leslie,
This is an ideal plant for windowboxes and other containers, as well as in ground, so it is relatively shallow rooted. If starting seeds in starter container, push the seeds about 2.5 cm (just under an inch) below the level of seed-starter compost. Transpolant when the roots fill the containters.
If starting in soil in ground, push the seeds 3 to 5 cm (1 to 2 inches) into the compost.
A trench would be the same (shallow) depth.

Planted my peas only to have

Planted my peas only to have found what I think are baby millipedes in the soil all over my p-patch. Dug up peas because they didn't sprout and found them covered with these millipedes. Ew. Suggestions on how to regain control over my soil?

Millepedes are drawn to wet

Millepedes are drawn to wet moist soil and usually not harmful. They are beneficial since they convert organic matter into plant food. If you have an investation of them we suggest that you plant the peas in a different drier spot.

I have been growing SweetPeas

I have been growing SweetPeas since (1950).
I suggest that the ground be dug very deep (several feet) and replaced with good soil (after adding some fertilizer).
Prune to inhibit outgrowths. This will ensure fine very large flowers.

Hi, Stanley, Thanks for your

Hi, Stanley, Thanks for your comment.
It sounds like you have found a solution for rotating: instead of changing the location, you change the soil! Always good to have options available. Thanks for yours!

I live in uk London with wife

I live in uk London with wife , daughter and son.

would like to know which month of the year to sow peas.

Hi, I started my sweet peas

Hi, I started my sweet peas indoors, as I'm in Zone 7 (I believe...BC Canada) and they've sprouted and are growing! but they have no leaves. Is this normal? Is there something wrong with my flowers if the stem keeps growing, but hasn't grown any leaves? Thanks for your help and insight!!

The leaves will come. We

The leaves will come. We recommend to plant peas directly in the ground. Pea seedlings are sometimes hard to transplant.

It is April 2nd and I'm in

It is April 2nd and I'm in Houston,Tx. My sweet neighbor just gave me 2 different kinds of sweet pea seeds which she was already soaking...is it to late to plant? After reading your posted advice about their habits I fear it is already to warm here...what do you think? By the time they bloom,if I'm lucky,it will be mid June and very hot. Since they have already been through the soaking process I don't know if the seeds can be dried out again and saved till next year,if so what month should I plant them next year? Thank you for your help..I would love to be successful in this planting.

In Texas, sweet peas are

In Texas, sweet peas are usually planted in the fall for spring bloom. If planted in spring, it should be very early. However, since the seeds have already been soaked, it would probably be best to go ahead and plant them, although they may not be happy when it gets warmer. The best you can probably do is to set them out in an area that gets shade in the afternoon. Place in well-drained soil and water regularly. During hot spells, provide some filtered shade all day. Remove any spent blossoms to encourage the plant to continue blooming.

Thank you for your prompt

Thank you for your prompt reply. This is very encouraging and I am excited by the possibility of success with this lovely flower,I will plant them right away.

My leaves on the sweet pea

My leaves on the sweet pea are yellowing.what do I do.

Yellowing leaves on sweet

Yellowing leaves on sweet peas is often related to overwatering. Water in the morning at the base of the plant, keeping the foliage dry. Ensure your soil drains well. You can add compost to improve drainage. Also, do not use fertilizer.

what time can you plant sweet

what time can you plant sweet peas?

We mention timing above. In

We mention timing above. In milder areas, plant in fall. In colder areas, sow in late March or April.

I know that sweetpeas grow

I know that sweetpeas grow tall but do they need suport? This is my first time planting sweetpeas?

Please see the text above for

Please see the text above for information about sweet pea support as well as germination.

it has been 10 days and my

it has been 10 days and my Sweet pea seeds have not sprouted what should I do?

how often should i water the

how often should i water the sweat-peas

Just keep the soil evenly

Just keep the soil evenly moist. If you put your finger into the soil bed to its first joint and the soil is dry: water them.

Other than pine needles what

Other than pine needles what is good for safely keeping slugs and snails off the plants?

You really want to keep mulch

You really want to keep mulch and any debris away from your plants. Make sure the garden soil that you prepare is well cultivated, bringing up any clods. Protect seedlings with soda bottles (with the bottoms cut out). You can create barriers, however, with rings of cedar, oak bark chips or gravel chips. Pine needles are fine. We like to use egg shells. Anything rough such as sandpaper or builders' sand can work, too. You can use wood ashes, though don't let the ashes touch the plant.

fine bark mulch is the best

fine bark mulch is the best one if you have slug or snail problems.

Natural or garden grade

Natural or garden grade diatomaceous earth (DE) is leathal to slugs and other ground dwelling pests. The DE is like shards of glass to them. It also lasts longer than coffee grounds, although, coffee grounds deter cats as well.

We have a major cat problem.

We have a major cat problem. They us my garden and flower beds as a litter box how do I stop it

Coffee grounds are safe and

Coffee grounds are safe and effecting to keep slugs off your plants. Straight from the can or used grounds sprinkled in a wide circle right up to the plant. I live in a very wet area and it works. If you get a lot of rain you may need to sprinkle several times during the growing season as the grounds will eventually wash away.

we have centipedes eating our

we have centipedes eating our pea plants. any suggestions on ridding them from our plants and garden?

Pick them off by hand.

Pick them off by hand. Attract birds to your garden. And spray with Neem Oil!

Can I plant the seed pods

Can I plant the seed pods from wild sweet peas in my yard for next Spring? If so, when and how should I plants? Thank you!

Sweet pea pods burst open

Sweet pea pods burst open when dry, throwing their seed out so you want to collect them early. Allow to dry in a bag and store in a dry, cool place so the seeds don't rot. 

This is the second year with

This is the second year with my sweet peas,,very pretty..now producing pods and I expect seeds will fall to the ground for next year..do I cut the vines - I did not do this last year but they are 6 feet now. Thanks

Congrats on successfully

Congrats on successfully growing sweet peas. According the the WSU Clark County Extension experts, "Deadhead spent flowers and remove seedpods to promote re-bloom. Once sweet pea plants diminish, simply cut them off at ground level, leaving their nitrogen-fixing roots in place to benefit their neighbors."

I have several annual sweet

I have several annual sweet pea plants and I have kept on top of the dead heading to the extent that the plants are now quite denuded of any flowers at all. Does this mean it is time to dig up the plants and throw them away or will/might they enjoy a second coming?

Deadheading should have

Deadheading should have prolongued the blooming; for sweet peas, you cut off the entire stem. Eventually, all sweet pea plants come to the end of their flowering life. Spent flowers would form seed pods if they were allowed. If you've been deadheading all along and the blooms have stopped, it's safe to say they're done.

my sweetpea is producing

my sweetpea is producing seedpods instead of flowers, what can I do to get it to flower again?

Sweet peas do not like

Sweet peas do not like extreme heat. Also, to keep them flowering as long as possible, you have to continuously pick them.
Good luck!

I planted an abundance of

I planted an abundance of Winston Churchill sweetpees beginning of june for our wedding which is on sep 21st. They plants are already a good 15 to 20 inches tall. no sign of buds yet but they must be on their way! Do you think they will still be flowering come sep 21st? Is there anything i can do to prolong the blooming period apart from dead heading them?

I planted some bush sweet

I planted some bush sweet peas in a hanging planter in early spring after the chance of frost was over. They sprouted when they should and took off like gang busters. They are supposed to grow 6-12 inches but have tripled that. I still don't have any flowers. When can I expect them? I fertilize with Miracle Grow. Thank you!

HI Patty, It takes 50 to 75

HI Patty, It takes 50 to 75 days to bloom. We're not sure where you're from but the trick to sweet peas is to plant well before the heat comes: October or November for milder winter areas and late April in cold winter areas. They need about 50 days of cool temperatures (under 60º F) to bloom. If they don't flower, it's the heat.

I have planted sweetpeas in

I have planted sweetpeas in my flower box on the balcony. The lower leaves are yellowing and drying off. What do I need to do for them.?

It could be a fungus issue or

It could be a fungus issue or a root issue. You could take a sample to your local cooperative extension for a diagnosis. Be careful not to overwater. Sweet peas prefer dried-out soil. Water when the leaves start to wilt.

I've had quite the luck with

I've had quite the luck with sweet peas, they germinated in about 1.5 weeks indoors and are steadily growing. Just put seeds in seed starting potting mix and I can't wait for them to bloom! They grow quick!

sweet peas

i am growing sweet peas but how long does it take them to grow

The days to maturity for

The days to maturity for sweet peas depend on the variety but it ranges from 55 to 70 days. Once they bloom, they keep going. Bloom time is often 8 weeks!

picking sweetpeas

Is it true..for more more blooms keep them picked?
Snails? slugs? have a pine tree around Use the fallen needles as a mulch around your plants, snails & slugs will stay away.

For sweet peas, just deadhead

For sweet peas, just deadhead the flowers when they fade. That will produce more blooms. If the plant starts to create seedpods, you'll have less blooms.

sweet peas

Thank you for the info, Love these flowers planted for the first time last summer kind of late and still got some flowers , I wont miss a beat this year on them LOL...

sweet pea seedlings

THANK You!! I'm about to plant some sweet pea seedlings which I started indoors (it's a long story). Fortunately, I logged on to learn about proper pinching, and in the process discovered that I need to protect my young'uns from slugs (which we have in abundance). I'm so grateful to have learned this from you before I put them out. Perhaps we'll have flowers instead of heartbreak...? We shall see. Love You, Dear Old Farmer's Almanac.


It is nice to have found the almanac on FB, so much fun & so exciting, all the great information. Thanks!

Botanical Name: 

Lathyrus odoratus

Plant Type: 

Sun Exposure: 

Soil Type: 

Soil pH: 

Bloom Time: 

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