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How To Grow Sweet Peas

So many of you have asked me to share more tips and guides for growing your own cut flowers – so I thought I’d start with sweet peas. They are super easy to grow and mega abundant, to fill your homes with jars of blooms!

I wanted to make it as simple for new growers, and cost accessible as possible for people who may be starting out so I wanted to recommend my absolute favourite budget source for seeds Premier Seeds Direct so you can start your cut flower journey for less than £2 including delivery! They do loads of gorgeous mixes and single varieties of sweet peas, and also ‘knee hi mix’ which needs no tee-pee / supports to climb.

These delicate and fragrant flowers are a popular choice for cutting and arrangements – the more you cut the more they bloom! They are also one of the first cut flowers of the year you can sow – we start at the end of January.

A variety of our sweet peas from 2022
'Knee high mix' from Premier Seeds back in 2018 when my daighetr was teeny!
Sweet Pea 'Mollie Rilestone' - one of my favourites!

Sowing Your Sweet Peas

Sweet peas are a cool season annual, so they should be sown in late winter or early spring, when the soil is still cool and damp. This will give the plants time to establish their roots before the warmer summer weather arrives.

When preparing to sow your sweet pea seeds, soak the seeds in a jar of water for 24 hours first – this will help give them a head start on germinating!

Next, it’s time to sow your sweet pea seeds. Sweet peas like a deep root run, toilet roll tubes lined up inside a mushroom container work really well, or any 9cm type garden pots. Fill with peat free compost and push about 3 seeds into each one, to a depth of around 1cm. Gently water the seeds after planting to help them settle into the soil.

Growing On

Place the module trays in a sunny spot that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. If you don’t have a sunny windowsill, you can use a grow light to provide the plants with the light they need to grow.

Keep the soil moist but not soggy, watering the seeds regularly as needed. You may need to remove the plastic wrap or newspaper once the seeds have germinated to prevent the plants from getting too humid.

Once the sweet pea seedlings have grown three or four pairs of leaves, pinch out the top – squeeze off the growing tip between your finger and thumb. This promotes side shoots growing, and the energy of the plant being directed toward growing out, not up.

Planting Out

Plant out during a mild spell between March and May.

Choose a sunny spot with well-draining soil, and if you have grown climbers, be sure to provide the plants with a trellis or other support structure to help them grow upright.

I like to cover all new plantings with some light mesh for a few weeks to help them get established. Sweet peas always look a little sad for a while before bursting into growth, so don’t worry too much if they shrivel a little!

Caring For Your Plants

To encourage healthy growth and lots of blooms, be sure to water your sweet peas regularly, especially during dry spells.

Finally, to keep your sweet pea plants looking their best, be sure to deadhead the spent blooms regularly. This will help encourage the plants to produce more flowers and keep them looking tidy.

With a little care and attention, your sweet peas will thrive and produce an abundance of beautiful and fragrant blooms!

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