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25/09/2012 at 12:08

Hi, as promised, this is a thread for those who wish to learn the basic facts for successful sweet pea growing.

Sweet peas are really very easy to grow. You may simply sow the seed in the soil/pots where you intend them to grow in March or April (according to the prevailing weather conditions) and leave them to it, by July you should have flowers.


However, to get the best from your seeds you should consider sowing them in the autumn; this will enable you to have stronger, earlier flowering plants and is the preferred option of those who grow for exhibition quality blooms.

Depending where you live, this can be done between now and early November i.e. now in the north and probably another couple of weeks time in the south. I live in the Midlands and usually sow in mid-October, depending on the weather.


First of all, try to buy the very best seed you can afford, study the catalogues and be sure to choose the types & colours that suit your needs.

Over the years I’ve grown the seed of most of the top specialist and have reached the conclusion that Eagle Sweet Peas tick all the right boxes for me.


Next you’ll need seed compost (not multipurpose). My own preference is for John Innes seed compost; this is loam based compost although non-loam types are suitable, provided it is specifically for sowing seeds.


Finally, you’ll need some type of starter pots. These usually come in the form of grow-tubes…anything from cardboard toilet roll middles, to those sold specifically for the purpose.


Good luck!


25/09/2012 at 12:27
Nearly ready for the off then! Root trainers going in dishwasher...
25/09/2012 at 12:29

Right! My first time, and been waiting for this post David. Thanks. Looking forward to the next steps.

25/09/2012 at 12:43

Becks, presuming you have your seeds now (I did promise Jess some) I'll post some sweet pea growing tubes if you wish.

25/09/2012 at 13:14

David, I have some seeds that leggi sent me. I only need a few for growing round my post. Wire is in position. I have lots of those square individual module trays, or normal sowing trays. Will they be ok?

25/09/2012 at 13:24

No,  sorry, Becks. Sweet peas are very deep rooted and consequently need deep pots...remember they'll be in these pots for about 5 months.

No problem to let you have a few of the proper thing. They fold flat (like a small polythene bag) so post very easily.

25/09/2012 at 13:26

Okey Dokey. I'll message you my details.

25/09/2012 at 13:49
Insomnia1973 wrote (see)

Okey Dokey. I'll message you my details.

Okey Dokey.

26/09/2012 at 09:34
Insomnia1973 wrote (see)

David, I have some seeds that leggi sent me. I only need a few for growing round my post. Wire is in position.

Becks, I have concerns about your plans.

As I have said previously, sweet peas are very deep rooted so consequently need a good depth of soil. Normally ground around a post has been consolidated (probably concreted) to make it not perhaps ideal.

26/09/2012 at 10:52

Morning David!

Yes, this is the case with my post, so am taking a gamble with my plan. I have cut a hole in one of those Morrisons Buckets, and put it over the post, down to the bottom. If it works, it works, if not, my neighbour has an axle grinder and the post will go!

I love an experiment.


26/09/2012 at 11:09

Morning, Becks.

Wimmin, eh?  It's called an angle grinder! Good luck anyway, I trench my soil, 50cm deep.

26/09/2012 at 11:14

Ha ha ha!! You know, I looked at that when I typed it and thought it just didn't look right!  I also forgot that I needed to cover some pine headboards that I cordoned off a tree with (don't ask) to disguise them, so those will be directly into soil.

26/09/2012 at 11:42

Wish you luck, Becks...but an angle grinder will only cut the post off at ground level, so you'll still be left with a chunk of concrete in the ground.

I hate anyone to fail, so I have to say that planting your SPs into Morrison's pots as their permanent home (bottomless or not) will not succeed.

26/09/2012 at 11:47

Not to worry. Hopefully the other ones will be ok.

Your envelope has just arrived! Jess is looking and shaking her head! I don't think she can vision what they will look like.


28/09/2012 at 15:06

I am putting mine in now. We also had a bit of a M Don thing with bought ones and seeds straight in the soil. It was so successful that we're not doing that again and putting them in now, using toilet tubes on top cos they're free. My father grew sweet peas for my mother every single year. It was the only cut flower she ever had.

29/09/2012 at 11:22

So, Monty concludes his 'sweet pea trial', although  I don't think it told us anything we didn't know already...I said way back on the beeb boards what the outcome would be.

I would say to anyone who may be deterred from sowing the see directly in situ, in March, that Monty's trial is nothing like representative of what may normally expected....this was purely down to the dreadful weather.

Autumn sown sweet peas will flower from May to late August and Spring sown seeds will flower from July into October, or later depending where you live. There's a good case for mixing your options, I feel.

29/09/2012 at 11:24
And autumn sown and spring sown plants will go into the ground at the same time?
29/09/2012 at 11:33
figrat wrote (see)
And autumn sown and spring sown plants will go into the ground at the same time?

Nope....Plants from autumn sown seed will be planted out in March and Spring (indoor sown) plants will be planted out in May.....always depending on the prevailing weather & where you live.

29/09/2012 at 11:56
I grew sweet peas for the first time this year, sown indoors late feb, planted out in April - 2 days later a hard frost but they still survived! Anyway when they flowered I got flowers with nice long stems ideal for cutting..but as the summer went on the stems got shorter and shorter??? Does this usually happen. They became to short to cut and place in a vase
29/09/2012 at 12:58

Yes this is true, but is one of those things that is better just accepted, rather than to reason why. But briefly, as the growing cycle between production of the flower stem and the flowers progresses the stems do get shorter. The  longest and strongest sweet pea stems are those in the first flush of bloom in early summer as they’ve had a chance to slowly develop…. as the weather gets warmer, the stems do get shorter.

Btw, less of a problem with autumn sown seed.

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