28/03/2014 at 11:26

I have a couple of questions on my sweet peas. This seems to be the place to ask!

I've sowed them in a staggered manner in loo rolls indoors and they've done alright. They were a bit leggy, but that improved since I put some lights over them. (I don't have anything like a windowsill). So, my questions:

1) I planted the first plant outside already, at an age of around a month, and we did have a couple of light frosts afterwards (though not the first few nights after they were in). And while it looks alive, it hasn't really grown since and some of the lower leaves look a bit grey.

2) I've been pinching out after the fourth set of leaves, taking them back to two sets of leaves, but I don't seem to get any branching as yet. Conversely, some of my peas which I'm growing in a similar way, are branching away merrily though I didn't pinch them out.

I'd be really grateful for any advice!



28/03/2014 at 11:44

Hi Owen, there is some really useful info on this thread and David is great at helping us and being patient!  

Sweet peas are fine with frost, David has told us this many times so I can answer that question.......they don't like being 'coddled' as David frequently tells myself and other mums on here who like to protect and nurture (he thinks it's a woman thing!! )

As for the leaves thing, I pinched mine out a couple of weeks ago as they had gone very leggy and they have been outside since, they are just starting it get leaf buds at the bottom now, I posted a picture further up last night and on the plant in the corner you can just seen them.  I think I pinched mine out lower down though, after the second set of leaves maybe?

So I wouldn't worry, but no doubt David will be around later to tell you more as he is the expert 

28/03/2014 at 11:48

Brilliant thank you Orchid Lady.

So I probably just need to be patient and they will be alright.

Last year I started too late and they never flowered, so hopefully will do a little better this year. Every year one less thing dies on me. 

28/03/2014 at 11:58

Probably about right Owen yes, if it's any different I'm sure David will advise. 

28/03/2014 at 12:25

Owen -  I agree OC.....you don't seem to have anything to be concerned about. For sure you are not too late this year and seem on course for some beautiful flowers.

As I've said before, I've never used toilet roll middles for sowing and appreciate that they are biodegradable. However, it concerns me that if the whole tube isn't planted the full depth of the tube & below the surface....the exposed top will not rot and may syphon water away from the young plants.

While I'm here, I would just like to say this on the subject of the hardiness of sweet peas. Many, many times mine have been frozen solid in their pots and the compost rock hard, with the young seedlings flopped over. BUT, as soon as the weather warms-up again & the compost thaws out, they recover & are soon standing upright  again.

28/03/2014 at 12:44

That's excellent news David. Thank you very much. Feeling a lot more optimistic now.

By the way, I did plant the toilet rolls fully below the surface so hopefully that won't be a problem. Not sure where to source the proper root trainers from in this country (Switzerland).

28/03/2014 at 13:50
David K wrote (see)

As I've said before, I've never used toilet roll middles for sowing and appreciate that they are biodegradable. However, it concerns me that if the whole tube isn't planted the full depth of the tube & below the surface....the exposed top will not rot and may syphon water away from the young plants.


Hello David.

Think i have the same concern as you.

Tried half a dozen Seeds that were rolling around in the bottom of my old seed tin (must have been there at least 7 years) I set them off in toilet roll middles (see pic) 15 days ago. They have all germinated over different days. I filled the tube with seed compost and watered, then topped the tube up to the top and planted the seed. Inevitably the compost has settled by about 10mm (see the tube at back middle) once they started growing i just filled the tube back to the top with normal compost.

Not sure if this will encourage extra root growth or will invite damping off. They look OK so far.

What i do know about your concern is that the damp cardboard at the top of the tube will rot down faster than the buried bit as there is more oxygen at the top (faster decay). This might leave a dry ring of cardboard at the surface but not for long. So i appreciate your concern.

What do you think about my root growth / damping off issue?




28/03/2014 at 14:33

That's a good question. I was also wondering how deep to plant out.

I guess they're not like tomatoes where you can bury a lot of stem with beneficial effects?

28/03/2014 at 16:00

Plant out at soil level is all i can say? they are not potatoes! 


You do know that when you nip out the SUCKERS from the true stem and leaf, that they can be potted on and will grow well ( This staggers your growing system) . You can also let ONE plant/seed bolt and lay it down ON THE EARTH ON ITS SIDE AND HAVE 12 PLANTS GROW!!!! 1 SEED AND MANY PLANTS GROW! iT AMAZED ME, MANY YEARS BACK.

Not sure what the bits between main stem and leaf is called (the bit you pick off???), that you nip out but it has to be taken off (every one is a new plant and they take energy from the main one.So nip off and re plant ( call it delayed staggering) I am sure someone will tell me the name please, please.. 

28/03/2014 at 16:46


28/03/2014 at 17:35

I've only grown sweet peas twice. First time in pots, 2nd time in loo rolls. The rolls were a mare!  Kept toppling over, rotted at bottoms whilst growing, didn't rot down in the garden and had to dig around the tops after planting and tear bits off.

David I can understand why people think they need cosseting they look so frail until they romp away.

Hundreds of posts on here, you are all certainly keen. Hope you all get great blooms.  Would love to see your photos later in the year.

28/03/2014 at 18:01

Just for you, KEF.




 I'm not keen, far prefer other aspects of gardening.

29/03/2014 at 00:08

I have always used loo rolls and/or very tall paper pots, unless I've run out and had to use 3"plastic pots. To stop them toppling, I pack them tightly into seed trays, as many as I can squeeze in, with a folded piece of newspaper between to differentiate types so that I only need to use one label for each type.

I plant them out deep, up to the first sideshoot, to make sure tops of pots buried. Peas of all kinds don't seem to mind this. I've had no probs with the pots rotting down, or collapsing too soon, although I have had strange fungi grow on the loo rolls occasionally (perhaps the glue used?). The fungi seemed to have no effect on the plants at all, I scraped them off and carried on. Last yr I was cutting into Nov. Got a good vaseful before I pulled them out, then. I can't sow direct due to mice eating the blinking lot!

Edd, many plants will do this. The bit where buds or sideshoots come out are called 'nodes', and they have a more concentrated amount of growth hormone in them, which is why we cut closely beneath one before inserting cuttings into a growth medium. They can produce shoots or roots, depending on the conditions. I have done it many times with interior plants when my ex-boss wouldn't pay for new ones!  Although, I have to say I never thought of trying it with annuals. You know I have to try now, don't you?!

See, not only do you learn something new every day, you get new ideas to use what you already knew. What a great forum!

29/03/2014 at 08:19

Thanks David, the colours that I love.  Let you into a secret I'm not fussed about sweetpeas, I spent more time deadheading than enjoying the perfume. I'm wearing my tin hat

29/03/2014 at 09:03
KEF wrote (see)

Let you into a secret I'm not fussed about sweetpeas, I spent more time deadheading than enjoying the perfume. I'm wearing my tin hat

You're barred!!!! 

29/03/2014 at 09:08

30/03/2014 at 15:18

David!!!i,m shocked!! I,ve just been out to check, 18seedlings planted out with 4 slug pubs,hort grit and eggshells,found 6 dead slugs in pubs! How often should I change beer,lager or top up?

30/03/2014 at 15:30

Edd was reading caffeine sprayed on plants does kill slugs...would they have to eat the plant before this worked? Think you wrote this I old wives tales

30/03/2014 at 17:56

Louise  - I reckon every couple of days, but I guess it depends how many slugs you’ve attracted.  It doesn’t take long before it starts to pong and the whole things becomes quite revolting!

30/03/2014 at 18:26

 Charlie's Angel