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How to sow sweet pea seeds


Sweet peas are some of the the most versatile plants you can grow. Train them up a trellis, pergola or obelisk, or support them with canes in large pots. They bring height and colour to borders and their scented blooms can be used as cut flowers.

Sweet peas dislike root disturbance so grow them in cardboard tubes or coir pots. This will enable you to plant them out in their containers without damaging the roots.

How to do it


Sow seeds individually into seed compost. Water well and place on a sunny windowsill or in a greenhouse or heated propagator.


Water the sweet peas regularly. As they grow, you'll notice roots start to emerge through the sides of the cardboard tubes.


Pinch out the growing point when seedlings have two-three pairs of leaves, to encourage bushy growth. Harden the plants off before planting out.

Our tip

Sweet peas are climbing plants and need structures to grow up. Use wires, netting or twine to tie in stems to their supports.

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Talkback: How to sow sweet pea seeds
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roxy 24/11/2011 at 15:29

This is my first attempt with sweet peas and thanks to the comment about too much heat, my seedlings have gone leggy, will see how they go!

Roo 21/02/2012 at 11:59

Have tried cardboard tubes last year for my sweetpeas but found tubes went mouldy any advice for this year please


BrendaScott53 26/02/2012 at 16:31

I live in the Coldest North ( Aberdeenshire ) and I've been growing Sweet Peas for years...not for exhibition, just because I love them.  For years I used to fiddle and faff around, soaking, freezing, 'chitting' the seeds; planting them on, nurturing them, planting them out in toilet roll containers...they were a right pain!  Last year, due to lack of time, a very harsh winter and an arthritic pair of knees,  I planted the seeds directly from the packet into a lovely huge terracotta pot, placed a metal obelisk into it, and just left them to fend for themselves, although I did give them a 'drink' when the weather dried the pot out a little.  They came up within weeks, the mice couldn't climb into the pot to eat them, nor could the rabbits, and they just grew and grew and twined themselves around the obelisk and were fabulous, right through until the first frosts.  Keep picking the flowers - the more you pick, the more they produce!  I'm hoping for the same rate of success this year, and I hope you have the same!

mandyh 17/03/2015 at 20:28

I grew sweetpeas for the first time last year, plenty of leaves but no flowers, not a single one! I did put canes in and I did pinch out the tops, any advice please?