With their slender stems and perfumed blooms, sweet peas are a firm favourite for cut flowers.
The best sweet peas for cutting are those with long, straight stems and strong fragrance. The best way to ensure straight stems is to train sweet peas with the cordon method. Regular picking is essential to keeping them productive, too, so you’ll never be short of vase or two of scented blooms.
When it comes to cutting them, the best time of day is first thing in the morning, or early evening, when the plants are least likely to be stressed and dehydrated. Pick stems when the lower three flowers are fully open, but the top flower is only just unfurling.
Check out this video with Monty Don, on how to keep sweet peas flowering.
Discover some of the best sweet peas for cut flowers, below.
Descended from the original sweet pea, ‘Matucana’ is an old variety still considered one of the best.
‘White Supreme’ is a vigorous variety with long stems and good fragrance. Has been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
‘King Edward VII’
Sweet pea ‘King Edward VII’ is a highly fragrant heirloom variety with brilliant magenta flowers. AGM.
‘Erewhon’ is a striking cultivar with bicolour flowers and a delicious scent. Excellent for cutting.
‘Mollie Rilstone’ has pretty picotee flowers that are white blushed with pink. It has a delicious fragrance.
‘Just Julia’ is an excellent mid-blue, bred by Roger Parsons, National Collection holder of sweet peas. It has a strong scent and growing habit. AGM.
How to cut your sweet peas
Cut stems as long as you can, collecting them in one hand as you work. When your hand is full, plunge the bunch into a bucket of cold water, placed nearby in the shade, then continue to pick. Cheat a bit of extra length by cutting short stems right back to the plant, including a few twining tendrils to add to the vase display.