Growing Fragrant Sweet Pea Flowers In The Backyard Garden
Sweet pea flowers are indeed one of the delights of the summer garden.
There are several things you have to take note of when trying to grow
The first is that it will germinate and flower much better if planted
early in the spring. In a USDA zone 4, we're talking the middle of
April when the ground is still cool but not frozen. If you wait until
May and warmer soils, you'll find the germination may be slightly
higher but the flowering slightly lower.
Sow seeds approximately one-half inch deep (not much deeper) and
approximately 4-6 inches apart. You can space the plants a little
further apart but this is not necessary.
The second is that in order to get the delicious fragrance of this
plant, you're going to have to pick your varieties carefully. Not all
modern sweet pea flowers are fragrant! Look for the packaging, label,
seed catalog description and if it doesn't say "fragrant"
Sweet pea flowers grow best when the nights are 45F and the days are
60F. So do not be afraid to plant them outdoors in early April as soon
as you can reasonably work your soil. To get a headstart on the season,
you can start them indoors in peat pots 3 weeks before you plant them
outdoors. Plant two seeds to a peat pot or three seeds and thin out the
Planting Sweet Pea Flowers Outdoors
To plant outdoors, plant ½ to ¾ inch deep and approximately an inch
apart. This plant does best in a rich soil but because of the uneven
moisture does not grow well in sandier soils. It will grow acceptably
well on clay soils.
The only major problem you're likely to see is a early infestation of
aphids. Use a strong jet of water to knock them off the plants or spray
with insecticidal soap – either will control aphids.
Sweet pea flowers really like full sunlight although they will grow in
a part shade garden. The less sunlight you give them – the more spindly
will be the vines and the flowers will come later in the season. So a
little shade is fine but a few hours of shade will slow down the plant
so it won't bloom at all.
Sweet pea flowers can be left to sprawl but I prefer to stake them
upright. This way, the flowers are easier to find and harvest.
The absolute easiest way to stake them is to lay some old Christmas
tree branches down on the ground right over top of the newly planted
The needles will have fallen off the branches so the seeds are not
shaded. And the pile of branches provides a support for the vines to
In the fall, discard the branches and the dead vines.
Alternately, you can grow them as climbing vines up trellis or fencing.
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An Excellent Cut Flower
This plant makes an excellent cut flower and if the blooms are
harvested in early morning as they are just opening, you'll get 5-7
days from each bloom.
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