Don’t let the size of the flowers fool you. They may be delicate but their impact in the garden is anything but. Layer after layer, they create a splash of color against their vibrant green backdrop. Available in a wide variety of stunning colors, this versatile plant comes in both bush varieties as well as climbing vine varieties. Quick to mature, the sweet pea may be one of the first blooms to welcome in spring.
Sweet Pea Garden Guide
Sweet Pea at a Glance
Botanical Name: Lathyrus odoratus
Common Name(s): Sweet Pea
Height: Up to 6 feet, vining, upright habit
Bloom Time: Spring and summer
Soil Conditions: Well-drained, rich, and moist soil
Sun: Full sun or light shade
Soil pH Conditions: 6.4-7.6
Notes: Sweet peas come in both climbing and bush varieties. The climbing varieties can grow up to 6 feet and will require support. The bush type generally do not grow taller than 2 feet. Sweet pea does not tolerate extreme heat well so should be planted in the cooler weather and established before the summer heat hits.
Starting Sweet Pea from Seed
In warmer climates where summer heat hits early and hard, you may be better off planting sweet pea indoors at least four to six weeks prior to last frost to ensure that it is established prior to the hot summer heat.
Soak seeds overnight to aid in germination.
Plant in peat-moss pots or similar commercial garden medium.
Plant several seeds in each pot—do not thin.
Allow the plants to germinate at 60°-70°F
When to Plant
Where to Plant
Sweet pea requires fertile, moist soil that is well-drained. They should be planted in full sun or light shade. Because sweet pea stems and foliage are delicate, plant in a location where there is some protection from damaging winds. Mulch lightly in late spring to help the soil retain moisture.
Care and Maintenance
Once established, sweet pea requires very little maintenance. To encourage flowering, pinch spent flowers.
Aphids, foliage feeding caterpillars, leafminers, root know nematode, snail and slugs, spider mites, thrips