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Growing Sweet Peas

Updated on June 27, 2017
A vintage vase hold a bouquet of beautiful hues.
A vintage vase hold a bouquet of beautiful hues.

My Favorite Vine Flower

Do you grow the delicate sweet pea flower? The many varieties are beautiful, fragrant and old fashioned.

This lovely plant, highly fragrant and heat resistant, is one of my favorite vine flowers. Found in many cottage gardens these beauties are an old-fashioned vine flower that are easy to grow.

Plant them anywhere where you would like the sweet timeless beauty and honey orange blossom fragrance. Sweet peas come in many varieties and just as many colors but if you want the fragrance in your garden this summer you'll have to plan ahead and plant the seeds early. Traditionally sown on March 17th, St. Patrick's Day, consider adding the sweet fragrant vine wrapped around a trellis or fence or as part of a hanging flower basket.

Once they bloom make sure you pick the flowers often so you'll have more flowers! Bees and butterflies love them too!

What do I need?

Sweet pea seeds*



Sunny spot

Trellis, fencing or supports

Inoculant (optional)

*see my favorite sweet pea seeds

Botanical Interests: A Colorado Company

Because I look for (Lathyrus Odoratus) that are highly fragrant I specifically choose seeds that say heirloom or high scent. I also like the bouquet blend because I want to bring the fragrance into my house. If you want flowers that are very fragrant, more heat resistant with bigger flowers and "longer heavier stems"; look for varieties with names like Perfume Delight, High Scent, Heirloom or Bouquet Blend.

Because these flowers are annuals you do need to plant the seeds every year, although sometimes a hardier plant will reseed.

When they bloom pick the flowers! The more you pick the more blooms you will have.

Mark the calendar for March 17th, St. Patrick's Day for planting your sweet pea seeds but also mark the calendar for March 16th for soaking your sweet pea seeds. Sweet peas have a hard outer layer so soaking the sweet pea seeds the night before planting will help ensure that the seeds will grow.

Sweet Pea Bud
Sweet Pea Bud
Perennial Sweet Peas
Perennial Sweet Peas

How to Plant

It's hard to describe the scent .. a light fragrance scent of sweet orange and honey. It's old fashioned but very appealing.

Make sure the garden soil, pots or hanging baskets are ready before you plant your seeds. Sweet pea seeds prefer a neutral soil. Pick out a sunny spot in the garden preferably against a fence or trellis as sweet pea vines need something to climb on.

In late fall the seed catalogs start arriving and it's easy to get carried away. By planning your summer garden early you can assure a fragrant garden. Look for seeds that are classified as old-fashioned, highly fragrant or highly scented. The ones that are close to the original Italian wildflower will give off the most fragrance. Choose a few varieties so you can decide which variety grows best in your part of the country. Pick complementary colors to the other flowers in your garden. Deep reds and purples make a striking statement in the garden.

Follow the directions on the packet and carefully plant. Many growers will also add an inoculate to the seeds for a larger harvest. I've done it both ways with success,

Most fragrant flowers are annuals which means you will have to replant every year. The perennial is just as beautiful but often doesn't have as strong of a fragrance.

Look for buds in about 12 weeks from March 17th. Pick often and fill vases with nature's gift.

Will Sweet Peas Grow in Acidic Soil?

Soil Testing Kit

Test your soil using a simple soil testing kit!

Perennial Sweet Pea will grow in all types of soil.

According to master gardeners:

The soil prefers the following PH / acid levels :

- pH of less than 6, Acidic soils

- pH between 6 and 8, Neutral soils

- pH greater than 8, Basic soils

© 2011 Writing Nag


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