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For many years I've planted sweet peas in a border to grow up a wired fence. Every year I had a successful profusion of flowers. I would save the seeds and grow them on the next season with the same success.

Three years ago the plants didn't grow very well. Starting from soil level all plant leaves started to go brown. There was some, rather poor, flowers and virtually no seed pods. The following year, thinking there was possibly some problem with the soil, I created a raised bed filled it with fresh compost and sowed new seeds indoors and planted out in the spring. Almost immediately the plant leaves started to go brown from the soil level upwards resulting in a very poor amount of flowers and no pods.

This year, determined to try my luck again, I bought new seeds, (Mr Fothergills)  dug out all the old soil and renewed with compost. I grew the plants indoors in sterilised plastic water bottles, (top removed) garden canes. They grew profusely and where extremely healthy. When they where about 18 inches high I hardened them off, gradually, outside. Yesterday I planted them outside. Today, the plants are already showing signs of browning from the soil up.

Is there a sweet pea fungus, like the airborne busy lily disease, which affects sweet peas?

Can any one help a very frustrated gardener who has no idea what he's doing wrong? If he's doing wrong at all that is!



  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,867
    Hi Billy - sorry to hear of your problems.
    A photo of the problem would probably help us advise you better if you could provide one
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • BILLYCBILLYC Posts: 70
    Sorry, I've only put plants in yesterday so brown leaves are barely discernible. Just a slight discolouration around edges of some leaves. Would not show on photo.
    Thanks anyway
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,107
    It sounds like there's an issue with where you plant them. Sweet peas need rich soil conditions to do well.
    What else is planted there, and what are the general conditions? 

    A photo of the site might help
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • BILLYCBILLYC Posts: 70
    Fairygirl - It's all very confusing if I was having a guess I'd say this is a airborne virus much like the disease that affects busy lizzies, but it's just a guess. The garden is south facing with virtually full sun on the plants. I have made a raised bed against the fence 6ft long x 4 inches wide by a foot deep. Only the sweet peas are planted in this trough nothing else. They are grown in multi purpose compost with some added chicken manure. To be honest I don't think there is an answer. But, thank you anyway. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,107
    I tend to grow many of mine with less sun. I think many of them don't need it at all, despite the usual advice, and we certainly don't get the sustained heat here that many areas get. 
    I wonder if the young leaves are just getting frazzled. It's not a lot of room for them in a raised bed, and if the bed is heating up very quickly, they won't like that round the roots. 
    Is the manure fresh? That won't help young plants either. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • BILLYCBILLYC Posts: 70
    The manure is chicken pellets not fresh. I've grown all my sweet peas in the same location and had no problem till three years ago. I have had great success growing them in this trough. They are watered regularly so hot roots not a problem.

    Thank you for your interest but I think, by the lack of response, that there is no answer to this problem.  
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