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Sweetpeas

Pondman01Pondman01 Posts: 73
Hi just wondering is there a good way to grow sweetpeas 
 In the past I have just put them into the compost.  And they have grown . But I see that some leave in water over night. Or nick them with a knife. I have started some of now . But did not get many coming up. They were in the greenhouse. 
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  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,118
    I've never soaked or nicked them  :)
    I don't sow until about mid/late March, in the house, then they go out to the greenhouse, depending on the temps, and how far on they are by late April/earlyMay. Often they just go out during the day and in at night for a few days, then stay outside as they're very hardy.  It's too cold for them to germinate here at this time of year. If I sow in autumn, which isn't often, they stay outside with basic shelter.

    Many people cosset them too much, and that's the problem if they're inside and with too much warmth, and not enough light either. That leads to weak, etiolated plants. 
    Good depth is what they need for the root systems.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 13,027
    No need to nick or soak them.
    I give them a bit of warmth to germinate, then straight out to a cold g/h.
    Has worked well for 20 years.
    I tend to sow 2 lots, 1 in autumn and the second in early February.
    There are ashtrays of emulsion,
    for the fag ends of the aristocracy.
  • debs64debs64 West Midlands, on the edge of the Black Country Posts: 4,605
    I do soak mine but I really don’t know if it helps with germination funny how we just do things the way we always have. I try to sow mine in my birthday week. Early February and this year I aim to grow them on in my unheated greenhouse as I sow a lot, they are a particular favourite of mine. 
  • To some extent, it depends on what you want to do with your flowers. If they are just for garden display and cutting for the house, or for a specific date, flowers for a wedding, or a show, etc. that is a completely different ball game.
    If your seed are not fresh, last seasons, try sowing them onto damp kitchen roll paper on a plate on a warm window sill. Keep damp but not wet. I usually put a covering of cling film over any I use this method with. You will then see which ones germinate to be potted up. The chitting or nicking seed seems to be going out of fashion. Old school growers used to soak wrinkled seeds overnight but not smooth-skinned seeds.
    The main reason for starting sweetpeas now is for the earliest flowers, they do not need mollycoddling, they only need to be in a sheltered spot, against a wall, or in a cold frame and certainly do not need warmth. The main problem is usually the seeds being eaten by mice. I have to start mine off indoors and once a shoot has appeared and is growing strongly, mice seem to lose interest and leave them alone so the seedlings then go outside to fend for themselves.
  • Pondman01Pondman01 Posts: 73
    Thank you all of you. There just to start early. Then sow more in spring. Thought about getting a heated mat or propergater. To help seeds on . But will have to look how much they.
  • didywdidyw East SuffolkPosts: 2,585
    I made the mistake of keeping mine in the house too long after they had germinated last year and then, after leaving them too long in their pots outside, they were too weak to do anything much.  This year I shall do as I did the year before, when I had a marvellous display, of sowing them indoors then putting in the blowaway.  I sow mine into old yoghurt pots (the big ones), in February, so I have 2 plants per pot.  Drilling holes in the bottom of the pots is a bore but it does give them a nice root depth.  And repurposes the yoghurt pots.
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Wirral (free draining sandy soil)Posts: 1,747
    I've started them indoors too early in the past and ended up with very weak etiolated seedlings which keeled over, despite being pinched out to encourage bushy growth.  I'm following all the expert advice given here this year!  Just an extra point please, is it better to use seed compost for germination or will MPC be OK?
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,118
    edited 2 January
    I just use ordinary stuff @Plantminded. If sowing in autumn, a seed compost is better because you don't want them growing rapidly, but if I do them at that time of year, I just use old stuff that they've been growing in, or similar. Something with fewer nutrients.
    For the new season sowing I use multi purpose, or even just something like sieved soil or home made compost. Anything which will retain moisture well is ideal  :)

    Can I also add- early flowers only happen if the climate suits. They really don't produce flowers before July where I am, and even then - it's normally later July. As with all plants - your location/climate are the main factors  :)

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 13,027
    As @Fairygirl says, location is key.

    In a good year, my autumn sown Sp,s flower from mid June and the later sown seeds extend the season until the end of September, but that is in a good year.
    There are ashtrays of emulsion,
    for the fag ends of the aristocracy.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,118
    Ours are often still flowering in late October @punkdoc, and if the rough weather doesn't annihilate them at that point, we can even have some in early November   :)

    Deadheading, feeding and watering are vital, especially in pots, which most of mine are.
    The slugs just ravage them completely in the ground unless I wait a good while to plant out, and even then it can be hit and miss. A good hearty growing medium is also necessary.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


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