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Talkback: Growing sweet peas

Just picked by first bunch this year, the scent is heavenly (went with CAROL KLEINS recommendation) but ugh! the little black bugs, I drowned them in the sink,does anybody have a cure?


  • Hi Chrisk, put the flowers in a dark place with one light source, they will head out to the light and no black bugs! For more see my blog on
  • How strange...I have been thinking of growing perennial sweet peas as a hedge since I saw them at the botanic gardens in Bath the other week, but Ive been too scared to admit it in front of you non-edible lovers...I didnt know if it would be likewalking into a bar for the first time, looking along the line of drinks and ordering a Babycham
  • My garden becomes a vision of pink and purple once the perennial sweet peas are in flower. They scramble up through my hawthorn tree which is beautiful in blossom and berry but needs clothing in between. Similarly with cotoneaster. It scrambles through the bamboo as ground cover and is so floriferous I can have big bunches in the kitchen. But I am growing myGW freebie seeds in pots and can't wait to smell the flowers. It won't be long as they have reached the top of their cane wigwam.
  • I've obviously done something wrong here. I planted my sweet pea seeds at the end of March, in loo rolls, hardened them off and planted out about a month ago. They look ok and there's lots of growth, but they're only about a foot tall and not even the sniff of a bud, never mind flowers. Have I had it? I'm in Prague and the weather's been wet and warm in equal measure.
  • Hi,
    I was tempted by some perennial sweet peas at the weekend but for some rather foolish reason decided against it and I'm now kicking myself.
    My parents have a large one and its blooms are wonderful - if almost scentless, but will still look amazing in a vase regardless.
    My own annuals are blooming now; I love this time of year where the vase is never empty.
  • The only way to get good long stems and quality (annual) sweet pea blooms is to grow them as cordons - single stems, with all side shoots and tendrils removed almost daily and blooms always picked, whether needed indoors or not.

    The most widely grown perennial sweet pea is like fire - a wonderful servant, but ferocious and damaging if it spreads out of control

    I'd urge you to consider other wonderful, better behaved perennial pea species, especially Lathyrus rotundifolius which has been a star in my garden, with its bricky pink flowers. Also the dwarf, cerise-flowered L. tuberosus aka the Fyfield Pea.

    The black insects are not bugs but pollen beetles. The way I clear them is to hold the bunch of flowers in my hand, extend my arm and swing it round like a windmill, as fast as I dare without wrecking the flowers. It's a similar action to drying lettuce held in a tea towel. The beetles are ejected by centrifugal force.

    Nigel Colborn
  • I sowed perennial sweet peas all around my garden in spring. They're not doing much. I expect great, non-scented things from them next year.
  • i have to say theses are something that i always struggle with growing for some reason ...
    they start of ok,nice and green grow up tp about 5ins,then nothing....
    what am i doing wrong...
    maybe its the seed packets themselves.

    any ideas...

    the 1's i would like to grow are the 1's with a lot of scent and large flowers.
  • planted sweetpeas with my beans they are sprouting well.
  • There is a blue sweet pea.L. sativus azureus which would look good in the middle of my blue Olympic ring so I must try and find it.
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