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Growing Sweet Peas 2014/2015

Hi, folks

As we know there has been a ‘Growing Sweet Peas’ thread containing 57 pages & over 1100 replies running here for a long time, resulting in difficulty being experienced in finding useful information. With this in mind, I’m starting this one which will hopefully run during the current season.


Autumn is almost with us and is a time when many sweet pea growers like to sow their seed……preferably sometime from mid, to late October, depending on the weather.

You will need:

  1. Seed: The seed of your choice, please buy the best you can afford. My own preference is for ‘Eagle Sweet Peas’, although there are several excellent companies out there.

  2. Compost: Although some will recommend a general purpose compost, I prefer compost that has been specifically formulated for sowing seed, as it contains less nutrients… own choice is Arthur Bowers, John Innes Seed compost….this being loam based.

  3. Root Trainers: or grow-tubes. Sweet peas are very deep rooted and require deep pots which will have to accommodate them for about 4 months.

  4. Cold-frame: or other suitable protection. But remember sweet peas are extremely hardy and will cope with temps of -10c happily.





  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114
    Thank you.
  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 3,267

    Good idea for a new thread.

    I sowed my sweetpea at the weekend, as you know David here in the NW my October sowings haven't done to well in the past. We've already had some frost mornings and chilly evenings. 

    I might need to pot them up before winter sets in though as the pots could be to shallow.

  • Yes, this is the thing, Zoomer.....there isn't a one size fits all (as with planting early spuds) For me (in the Midlands) October usually fits the bill.

  • Thank you,  I have deep root trainers - will need to get the compost, I will try a few seeds the ones that came with the gw mag

    This will be the first time for autumn sowing for me want to see if I can get flowers earlier in the year as normally sow in spring so will need all the help from you guys

    Hampshire Gardener
  • Think it will probably be a late October sowing for you, Gardengirl....I would recommend JI Seed compost, but it's up to you, of course.

  • Thank you for posting this David.

    This year was the first time I'd ever grown anything from seed, and my sweet peas are doing very well. I'd like to collect seed from the sweet peas already flourishing in my garden to sow them for more of the same next year.

    I still have some seeds in the packets I bought in May.

    I did sow a few of each variety and they were growing nicely, but I went out one day to find the entire tray of seedlings had been pulled up so I had to re pot them. I suspect that my neighbour's 3 & 4 year old children were the culprits - we have shared access to our back gardens and I stupidly left the seedlings where the children could reach. Nothing had been chewed/eaten, just every seedling pulled out of the compost in the cell tray I'd sown them in. (Currently fencing off my back garden to prevent the children from pulling up my plants image. The "parents" just laugh...).

    All are Suttons seed and are the following varieties - " Beaujolais " (deep burgundy maroon - grown & flowering very well),/ " White Ensign " ( white - 1 strong plant - flowered later than the others), " Noel Sutton " ( rich blue - didn't get any of these flowering so must be the ones I kept in pots after the neighbour's children pulled them up ), " Mrs R. Bolton " ( bright pink - I have more of these in flower than any of the others), and " Air Warden " ( vibrant scarlet red - didn't get any of these - will be in pots, same circumstances as "Noel Sutton").

    The ones still in pots, I have kept pinching them out to keep the plants small - Will these ones survive over winter to plant out next spring ?

    The plants growing strongly and flowering very well - When I collect their seed, do I sow it immediately or leave to dry a little before sowing ?

    I also have some perennial sweet peas, which are currently still in small pots and have been regularly pinched out - when is the best time to plant these out in my garden ?

    I live in South East Scotland, approx 15 miles from the East coast and approx 12 miles South of Edinburgh city centre. We have had great weather here for most of the summer. Nights are getting a lot cooler now and we have had low enough temps at night now to have a slight risk of light frost.

    My back garden gets full sun for most of the day after 10 - 11am until sunset. Will be well sheltered once I've finished my fence.

    My fence closest to the house is North, North-East facing,(fencing off my garden from our shared access with neighbour, so this fence is approx 1m away from the building).

    Sorry for all of the questions. As I said, it's my first year growing anything from seed.

    Oh, and I don't have a greenhouse (yet) but have 2 small (very, very well tied down & in a sheltered but sunny position)) plastic mini growhouses. I also have a couple of old sash windows to make a cold frame, which will be done as soon as my fence is done image

  • Thanks David K   I will be going to the GC sometime before end September will get seed compost then - feel like the spring when I can't wait to sow seeds

    Can I ask if you sow in a root trainer how many seeds per cell? I have 22 seeds in the pack and do you put the tray indoors to germinate or leave outside with the plastic lid on

    Got to build the cold frame yet out of pallet planks hope to have it done by end of October 

    Hampshire Gardener
  • TootlesTootles Posts: 1,469

    Hi David K - I sowed these fellows about three weeks ago. I'd like to avoid them going all leggy. please can you tell me when it's best to nip them out? They currently have two lots of leaves. Thanks ever so. 





  • Gardengirl - I would sow 2 seeds per cell. If you intend them for showing then remove the weakest seedling....or for cut flowers, retain both.

    You say you hope to have your cold-frame built by the end of October. Perhaps I should say here that autumn sown seed are best germinated outdoors in their winter quarters.

    Of course they can be germinated indoors, but this is where legginess problems begin.

  • Tootles - Sorry to say that these were started far too early, which is why they so drawn and leggy.

    If it were me, I would start again, but if you want to persevere with them, pinch-out above the first pair of leaves. 

    Sorry!  image

    PS. I note your greenhouse seems to be located next to a brick wall, perhaps this is causing them to be drawn towards the light.

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