Grow Scented Sweet Peas

The scent of sweet peas is like no other, and a vase of cut blooms filling a room with fragrance is reason enough to grow these cottage-garden favorites.

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Bright and Fragrant Sweet PeasEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

In warm areas, sow seeds in the autumn; in colder parts sow in spring in a warm greenhouse or on a windowsill. Plant outside in an open, sunny area.

When to Plant: autumn or early spring
At Their Best: summer
Time to Complete: 2-3 hours over several months

Materials Needed:

  • sweet pea seeds
  • sharp penknife or nail clippers
  • deep seed trays or root trainers
  • seed soil
  • well-composted organic matter
  • obelisk or bamboo canes
  • garden twine
  • all-purpose liquid fertilizer

Chip the Seed

Sweet pea seeds have a hard shell, and unless water can penetrate it, the seeds won't germinate. To ensure the seed absorbs water, use a sharp knife or nail clippers to carefully nick it opposite the "eye" (small, round scar) and remove a small piece of the seed coat.

Nicking Sweet Pea SeedsEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Sow Seed

In fall in warm climates, fill trays or pots with seed soil and sow the seeds 1/2 inch deep. Keep the seedlings in a cool greenhouse or cold frame until the following spring, only providing extra heat during severe frosts. In mid-spring, remove the tip of the main shoot from each seedling.

Seedling Care

If you sow sweet peas in early spring, grow the seedlings indoors, or in a warm greenhouse, at 58–62 degrees F. When they reach 4-6 inches high, remove the tips down to the first set of leaves. Pinching out the tips like this encourages side shoots to form.

Pinch Seedling Tips To Encourage Side ShootsEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited
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Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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