I haven't had much luck from sowing sweet pea from seed myself but can`t understand why. I've previously grown them in the greenhouse in spring,sometimes in root trainers but transplanting them outside most didn't grow or they turned white and died ( perhaps I didn't harden them off properly ). last year I threw sowed lots of seed in a well drained prepared bed and not one germinated . This coming year I am determined to have lots and lots of sweet peas for cutting so I need all you sweet pea experts advise.
I always used to sow mine in 5" pots (6 seeds to a pot) and usually around 2nd week in October which gave excellent plants but now with this warming up climate I think late October or even 1st week of November will be fine. Do NOT mollycoddle them. A cold frame is ideal and just cover until germinated then covers off and only on again if torrential rain or blizzard conditions prevail. They are HARDY annuals and anyway you don't want them coming along too early for planting out time. Also no need to feed use JI seed compost if you don't make your own and add a little clean topsoil to it. Of course it all depends on what you want , exhibition stuff or just good cut flowers. Watch out for slugs as they quite like the young shoots and also mice if you get them. Best advice, get hold of a copy of Bernard Jones book complete growing and showing of sweetpeas
I have mainly sown mine in spring as well roffy and yes sweetpea I mollycolly all my greenhouse plants, some of them don't even make it to the garden I remember 20 years ago when I had no greenhouse or cold frames ,just a seed tray with plastic cover and a bit of old carpet on top when it snowed, I grew some lovely sturdy plants. I think I just sowed the sweet peas straight into the ground and they grew well . I haven't had time to read all the previous posts about sweet peas , I`ll have a look later.
Hopefully it won't be too late if I sow some seeds today and "treat them mean" this year. I`ve just bought a 1986 copy of Bernard Jones book from ebay for £4.99 Sweetpea, looking forward to reading that .I wouldn't be showing flowers, however I`d like some with nice long straight stems for the vase as anything I have managed to grow in the past had wiggly short stems.
Sow mine late autumn and in spring either way they're not given any real protection except for a fine netting to cover the pots to stop the mice etc from pinching them. Apart from that they are left to fend for themselves and so far I've been successful.
One more thing I would add and it is quite important is that as soon as the seeds germinate and poke above the compost make sure they get all the available light. If they get shaded in any way they will get leggy and weak. What is called 'Spring' sowing is a bit of a misnomer as it should really be called 'Winter' sowing as it is usually February into early March they mean. in that case it is fine to use a g'house but then harden off asap and get 'em out there. I used to dust my seeds with Murphy's copper fungicide but not sure if you can get it now. Another thing i used to do was chip all my seeds but if you don't fancy that then place seeds on damp kitchen roll and cover with more damp kitchen roll. The viable seeds will sprout so then sow them.
i`m just realizing that I had no sweet peas this year after all. i grew them in pots in the greenhouse and planted them out in May. they didn`t grow just went white and died . is it too late to sow some now for next year ?
Not too late ladybird. I am sowing some for my son. I only have a patio. I bought a packet of Suttons Sweet Peas with 17 seeds in each of 5 packs. They are all exhibition varieties which give stronger plants to hold at least 4 flowers on each strong stem. Sweet Pea’s advice was taken at every step and I won a 3rd in a big show which was started by a sweet pea expert. One man had come from Yorkshire to show and won 2nd. He helped me to set them up. Memories! This was a long time ago.
In the past when I moved here 20 years ago I grew sweet peas, basic varieties, with no problem. I remember cutting bunches several times a week for the house and giving some to the kids on the street occasionally to bring home to their mums. I didn`t even have a greenhouse at the time. I think my molly coddling is the problem as they grow really well in the greenhouse but fail to grow when planted out, that a few years i`v had little or none.
I have just realized, looking back a bit on this thread that I wrote the exact same thing this time last year in 2019, same late sowing , same results, same idea of the problem . will I never learn. I must read sweetpeas advise and do something different next year.
I may be wrong with the year but I think early 70s anyway. My sweetpeas were in pots in an open frame exposed to the weather and I was away driving to Scotland and that year the Thames had ice over it, the diesel was freezing on the lorries and Just going round the M25 Nr Heathrow my lorry packed in several times with the fuel pipes freezing up. Further north there was great icebergs in the rivers and The plastic suzy line (brake airline) Snapped with the cold In Edinburgh and had to be replaced. I think the temp. was something like minus 20 or thereabouts but it was cold. When I got back home to Surrey after 10 days I didn't have a single plant lost. Every one of them was fine and I'm talking several hundred. Just proved to me how hardy sweetpeas really are. Main thing is when they are frozen like that is to thaw them out GRADUALLY.
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