There are few plants more glorious than the humble Sweet Pea. Pink, purple, white, these gorgeous scented sweeties come in all sorts of varieties.

 

Sweet Peas are hardy annuals, which means you can start sowing sweet pea seeds indoors in late January, through to February. As soon as you can, and once they have germinated, get them into a cold frame outdoors – this is to avoid them growing straggly. Sweet peas do best when they’ve grown up in hard conditions, so treat ’em mean, to keep them keen so to speak and you should have a bumper crop of deliciously scented flowers right the way through the growing season.

 

When the seedlings have developed four leaves, pinch off the top two. This encourages sturdier growth and helps to prevent straggly plants.

 

You can plant your baby sweet pea plants out in March or April. It’s also a smart move to get started with your next crop by sowing seeds directly in your garden at the same time. This way, you really will have an abundant supply of beautiful cut flowers all the way through the summer.

 

Keep your sweet peas watered but be careful not to let them get waterlogged. Also make sure not to let them go to seed once they’ve flowered as they will soon wither. Sweet peas start flowering in May to June and really will brighten up your garden.

 

Sweet peas need a support to grow on so ideally, make sure you have some trellis, a pergola, or a structure of canes to help your blooms grow to their full potential. You might also consider using a row of brilliant sweet peas as a way to screen off certain parts of the garden.

 

Varieties

There are hundreds of varieties out there to choose from. We’ve opted for three stand-out examples picked for their colour and their scent.

 

Cupani

The original sweet pea. Cupani deserve a prime space in any garden. A beautiful combination of purple and deep scarlett, Cupani’s are the thought to be the first sweet pea introduced to the UK, and are closely related to the wild varieties that grow wild and free in Italy.

 

Fire and Ice

Fire and Ice is a delicately bi-coloured variety. Almost as if pure purple and pink pigment had been dusted over a white flower, this one stands out for its originality and subtlety.

 

 

Painted Lady

Another bi-coloured variety, Painted Ladies combines pale and dark pink – the ombre sweet pea. This one is very strongly scented and is one of the earliest scented sweet peas to flower – something that might make a difference if you were planning a big event during the late spring, early summer period.

 

 

Finally,

According to gardening guru, Bob Honeydew, sweet peas are also brilliant for your soil. Because they come from the pea/bean family, they also help to enrich your soil because they are nitrogen fixers so therefore help any future plants or shrubs in the vicinity to grow too. This means the humble sweet pea is also a brilliant companion plant and can work real wonders in the veg patch.