Annual Sweet Pea ‘Knee High Mix’ make's Excellent Cut Flowers.
One of America's favorite annuals, sweet peas offer bright, fragrant flowers that aremagnificent for cutting. All sweet peas prefer cool weather - although the varieties 'Old Spice' and 'Mammoth Mix' show remarkable heat resistance.
Climbing varieties need support such as a trellis, netting or strings. We enjoy them most when rambling over shrubs, for that authentic cottage garden look.
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Grown in full sun, sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus) are annuals known for their climbing nature and fragrant blossoms. "Knee High" varieties, however, are dwarf in nature, excellent for gardeners who enjoy sweet pea flowers but don't want the hassle of a trellis system. In climates where the ground does not freeze during winter, plant sweet peas in October or November. They'll grow and bloom during the winter months and with care and will last until mid-summer. In cooler climates, plant sweet pea about four to six weeks before the last frost. They'll grow and bloom throughout the spring and summer months.
Sweet Pea Germination: To soften the hard coating of these seeds, soak them for several hours or overnight in warm water before planting. Most of the seeds should have softened and begun to swell, but if a few remain hard make a slight nick in the seed coat with a sharp knife. In climates with mild winters, these prepared seeds can be sown in the fall to bring the earliest spring blooms. Otherwise, they should be planted in spring as soon as the ground can be worked; light frosts will not be harmful, though the seeds require at least 55 degrees F to germinate. Plant the seeds just under the surface and keep the soil lightly moist until germination. Seeds started indoors should be prepared in the same way, but planted in groups of three in individual peat pots and given plenty of sunlight.
Sweet Pea Seeds: As the seedlings develop, pinch off the top set of leaves occasionally to encourage branching. Keep in mind that pests such as birds and slugs can damage the young plants. Both seedlings and mature plants need regular watering for best growth; several applications of fertilizer will also bring these plants to their full potential. A layer of mulch will help conserve moisture as well as controlling weeds.
Harvesting Sweet Pea: Cut these flowers early in the morning, choosing stems with the lowest blossom just beginning to open. Place in water immediately, stripping the leaves that will fall below the surface. Pick the blossoms often, since this encourages more to grow.
Saving Sweet Pea Seeds: After the faded blossoms fall from the plant, bean-like pods will develop. When they turn from green to a light brown color, pick them from the plant and spread them out to dry away from direct
sunlight. When they have dried, split them to remove the seeds; spread the seeds out to dry completely. Store the dried seeds in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Sweet Pea Info: Origin: Introduced US Flower Other Common Names: None Duration: Annual Bloom Time: Summer to Fall Height: 12-18 inches Spacing: 4-6 inches Light: Full Sun Soil Moisture: Medium USDA
Zone: 3a-9b Seeds Per Oz: 300 Produces a compact, bush-type sweet pea with large blossoms in shades of lavender, pink, white, and red.
- Season: Annual
- USDA Zones: 5 - 9
- Height: 48 - 60 inches
- Bloom Season: Early summer to late summer
- Bloom Color: Mix
- Environment: Full sun to partial shade
- Soil Type: Moist, well-drained, pH 6.1 - 7.5
- Temperature: 64 - 68F
- Average Germ Time: 14 - 21 days
- Light Required: No
- Depth: 1/2 inch
- Sowing Rate: 1 - 2 seeds per plant
- Moisture: Keep seeds moist until germination
- Plant Spacing: 2 - 3 inches for seed spacing, then thin plants later to desired spacing