This is my first year of having a successful sweet pea crop and I can confirm they are growing, fast! Having been away for a couple of weeks I was amazed at just how much they had grown. It was like a bush of sweet peas, and although I had plenty of flowers, they did need some tidying up. Did you know they grow 5-6 inches a week? Just amazing.
Helping get the best out of your sweet peas
Sweet peas need something substantial to cling on to. Remember, it’s the tendrils that are reaching out, looking for something to attach with. If they don’t have anything then they will look for the nearest thing, sometimes the nearest sweet pea branch, which is not ideal as you will end up with the sweet pea branch bending, meaning you won’t get straight stems for your vase. This year I used a wicker obilisque which has worked well, although you can’t see it anymore!
In terms of making sure they have enough support, you can let them use their tendrils to reach out to whatever you’ve put in place, or you can train them yourselves. This year I’m using the ‘training them myself’ method, which involves snipping off the tendrils going in the wrong direction and tying them in to the support. The reason I’ve chosen this approach is because by snipping off the tendrils you are ensuring that the plant doesn’t waste energy going into producing the tendrils, and instead the energy goes into the growing stem to produce long stemmed flowers. I’m all for the flowers.
When you come to tying in your plants, don’t be afraid to trim off any of the jumbled stems. I had to do this after my break as there were just far too many untrained stems. You are ideally looking to have one dominant stem to tie in. You are then ready to trim off any tendrils and tie the branch into your support.
You can use soft garden string to tie them in, however, I’m using paper covered wire right now. Working with flowers I always have plenty of it and I find it works perfectly, plus it’s so easy and quick to use. I find tying the wire around the cane or supporting post first works well and then tying in the sweet pea into place. Remember, tie in loosely as the branches are delicate and you don’t want to damage the stem.
All you now need to do is watch your Sweetpeas bloom away. You will need to make sure you come out every couple of days to cut off the tendrils and to also continuing to tie them in. Remember, sweet peas are fast growers!
It’s also advisable to feed them with a high potash fertiliser. I use tomato food when flowers appear. They also don’t like to dry out so make sure you water them daily if you haven’t had any rain and it’s especially important to water after you’ve cut them too.
And finally, and this in my opinion is the best bit – regular picking will encourage more flowers, so pick away and make sure you go right back to the base of the stem – don’t leave any stump on the branch.
Hopefully you will have flowers well into September and remember that the seed can be collected at this time too. All you need to do is leave the seed pods on the plants until they have turned a paper bag colour, collect them on a dry day, remove them from their pods and store in paper bags in a dry place until you a ready to sow them – it then starts all again!
With love and stay safe, Flowers and Lifestyle by Margot –
Find out more about me – www.flowersandlifestylebymargot.co.uk