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How to grow Sweet Peas with children

How to grow Sweet Peas with children

Sweet Pea Flowers

Sweet Peas are one of our favourite types of flowers with a beautiful scent and fun for kids to watch growing in the garden or a pot. Find out what are the best types of sweet peas, when and how to plant them, how to look after sweet peas and more tips to enjoy growing sweet peas with your family.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SWEET PEAS TO GROW IN NEW ZEALAND?

We think these three types of sweet peas are the best to grown in Auckland and New Zealand: 

  • Cupid sweetpeas which grow up to 20 cm tall.

  • Bijou sweetpeas, which grow up to 50 cm tall.

  • Climbing sweetpeas which grow from 1.5 to 2 metres tall. (As these grow so tall, you will need a trellis or fence or bamboo teepee to climb on for this type.)

WHAT MONTH DO YOU PLANT SWEET PEAS IN AUCKLAND?

In Auckland the best time to plant sweet peas is from March to June or you can plant them later in spring. Winter Sweet peas will flower approximately 12 weeks from when you plant them. You can buy seedings from garden centres in Auckland.

WHERE SHOULD YOU PLANT SWEET PEAS IN YOUR GARDEN?

Climbing sweet peas need a sunny well drained spot and at least 5 to 6 hours of full sun. Ideally you should try to plant them in rows that run North to South. This means that the plants will get the maximum sun.

Dwarf sweet peas can grow in the borders of your garden or in pots. They can also go in hanging baskets and cascade down the side of the basket.

HOW DO YOU PREPARE SWEET PEAS FOR PLANTING OUTSIDE?

For sweet pea plants that are going in a pot use a potting mix and for ones going in the garden add plenty of compost.

You can soak your sweet pea seeds in lukewarm water for several hours before planting to help with softening the seed coating.

HOW DEEP SHOULD YOU PLANT SWEET PEA PLANTS?

Make a shallow trench. Plant the seeds about 1cm deep. Cover the seed with the dirt and water well.

We recommend planting sweet pea plants about 3 cm apart. (The seed packets say to plant them further apart, but we find that closer together gives a better result.)

HOW DO YOU PROTECT SWEET PEA PLANTS FROM BIRDS AND SLUGS IN THE GARDEN?

You will need to protect your young sweet pea seedlings from the birds as they love eating the new shoots. You can either use some netting or chicken wire mesh. Also put out some slug bait to keep the slugs away.

WHY DO YOU NEED TO PINCH OUT THE TIPS OF SWEET PEAS?

When the seedlings are about 5 to 10 cm high and have 4 lots of double leaves on them, pinch out the tips of the sweet pea plant. This encourages strong side shoots. Don’t worry that this will hurt the plant, it won’t, it gives it more growth and more flowers.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO TO SUPPORT SWEET PEA PLANTS ONCE THEY GET TALL?

You will find that you will need to tie some extras strings across the sweet peas if you are growing them in a row as often the little tendrils are not enough to support the tall vines.

HOW OFTEN DO YOU WATER SWEET PEAS? 

Keep your sweet peas well watered. You can use a liquid fertiliser in the water every 2 to 3 weeks as well.

WHEN SHOULD YOU PICK SWEET PEAS? 

Keep the sweet pea flowers picked at least every 5 to 7 days. This ensures that they keep flowering. If seed pods develop, the flowering slows down and will eventually stop.

CAN I SAVE THE SEEDS FROM SWEET PEAS FOR NEXT YEAR?

At end of season you can leave a few flowers on the plant to form seedpods. Pick the pods when they turn brown. Remove the seeds from the pod and let dry on a paper towel. Then when they are dry you can store in envelope until it’s time to plant them next year.

Sweetpeas growing in garden

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