How to grow sweet peas from seed
Start off these sweetly scented summer flowers now. By Ann-Marie Powell
These flowers are highly perfumed and beautiful when cut for the house and the more you cut, the more the plant will produce. Sow the seeds in September or October for flowers next year, or sow in March.
Easy to grow, sweet peas like a sunny position, but will still grow in dappled shade. If you missed autumn sowing, nows a good time to plant some seed. They love rich soil, so add lots of compost when digging over your ground.
Simply poke seeds into the soil at the base of a bamboo wigwam, water well and within 10-14 days you should see the seedlings appear. Plant about twice as many seeds as you think youll need, pulling out the weaker seedlings so the strongest can grow away.
Encourage vigorous growth in seedlings by pinching out the tops of the plants when theyre a few inches high. This encourages lots of bushy side growth and more flowers.
■ Lathyrus odoratus Cupani: This beautifully fragrant purple and blue sweet pea is an heirloom seed dating back to 1699.
■ Lathyrus odoratus Matucana: This is a personal favourite, with beautiful maroon and purple flowers and an exquisite perfume.
■ Lathyrus odoratus Wiltshire Ripple: Ripples of burgundy on a cream background make this unusual sweet pea highly desirable