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Sweet Peas (Lathyrus odoratus)

Sweet Peas - Not edible, in fact poisonous!

Most Sweet Peas are summer flowering. They need at least 12 hours’ daylight before they can flower. If sown too early in northern New Zealand the plants become very big before they flower. Sweet Peas prefer a sunny position away from strong blustery winds. Stake or provide support for taller growing varieties. Seed can be sown outdoors from March to early June in a sunny, well-drained site. In cold areas it would be best to wait until spring. Sweet Peas require regular watering, especially as the temperature increases. Sweet Peas are versatile and easy to place in the garden, pots and containers, and they also make themselves happily at home on trellis, walls, twining through other climbers and up into smaller trees and shrubs.

Some popular varieties to look out for are High Scent, Old Spice mix, Unwins varieties and Wiltshire Ripple.

Like building a house a good foundation is the key to success in your garden. The better the soil, the better your plants will grow. If you are starting with an existing garden bed dig in organic matter to your soil. The best times to plant are early in the morning, or late in the day so the plants aren't exposed to the hot sun straight away. Always water plants well before and after planting.

Directions for planting in garden beds

  • Water plants thoroughly before planting and allow to drain.
  • Dig a hole, approximately twice the depth and width of the root ball of your plant.
  • Gently loosen the root ball of your plant and position the plant in the centre of the hole.
  • Fill in with your chosen growing mix.
  • Press soil gently around the base of the plant.
  • Water your plant well and continue to water regularly.

Directions for potting plants

  • Water plants thoroughly before potting and allow them to drain.
  • Half fill your container with your chosen growing mix.
  • Gently take the plant from the current container, loosen the root ball and remove any loose or dead pant material and roots.
  • Position the plant in the centre of the new container and fill with your chosen growing mix up to 3cm from the top.
  • Gently firm mix around the base of the plant. The mix should be at the same level on the plant as it was in the previous container.
  • Water your plant well and continue to water regularly.

Companion plants to:

Sweet peas attract bees and butterflies into the garden. Like other pea family members, they fix nitrogen into the soil and so they benefit a wide range of vegetables such as brassicas, leafy greens like Silverbeet and Spinach and Salads.

If you are going to use Sweet Peasto treat an existing health condition please consult with your healthcare provider first.