Sweet peas come in many different bloom colors and no cutting garden is complete without at least a few of these fragrant and nostalgic beauties. The delicate-looking blooms which are born on long slender stems remind us of childhood days when we would romp through grandma’s yard and pick flowers.
While the flower may be nostalgic, modern colors have been developed that make Sweet Peas as popular today as they were decades ago.
Fire and Ice (Lathyrus odoratus) and Almost Black (Lathyrus odoratus) are two updated versions of the old classic Sweet Pea and I think that one (or both) deserve a spot in your flower garden.
So how to grow sweet peas?
Fire and Ice
This fragrant annual produces delicate blooms that have pale lavender on the bottom and graduate to a bright fushia pink on top.
Fire and Ice is a gradiflora Sweet Pea with a very strong fragrance.
The masses of bi-color blooms put on quite a summer show as the vigorously growing plant climbs up a garden trellis.
The more blooms that you cut off Fire and Ice Sweet pea, the more blooms the plant will produce.
This Sweet Pea variety produces dark maroon blooms that are almost black.
The petal size and stem strength have been increased over the years, along with the darkened bloom color, to make Almost Black Sweet Pea a stunning addition to a home garden and cut flower bouquet.
Also known by the name Little Black Dress, this Sweet pea Variety is hardy and has a strong, heady fragrance.
Planting Sweet Peas
Sweet Pea seeds are hard and will need to be soaked in water for 24 hours prior to planting to soften the tough exterior shell.
In climates that have mild winter weather, sow Sweet Pea seeds in the fall.
In all other climates, sow seeds in late winter or early spring as soon as soil is workable.
Sweet peas can be grown in full sun or light shade, and are not picky about soil conditions as long as it’s not soggy.
Growing Sweet Peas
All Sweet Peas, including Fire and Ice and Almost Black, are heavy feeders and require a steady supply of food to produce abundantly.
Then how to grow sweet peas?
Prepare planting beds by working in bone meal and compost into the soil prior to planting seeds. These plants are also very thirsty and will need a steady water supply to keep them happy.
Sweet Pea vines are rapid growers and will reach around 6 feet (180cm) in length when mature.
A strong trellis or similar support system will be needed to keep plants upright and producing abundantly.
Happy sweet pea gardening!
|Soil type||chalk, clay, loam, sand|
|Soil drainage||well drained|
|Height x Width||6~9 x 3~6 feet (180~270 x 90~180 cm)|
|Flowering seasons||Summer, Fall/Autumn|
|Life span||perennial, annual|
|Plant hardiness zones||5 – 9|