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Sweet Pea / Lathyrus
Sweet Pea Description
Sweet Pea is a very popular and familiar hardy annual flowering plant. It is appreciated for it's delicate blooms and fragrant scents. When trained up a wall or trellis it can reach a height of three metres. Without support it can be grown in a mixed annual border - particularly dwarf varieties.
With regular deadheading the flush of flowers, that begins in early summer, will continue right into the autumn. Lathyrus flowers come in a very wide array of colours including white, pinks, reds, mauves, blues,and purples. Most sweet pea blooms are pleasantly scented.
Cultivation of Sweet Pea Plants
Sweet Pea seeds should be sown in boxes of seed compost in early autumn or early spring at a temperature of 16 degrees Celsius. As Lathyrus seed skins are very thick it is best to soak the seeds for up to 12 hours before sowing. The young plants should be hardened off before planting out.
Seeds can also be planted directly into the permanent flowering site from early to mid autumn and in early spring. Seedlings should be thinned out to a distance of 14cm apart. Autumn sowings may need protection in sever weather conditions.
For best results plant sweet pea in well dug garden soil that has been previously manured and has good drainage. A sunny position is recommended.
Continuously remove dead flowers and any seed pods to extend the flowering season.
Popular Varieties of Sweet Pea
The following lists some popular varieties of Sweet Pea.
|Dwarf Varieties ||Use at front of borders, 15-90cm |
|Galaxy Varieties || |
Tall, vigorous, early large flower displays
|Old Varieties ||Falling out of favour, available in seed mixes |
|Spencer Varieties ||Most common, 4/5 blooms per stem, up to 3m high |
Sweet Pea Pests and Diseases
Sweet Peas can be susceptible to mildew on the foliage causing wilt. Viral diseases may also be problematic.
|Height 30cm - 3m || |
Sweet Pea - Scientific Classification
|Planting distance: 15 to 25cm ||Kingdom ||Plantae |
|Flowers from early summer to early autumn ||Order ||Fabales |
|Well-drained soil, medium loam, slightly alkaline ||Family ||Fabaceae |
|Sunny site ||Genus ||Lathyrus |
|Hardy annual || || |