Sweet Pea Growing Guide

Lathyrus odoratus

Sweet Pea

Crop Rotation Group

Legumes (Pea and Bean family) 


Well-drained soil of average fertility.


Full sun.

Frost tolerant

Moderate. Young seedlings tolerate frost easily, but mature plants are damaged by freezing weather.


Mix a light application of a balanced organic fertilizer into the soil prior to planting. In early summer, drench plants with a liquid fertilizer to prolong bloom time.


Sweet peas need a fence or other support, and you need easy access to cut blossoms for bouquets, so it is best not to crowd them with other plants. Small mound-forming annuals like sweet alyssum can be grown at the base of tall sweet peas.


Single Plants: 7" (20cm) each way (minimum)
Rows: 7" (20cm) with 7" (20cm) row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Before planting sweet pea seeds, nick the outer seed coat with nail clippers to help speed germination. Plant sweet peas in the fall in mild winter climates, or first thing in spring in other areas.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


Sweet peas are a beautiful way to cover a chain link fence. Some varieties are much more fragrant than others. Colors include pink, white, red, purple, burgundy and many bicolors.


Clip stems for indoor arrangements when half the flowers are open. Snipping off old flowers will help prolong bloom time.


Pea aphids are common sweet pea pests that may require control with insecticidal soap.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Sweet Pea