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Started these sweet peas from seed this year. When should I pot them into the final containers? And what kind of support will they need. Can I see photies if anyone has them please?
I also don't know which variety it is ... waiting for flowers to find out I guess ...

On plant Lathyrus




Plant them out now!

They are better in the border than a pot, for the simple reason; they must never be allowed to dry out.

This can be achieved better in soil than in a pot!

That is not to say you can't grow them in a pot!

I don't know how many plants you have but put them around the perimeter of the pot 6"-8" apart ( same spacing if you do them in the border)

Erect a wigwam with canes,one cane per plant.

The canes want to extend at least five or six feet above soil level.

Never allow the flowers to go to seed, once they do this they will stop flowering!

This means cutting them virtually every day even if it means giving them away! (That why I have lots of friends on the plot)

There is a slide show here showing how I grow mine;

23 May, 2012


Thank you TG, that is most informative - unfortunately only 2 seeds germinated - but now thanks to your slides I know the trick - soak them for 24hrs on nick them ...

Should I pinch them when they reach the top of the wigwam or shall I train them in a helical fashion around the wigwam?

23 May, 2012


As you have only two you can really do what you like ;o))

I will tell you what the pros do;

They untie the whole plant/s from the cane, then they take the plant along the ground to the last cane.

Then they tie the tip in as if it were a new plant.

They continue doing this with all of the plants e.g plant two goes along the front of the support frame round the back and is tied to the second last cane and so on i.e 3rd to 3rd from end.

In your case if you are growing them in a pot is to wind the lower part of the plant around the pot then grow the tip up one of your canes.

Having said all that I think you might be best just to let the top hang down and tie is in where you can.

Do not cut the top out as this will stop the plant growing which means " no more flowers"

Best of luck...Tg

23 May, 2012


Thanks TG, again, that is most useful. I'll move them this weekend to the big pot. Or maybe tomorrow night...

So when you do what the pros do i.e take them along the ground etc ... will that encourage them to have more side-shoots? I've read somewhere that it was recommended to take the main stem horizontally for clematis and roses, to encourage them to produce more flowers rather than just a few on the top?

Anyway, thanks loads for the info ... next year will hopefully have more seeds :)

23 May, 2012


The pros do not allow side shots to grow they only grow one stem as a cordon and they remove every tendril.

They believe that if tendrils hold up the plant this requires energy that could otherwise have gone to produce first class flowers.

There are specialist sweet pea rings available at garden centres and shops like B&Q and Homebase that are used to support the cordon to the cane.

OK this might all seem OTT but it all depends upon what quality of flowers you want.

Personally I use the single cordon method and remove most of the tendrils as this gives long stemed flowers.

I don't go as far as thinning the number of flowers on the cordon. When you do this you get more flowers per stem, but I am quite happy with getting three flowers as opposed to five per stem.

So now you know a bit more!

23 May, 2012

I've not read what Teegee has written about sweet peas.....will get round to it soon, but i have never soaked the seeds or nicked them to get them to germinate.
Looking at your plants, it would appear they haven't been stopped as they look very leggy. I would suggest cutting the plant just above the 2nd set of formed leaves. This will encourage side shoots to form at each leaf joint, and when they form, you can either choose the strongest one to grow up your cane, giving you the best chance of good flowers, or allow two to grow but use 2 canes beside the plant, and train each shoot up it's own cane, meaning more flowers but not as good.
I'm growing some in pots this year as an experiment. As a guide, they are 50 litre pots and i'm putting six plants in each one

23 May, 2012


Interesting Scrumpygrat ... sounds completely different advise to what TG was saying. No I haven't cut them yet. In fact there is now a second shoot coming out of the soil - its like its an offshoot from the same plant but its below the surface.

Are these plants perennials or do I need to start them from seed every year?

My mother in law has one in a pot that keeps coming every year but she lets it all grow tangled up and lets it go to seed ....

24 May, 2012


Maybe Teegee didn't realise your plants hadn't been stopped already. Once they have been stopped, it is the side shoots that should not be further stopped as upward growth will stop.
The shoot you have coming through the soil will be the best one for growing. It's called a basal shoot. Let that grow on for a few weeks to see how it develops. It should be miles better than what you have at the moment. You will see the difference. if that is the case, you can cut off all that you have above this shoot.
Sweet peas are hardy annuals, though you can get perennials. They come in different varieties called Spencers, the best for exhibition, grandiflora, which are the old fashioned type, you can even get dwarf varieties.
Your mother in laws may be a perennial, but i have never grown them so i couldn't say for sure.

24 May, 2012


You must be getting a bit confused by now Gf with the information Sg and I are giving you.

Well as it happens both our methods are tried and tested methods and both work!

Most people use Sg's method of stopping, I don't unless they have got leggy due to lack of light, so basically it gives me an alternative.

Regarding soaking,nicking or none of these, I have to admit I have been trying something a bit different for the last two or three years and that works as well, and that is to chit the seeds on the surface of the compost.

The benefits I found from this method is; I only pot up viable seeds i.e. those that germinate (chit) and this saves on compost,pots and most of all space.

Space is always at a premium for me with the number of plants I grow, so any space saving idea can be quite beneficial.

I did notice your plants were a bit leggy and didn't suggest stopping, because as I have said before, I never stop them unless I have to.

So the choice is yours what you you do, but perhaps because you only have two plants stopping might be the best option as this will double your flowering potential, but as has been said; the quality will not be as good.

Regarding you MIL's plants there are perennial varieties, and these are generally grown 'shrub' fashion, and the flower stems are not normally as long as the ones we have been discussing, and I believe the perfume ( if any) is not as intense!

Sorry if I have confused you but it is another one of these vagueries of gardening, i.e.there can be a few ways of achieving the same or similar results.

I often think if you sat six Gardeners around a table and popped a question at them, the potential is there to get six different answers, and none of them would necessarily be wrong.

I put this down to where and how you learned your skill, the methods you have had to use to suit your situation, and for what purpose you are growing what ever you are growing.e.g

Are you strictly an amateur?,

Are you an exhibitor?

Are you growing them in a container?

Are you growing them undercover or outdoors?

What is your soil like?

All of these, when permutated can lead to different growing regimes and consequently different answers to the same question, as has happened here.

But I have to say it has been an interesting thread, but more importantly Gf I hope you learned something (.......and all you others that have been lurking in the background taking this all in ;o)) )

24 May, 2012


Or perhaps, try one your way and one mine :)

Now i said i never soak and chit my seeds. That doesn't mean i haven't ever done so, just that i have never found a difference between the two.
However, when i did soak them, and this is particularly useful for those starting seeds in October/November who haven't got heating in their greenhouse, what i used to do was that after 1 days soaking in a cup of can see the ones that have taken in water, rather than place them on compost, i placed them on wet cotton wool pleats in a seed tray. I put 20 seeds into a 1/4 sized seed tray. This was then kept in the front room where it was warm and within a week you can see the ones that have germinated. Just keep the cotton wool moist at all times.
They can then be potted on.

24 May, 2012


Dear TG and SG,
thank you for your detailed responses. I must confess that be the end of yesterday I was a wee bit confused with the different opinions but it all makes a bit more sense.

Interesting that there are perennial and annual ones. Unfortunate, that the perennial are the ones that smell less ... the seeds I am growing come from MIL's plant ... so I'm guessing they'll be the same.

In some ways I am relieves if that is so, because (sadly) I don't have the time, and as yet not even the space to be starting them from seed every year (I only have 2 windowsills I can use :) ).

SG, what you said about the basal shoot is what I in fact experienced with one of the plants. The basal shoot started growing and I could easily see it was thicker and stronger and was in fact growing much faster. I then cut the original stem (fearing I may have done something wrong) so when the new basal shoot started on the next plant I thought I'd better ask first.

Should I stop this basal shoot above 2 sets of well formed leaves as well?

TG I appreciate your points about different solutions working for different things/purposes/locations etc.

I guess some of the things I could easily learn with experience but I am such a novice at gardening and plants, and to top it off, I come from Malta and so I'm not familiar with all the plants here, and the climate etc. It's been a steep learning curve over the last 3 years but I'm always so impatient .......

Anyway thanks again. I will post pictures up as they develop and hopefully flower ...

I haven't had time to put them in the ground yet..... by the weekend hopefully.

Btw ... when you say "leggy" am I right to understand that you mean grown tall with few leaves wide apart from each other?

Also, one last question ... do they need full sun? south facing?

24 May, 2012


Don't stop the basal shoot.
Leggy is how you describe.
Plant them where you get the most sunlight.
Keep them well watered.

24 May, 2012


Now that we know where the seeds are from, the whole situation changes yet again from what we have been discussing.

You are producing a perennial variety and we have been discussing the annual variety.

Cut it down as Sg says but this time save all the side shoots that appear, eventually you will have to do this again as these shoots will form the framework of the bush.

So with a bit of luck you won't have to grow them every year as basically you now have the beginning of a couple of bushes.

You description of leggy is correct.

As with most flowering subjects they want good light so a south facing aspect will be fine!

24 May, 2012


Thanks :) we all got there at last. I'm sorry. I obviously have been a bad patient and not given the full info! I didn't know there were perennials and annuals though. So I guess I'm excused :)

It has been utterly informative though! I've learnt so much! Defo glad to have joine GoY :)

25 May, 2012

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