How to Germinate Pea Seeds


Peas come in three varieties: English peas, snap peas and sweet peas. Peas grow as twining vines up to 6 feet tall, though there are a few dwarf sweet peas that grow to only 24 inches. English peas and snap peas are edible. Sweet peas are not edible but are grown for their sweetly scented, pastel-colored flowers. In fact, sweet peas are toxic if eaten. All peas are cool-season plants, requiring cool temperatures to grow, flower and peas.

Sweet Peas

Step 1

Dig a trench 24 inches deep and 6 inches wide. George Brookbank, the author of "The Desert Gardener's Calendar," suggests filling the trench with 8 inches of well-rotted steer manure, 8 inches of bagged top soil and a sprinkling of fertilizer, per package directions. Cover the top soil with 2 inches of garden dirt.

Step 2

Plant the seeds 2 to 3 inches apart and 1 inch deep.

Step 3

Water well. When the seeds sprout mound the soil from the trench up and around the stems as they grow.

English and Snap Peas

Step 1

Soak peas in a container of water for 24 hours. Remove and plant immediately. If you're planting both English and Snap peas label the containers. The pea seeds look alike.

Step 2

Plant seeds 1 inch deep and 2 to 3 inches apart in rich loamy soil with lots of added amendments such as compost, top soil and rotted manure.

Step 3

Water until the top 6 inches of soil is wet.

Between Paper Towels

Step 1

Soak the pea seeds in water for 24 hours. Remove from the water and place between paper towels sprayed with water. Put in a zip-lock bag.

Step 2

Place in a warm location such as on top of the dryer or fridge.

Step 3

Check the peas seeds every day until you see the embryonic root emerge. As soon as they do remove from the zip-lock bag and plant in the garden 1 inch deep and 2 to 3 inches apart.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not heat the container of water to get the peas to germinate faster.

Things You'll Need

  • Manure, well-rotted
  • Potting soil
  • Shovel
  • Container
  • Paper towels
  • Zip-lock bags


  • "The Desert Gardener's Calendar"; George Brookbank; 1999
  • Texas Cooperative Extension: Sweet peas

Who Can Help

  • Arizona Master Gardener Manual
Keywords: germinating sweet peas, germinate snap peas, germinating pea seeds

About this Author

Katie Rosehill holds an MBA from Arizona State University. She began her writing career soon after college and has written website content and e-books. Her articles have appeared on, eHow, and GolfLinks. Favorite topics include personal finance - that MBA does come in handy sometimes - weddings and gardening.