How to Care for Pea Plants


Whether you are growing shelling peas or snow peas, all pea plants have the same basic requirements. An early season vegetable, peas grow on vines. The pods are harvested and the edible peas are removed before they reach maturity or, in some cases, both the seeds and pods are edible. A member of the legume family, peas along with beans add beneficial nitrogen to the soil.

Step 1

Plant the proper type of peas for the season. Plant traditional cool-season peas in spring for early summer harvest and heat tolerant varieties in mid-summer for fall harvest.

Step 2

Sow cool-season peas directly in the garden bed once soil temperatures reach 45 degrees F in spring. Sow heat-tolerant peas in mid- to late summer 12 to 14 weeks before the first expected fall frost. Choose a well drained bed that isn't wet but is evenly moist.

Step 3

Install a support system behind each row of pea seeds at the time of planting--installing later may damage the pea plant's roots. Use a trellis or a system of poles with sturdy lines woven between them.

Step 4

Keep the bed well weeded but avoid disturbing the shallow root system of the pea plant .

Step 5

Apply a 2-inch layer of mulch over the entire garden bed to preserve soil temperature and inhibit weed growth. Use an organic mulch such as bark or straw.

Step 6

Water as necessary to keep the soil moist. Provide 1 inch of water weekly in most conditions.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not fertilize the pea plants after planting, as this will burn the roots and cause the pea plants to die. Peas are self fertilizing so amendments are rarely necessary. Avoid harvesting peas when the plants are damp with dew or rain. This spreads bacterial diseases and may damage the plant or inhibit pod production.

Things You'll Need

  • Trellis
  • Mulch


  • University of Illinois Extension
  • Ohio State University
Keywords: pea plant care, growing legumes, maintaining peas

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.