How to Grow Sweet Pea (Lathyrus Odoratus)

Views: 22977 | Last Update: 2009-02-04
The sweet pea flower, or lathyrus odoratus, is in the legume family, but otherwise is different from edible sweet peas. Grow sweet pea flowers from vines on a trellis with help from a sustainable gardener in this free video on flower gardening and plant... View Video Transcript

About this Author

Yolanda Vanveen

Video Transcript

Hi, this is Yolanda Vanveen, and in this section we're going to talk about how to grow sweet peas. Now sweet peas are different than sweet peas that you eat with your dinner, sweet peas are related though, they're both in the legume family, so a sweet pea flower grows very much like a regular pea does. It grows a vine and you need to have a trellis or fence or something for that vine to grow on, or just a piece of string, because it'll grow up that piece of string and give you beautiful fragrant pink and white and yellow flowers. They're just beautiful. And you start your sweet peas in the spring by seed, so you just buy the seeds or collect the seeds from your plants in the fall, and you start them whenever the frost has finished, whenever there's no cold nights anymore. And just put them either - my easy way to start seeds is just to put some in a paper towel in a plastic bag and get the towel wet and make sure there's not too much extra water and keep it wet, don't let it dry out. You just leave in the kitchen or a drawer and check on it every couple of days and you'll find the sweet pea seeds will start to sprout, and at that point when they sprout, I just plant them right in the ground right at the bottom of my base and my string and they grow immediately. You can also start the seeds in a seed starter tray. you just use some seed starter mix, it's very porous, it's really good drainage. And you just put your seeds down maybe a quarter of an inch, half an inch into the soil and just water it well and better to mist than to spray it hard, 'cause you'll lose the soil. And they'll start sprouting, and just leave them, let them grow just a little bit, till they have a good set of roots, and make sure it's a full hot sunny spot, and then you turn them around and plant that right into the garden. And make sure with the sweet peas to have something for it grow into, because they are related to regular peas and they grow very similarly. So just like regular peas, they produce flowers and then they produce a fruit, but sweet peas just produce a flower and then they make seeds. And they're very toxic so never ever eat your sweet peas. Just enjoy them as a cut flower, they smell so incredibly good and they'll die back every winter, so in the fall they'll die back so collect the seeds, because the plant won't just come back like other bulbs or roots will. It needs to be started every year, it's an annual, so you save the seeds and just start them every spring again, and you can enjoy them for many years.