Sweet peas: planting and caring for them in the garden

Table of contents:

Sweet peas: planting and caring for them in the garden
Sweet peas: planting and caring for them in the garden

Description of the sweet pea plant, how to plant and care for the garden plot, recommendations for reproduction, advice on combating diseases and pests, interesting notes, varieties.

Sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus) has another name - Sweet pea. According to the classification, the plant belongs to the genus Chin (Lathyrus), included in the legume family (Fabaceae), often referred to as Motylkov. The native area of natural growth falls on the territory of the eastern regions of the Mediterranean, namely the land of Sicily and further east to the island of Crete. Today there are more than a thousand varieties of this representative of the flora.

Family name Legumes
Life cycle Perennial or annual
Growth features Herbaceous
Reproduction Seed
Landing period in open ground Saplings are planted in the last days of May (early June)
Disembarkation scheme When planting between plants, keep 25-30 cm
Substrate Lightweight, nutritious
Soil acidity, pH Neutral or slightly alkaline - 7-7, 5
Illumination Well-lit flower bed
Moisture indicators Watering plentiful and regular, drying out the soil is unacceptable
Special Requirements Unpretentious
Plant height 0.5-2 m
Color of flowers Lilac
Type of flowers, inflorescences Racemose
Flowering time All summer months
Decorative time Spring-summer
Place of application Vertical gardening, decoration of pillars of gazebos or walls
USDA zone 4–9

According to one version, for the first time the word Lathyrus in the name of this plant was used by Theophrastus. The dates of the life of this prominent figure fall on an interval of about 370 BC. NS. and between 288 BC NS. and 285 BC. NS. The term itself is composed by the Greek words "la" and "thoures", which translates as "very" and "attractive", respectively. The second part of the name in Latin "odoratus", meaning "fragrant", was given to the plant almost three centuries ago thanks to the Sicilian monk Francisco Kupani, as he was attracted by the inimitable and delicate aroma of flowers while walking near the walls of the monastery. The Sicilian was so impressed by the plant that in 1699, collecting sweet pea seeds, he sent the material to Robert Uvedl, a school teacher in the English county of Middlesex.

All varieties of sweet peas are perennials (although in our latitudes they are used as an annual crop) with climbing stems, which can vary in height from half a meter to two meters (if any support is available nearby). The root system has a rod-like type and goes sufficiently into the soil (sometimes up to 1.5 m), there is a strong branching. The stems are winged and not well branched.

On the shoots, leaf plates of a pair-pinnate shape, consisting of 4-6 leaf lobes, unfold. The leaves usually end with a tendril (modified leaves), which serves to fix the shoot on nearby plants or other supports.

During flowering, which begins in June and stretches over all summer months, a racemose inflorescence is formed, composed of a small number of buds. The inflorescence originates from the leaf axils. Flowers have irregular outlines of the five-fold type and resemble a moth in their appearance. This structure is justified by the second name of the family - Moths. The corolla in the flower is formed from the largest petal in size, which looks like a "sail" with a wide-oval contour. The petals located on the sides of the rim resemble "oars", and a pair of the lower ones have grown together in such a way that they look like a "boat". The color of the petals is lilac, the width reaches 2-3 cm in wild plants, but cultivated garden forms are very diverse in color and size. When flowering, a pleasant aroma hovers around the plantings of sweet peas.

After pollination, a fragrant rank produces a fruit that has the shape of a bean. When it reaches full maturity, it opens with a pair of valves. Inside there are spherical seeds, 0, 4–0, 5 mm in size. There are 5–8 of them in a bean. Occasionally there is compression on both sides. On the surface, you can feel a slight roughness, devoid of a pattern. Seeds can be colored from pale yellow or light greenish to black-brown color. Seed germination of Lathyrus odoratus remains excellent for 6–8 years.

Planting and caring for sweet peas on a personal plot

Sweet pea blooms
Sweet pea blooms
  1. Place for planting fragrant ranks. Since the plant is native to the Mediterranean, it is recommended to choose a flower bed that is well lit by the sun, but at the same time protected from drafts and cold winds. However, if the cultivation is carried out in a very hot and dry area, then the flowers will gradually begin to shrink. There is a curious feature, although sweet peas do not need pollination by insects, since pollen is independently transferred from the anthers to the stigma of the flower (self-pollination), in hot climates, the rank develops the property of cross-pollination, when pollen from one flower is transferred to the stigma of another.
  2. Sweet pea soil must have good air and moisture permeability. Acidity indicators are preferred in the range of pH 7, 0-7, 5 (neutral or slightly alkaline soil). With this rank it will do well in a moist and nutrient-rich substrate.
  3. Planting sweet peas in open ground it is carried out in mid-late May (possibly in the first days of June) - this will be a guarantee that the soil is already warmed up enough, and morning frosts will not return. If it can be seen that buds or even blossoming flowers have begun to form on young seedlings, then they must be removed so that the rank can direct its forces towards rooting and adaptation. Before planting seedlings in a flower bed, preliminary hardening in the open air for at least 14 days is required. It is recommended to prepare the soil before planting. For this, the intended area is being dug to a depth equal to the bayonet of the shovel. Then organic fertilizers are introduced into the soil, which can be humus or compost. Potash and phosphorus fertilizers are added to the soil mixture. Fresh manure cannot be used when caring for sweet peas. This remedy can cause fusarium wilting of the plant. Nitrogen preparations are not used for the rank. When planting, holes are prepared for seedlings, placing them at a distance of 25-30 cm from each other. It is recommended to place 2-3 young plants in one hole. If the planting of a tall variety of sweet pea is carried out, then you should immediately provide for a support along which the shoots will rush up. So a wooden or metal peg is stuck into the prepared hole. Some growers use netting or twine. Over time, it is necessary to independently incline the grown shoots in the right direction, and when they adapt a little, carry out their garter.
  4. Watering. The plant is considered unpretentious, but if regular and sufficient watering is not performed when caring for sweet peas, this will lead to the release of buds and already opened flowers. It will also affect the duration of flowering - it will be greatly reduced. If it is hot summer weather and rainfall was minimal, then weekly watering is recommended, while trying to make up to 3–3, 5 liters of water per 1 m2. It should be noted that with excessive moisture, buds and flowers may also begin to fall off.
  5. Fertilizers. Although this factor can be ignored when caring for sweet peas, experienced flower growers recommend using top dressing. At the very beginning of the growing season, seedlings must be fertilized with a nutrient composition. It is obtained by diluting 1 tbsp each in a 10 liter bucket of water. l. urea with nitrophos. During the formation and opening of buds, it is necessary to apply a solution based on 1 tbsp. l. Agricola and the same amount of potassium sulfate, which are dissolved in a bucket of water. When the flowering period is in its peak phase, it is recommended to feed the fragrant rank with Ross and Agricola preparations intended for flowering plants. These fertilizers are taken in 1 large spoonful and diluted in 10 liters of water.
  6. General advice on care. Since it is customary to cultivate Lathyrus odoratus in the territory of central Russia in the form of an annual, it is recommended to destroy all plant residues with the arrival of autumn days. In this place, planting sweet peas will be possible only after 4–5 years. In order to stimulate the growth of adventitious root shoots, the hilling of the bushes is performed to a height of 5–7 cm; you will also need to use a more nutritious soil mixture. Trims are not used when caring for sweet peas. To increase the duration of flowering, it is necessary to immediately pluck those flowers that have begun to wither. If you need to get seed for the subsequent planting of a fragrant rank, then a couple of the most developed bushes are allocated, on which the flowers are not touched, until the fruits ripen.

Recommendations for breeding sweet peas

Sweet peas growing
Sweet peas growing

To grow new bushes with climbing shoots, the seed propagation method is used. Seed material can be immediately placed in open ground or seedlings can be grown from it.


Although the seeds usually germinate after about 2 weeks, some of the crops may not hatch for a long time, although the seeds used were completely healthy in appearance. Such seed is called "glass" because it can germinate up to a month. To speed up the germination process, it is recommended to carefully pierce the shell of each seed with a needle. But here it is important not to damage the embryo, but only to violate the integrity of the upper rind.

If there is no experience in this matter, then another method is to soak the seeds in warm water before planting so that they swell, or wrap them in damp gauze and keep them in this state for several days.


If you soak the seeds of varieties of sweet peas with snow-white or cream-colored flowers, then the percentage of their germination decreases sharply. They are recommended to be sown dry.

When sowing seeds of fragrant ranks in open ground, the time is selected when the warm weather stares and the threat of night and morning frosts passes. Although young seedlings that have emerged can withstand temperatures as low as -5 degrees, the planting period usually begins in mid-May. When sowing, beds are formed, which are located at a distance of 15 cm from each other. If holes are dug, then 2-3 seeds are placed in them, the distance between them is kept about 30 cm so that future shoots have more space for growth. Such plants planted in open ground (especially if imported varieties with a growing season in the range of 50-80 days) will bloom in late July or in the first week of August.

When growing seedlings of sweet peas, the seed should be soaked at the end of March. Seeds are placed in a shallow container, a little water is poured so that it covers their surface, and the top is covered with gauze. The container with seeds is placed in a warm place for several days. Every day, you need to choose from the total number of soaked seeds those that have already hatched, then they are sown in pots with a peat-sand mixture with the addition of compost (all parts of the components must correspond to a ratio of 2: 1: 2). The substrate can be made by yourself or purchased at a specialty store. The rest of the material from the container must be rinsed and left so that the seeds begin to peck. After a week or two, all the seeds will be planted in their pots. Seedlings grown in this way will bloom in mid-June. Seeds that have not swollen during this period should not be sown.

It is categorically not recommended to dive young seedlings of sweet peas, since they have a very fragile root system. For each seed, you must immediately use a separate pot made of peat (this will facilitate subsequent planting in open ground). The depth of the seed is not more than 3-5 mm. The germination temperature should be between 18-20 degrees. Until the first shoots hatch, all pots must be covered with plastic wrap or placed under glass. Crop maintenance will consist of airing every day for 10-15 minutes and moistening the top layer when drying.

After a pair of true leaf plates unfold on the seedlings of the fragrant rank, it is recommended to pinch the growth point to stimulate branching. The side shoots are subjected to the same operation. With the arrival of early to mid-May, you can plant sweet pea seedlings in open ground, but it is important to be careful not to destroy the earthy ball and not injure the root system.


A week before the seedlings are planted, they begin to harden them by exposing containers with plants to the open air in the shade. At first, the residence time will be 10-15 minutes, but it is increased daily until it becomes round the clock.

If pots made of plastic, and not peat, were used, then they should be cut lengthwise in several places, and then carefully transfer the earthen ball into the prepared hole. Sprinkle the seedlings on top with soil and watered. It is necessary to provide shading for several days to allow the adaptation period to pass.

Disease and Pest Control Tips for Growing Sweet Peas

Sweet pea flowers
Sweet pea flowers

If the rules for growing fragrant ranks are violated, then the plant may suffer from the following diseases:

  1. Ascochitosischaracterized by the formation of brownish spots on the foliage, fruits and stems with clear boundaries. For the fight, a 2-3 single treatment with Rogor is used, with breaks of 14-20 days.
  2. Powdery mildew and downy mildew (downy mildew), which can appear in the middle of summer. At the same time, a loose whitish layer is formed on the leaves and shoots. After some time, the foliage takes on a yellow tint, becomes brown and flies around. To destroy the pathogen (fungal spores), a 5% solution of colloidal sulfur is used. This means the sheet plates are washed.
  3. Fusarium on sweet peas it appears with yellowing and wilting foliage. The bushes of the rank cannot be cured, they are removed, and healthy ones are recommended to be treated with TMDT (fungicide). To avoid the defeat of all plantings of peas, it is recommended to observe the alternation of different crops in the flowerbed.
  4. Black leg and root rot affecting sweet peas, is manifested by darkening of the root collar and roots, in which the plant dies. There are no methods of struggle; infected bushes of fragrant ranks are destroyed. Healthy plants should be transplanted immediately, but before that, disinfect the root system and soil.
  5. Viral mosaic it is clearly visible on the leaves of bushes due to the appearance of a pattern of strokes on them, the tops of the stems begin to curl and take on an unnatural shape. There is no cure, and the affected bushes need to be dug up and burned with a rhinestone.

The nodule weevil and aphids (different species) are harmful insects that infect sweet peas. The first harmful insect can be destroyed by pouring 100 ml of Chlorophos preparation in 0.1% when planting the ranks into the hole. The same means is used for spraying the bushes. Aphids that attack moth plantations can usually be legumes, chin or peas. To prevent the appearance of these insects, it is recommended to spray the bushes 2-3 times during the growing season with Tsineb or Tsiram agents. Re-processing should be done after 14–20 days.

Interesting notes on sweet peas

Sweet pea flowering
Sweet pea flowering

In the course of medical research, it was found that sweet pea seeds contain b-aminopropionitrile, a substance that prevents the cross-linking of fibrillar protein (collagen). At the same time, lysyl oxidase is inhibited, which contributes to the appearance of skin flabbiness. Recent experiments have focused on obtaining this drug in order to use it for medicinal purposes. It helps to strengthen the elasticity of the skin after skin transplant operations.

Types and varieties of sweet peas

All varieties of fragrant ranks are usually divided into 10 groups planted in the garden, among which the most popular are distinguished:


characterized by strong shoots, and flowers with a double top leaf (sail). The inflorescence has 4-5 buds. The best varieties are considered to be Cream … The height of its stems is 0.9 m, the diameter of the flowers is 4.5 cm, there is a strong aroma, the color of the petals is light cream. The sail can be folded or doubled. Inflorescences are crowned with straight flowering stems, reaching a height of 20 cm, they are 3-4 buds.

In the photo, sweet peas Galaxy
In the photo, sweet peas Galaxy


- a group bred in the middle of the 20th century, a late-flowering species with a height of more than 2 m stems. The inflorescences are compacted, varying in length within the range of 30-50 cm. The petals are in flowers with a corrugated surface, often double. The inflorescence is formed from 5-8 buds, when opening the flower diameter is 5 cm. Known varieties:

  • Neptune - stems are branched, reaching 1.5 m in height, simple flowering stems extend to a height of 20 cm. They are crowned with inflorescences, consisting of 5-7 flowers, with blue petals. When opened, the diameter of the flower is about 5 cm. Often in the flowers, the base of the petals is whitish.
  • Milky Way. The stems of the plant are branched, their height is measured at 1.45 m. The flowers have a strong aroma, their petals are soft cream, the diameter of the flower reaches 5 cm, the sail is double. Each inflorescence has 5-6 buds.


A group that was bred in America in 1963. The varieties included in it have a semi-dwarf stem height not exceeding 45 cm. The length of strong inflorescences reaches 30 cm. The flowers have corrugated petals, the diameter at full opening is 4 cm.

Sweet pea video:

Sweet pea pictures:

Sweet pea photo 1
Sweet pea photo 1
Sweet pea photo 2
Sweet pea photo 2
Sweet pea photo 3
Sweet pea photo 3
Sweet pea photo 4
Sweet pea photo 4
Sweet pea photo 5
Sweet pea photo 5