Are you growing sweet peas this year? Now April’s here you’ll be planning to plant them out, and looking forward to a fabulous display of blooms.
Sweet peas are a garden must-have for so many of us, and it’s no surprise given that they offer wonderful colors, beautiful scent and make for a fantastic focal point outside. Not only that, but they’re ideal for picking and enjoying inside our homes, too.
But how to maximize the amount of sweet pea flowers you’ll get? Step forward favorite gardener and broadcaster Monty Don, who has revealed the key to getting the most blooms.
Want to get in on the secrets of creating a riot of color and scent from Monty? Just scroll down. And if you’re after a complete guide on how to grow sweet peas, we’ve got everything you need to know in our special feature.
Monty Don’s top tips on planting sweet peas
Monty Don revealed the secrets of planting out sweet peas on his website (opens in new tab). We’re sharing his top tips below, along with our own advice.
1. Buying sweet pea plug plants to put into your garden? If a pot contains lots of seedlings, divide it into two or three, Monty advises. The reason is that each plant should be strong and healthy, and if you divide the seedlings they’ll have less competition and you should get more flowers, Monty reveals (and we say, yes, please).
2. There is work to do before you put the sweet peas into the ground, however. Another of the keys to successful sweet pea growing is to enrich the soil before you put them in, Monty says. He advises you’ll need lots of manure or compost for the job. Find out how to compost in our guide.
3. Sweet peas need something to climb up and we’re fans of obelisks as they make attractive vertical elements for a garden in their own right and look even better wreathed in blooms.
You could equally follow Monty’s lead and use bean sticks in a wigwam shape. Other alternatives suggested by Monty include bamboo canes or chicken wire. Any kind of wire fencing that’s sufficiently sturdy could also be used, as might hazel rods or trellis. There's more climbing plant support ideas in our guide.
4. When you’re planning your sweet pea planting, don’t forget that as well as choosing a sunny position, you’ll want them to be easily accessible for picking. Doing so regularly will keep the plants flowering all summer long – and provide fresh flowers for your rooms.
5. Monty’s advice when it comes to how to plant is to put in two or three plants to each support. Once they’re in the ground, water well and then be generous with your mulching to prevent the plants drying out, he explains. Of course, mulch will keep the weeds down, too.
6. Planting sweet peas is a task for the middle of the month of April in the south of the UK (or similar climates), Monty advises, or the end of the month if you live in the north of the UK. However, keep an eye on the weather forecast, as they should be planted once the risk of frost has passed.
7. Don’t forget that sweet peas are a tasty treat for slugs and snails. You can use repellents or homemade solutions such as a beer trap or copper tape. Check out the details in our guide to how to get rid of slugs in the garden.
Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She’s spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes and gardens and loves investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement. It's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house revamper.
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