Sweet Pea, Spanish Dancer
Choice cut flowers for cool season gardens.
Sun The amount of sunlight this product needs daily in order to perform well in the garden. Full sun means 6 hours of direct sun per day; partial sun means 2-4 hours of direct sun per day; shade means little or no direct sun.
Height The typical height of this product at maturity.
Spread The width of the plant at maturity.
Ornamental Use Ways in which the product may be used in the garden for ornamental effect.
Borders, Cut Flowers, Trellis or Lattice
Life Cycle This refers to whether a plant is an annual, biennial or perennial. Annuals complete their life cycles in one year; biennials produce foliage the first year and bloom and go to seed the second year; perennials can live for more than two years.
Growth Habit The genetic tendency of a plant to grow in a certain shape, such as vining or bush like.
Start Indoors Starting seeds indoors is called Indoor Sow or Indirect Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds indoors in the spring or summerTransplant When to transplant bulbs or roots in the garden for springStart Outdoors Starting seeds outdoors is called Outdoor Sow or Direct Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the spring or summerStart Indoors Fall Starting seeds indoors in the fall called Indoor Sow or Indirect Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the fallTransplant Fall Transplant Fall-When to transplant bulbs or roots in the garden for fallStart Outdoors Fall Starting seeds outdoors in the fall is called Outdoor Sow or Direct Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the fallJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Sowing Directly in the Garden:
- Sweet pea seed has a hard seed coat. To aid germination, soak the seed in water before sowing.
- Direct sow seeds in average soil in full sun in early spring. In frost-free areas, sow from fall to early spring.
- Sweet peas are climbers, and need some sort of support around which they can wrap their tendrils. They can climb a fence, trellis or even strings. Dwarf cultivars need no support.
- Prepare the soil by removing weeds and working organic matter into the top 6-8 inches of soil; then level and smooth.
- Most plants respond well to soils amended with organic matter. Compost is a wonderful form of organic matter with a good balance of nutrients and an ideal pH level, it can be added to your planting area at any time. If compost is not available, top dress the soil after planting with 1-2 inches of organic mulch, which will begin to breakdown into compost. After the growing season, a soil test will indicate what soil amendments are needed for the following season.
- Sow seeds 3 inches apart and cover with 2 inches of fine soil.
- Firm soil lightly and keep evenly moist.
- Seedlings will emerge in 10-14 days depending on the soil and weather conditions.
- Thin plants to stand 6 inches apart when plants are 1 to 2 inches high.
- Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating.
- Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. For annuals an organic mulch of shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and will improve the soil as it breaks down in time. Always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot.
- Plants need about 1 inch of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It's best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
- Until plants become established, some protection from extreme winds and direct, hot sunlight may be necessary. Good air movement is also important.
- Do not fertilize unless the plants are showing a nutrient deficiently. If you over fertilize, sweet peas may produce lush foliage at the expense of flowers.
- Remove spent flower heads to keep plants flowering.
- Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.
- Remove plants after they are killed by frost in fall to avoid disease issues the following year.
- Sweet pea vines need little care and are easy to grow.
- In the cool weather of spring, sweet peas add a wonderful old-fashioned feel to flower beds, trellises, and containers.
- Fragrant flowers are excellent for cutting.
- Sweet peas perform best in cool weather. They can tolerate a light frost.