Sweet pea is as pretty as its name, perfect to decorate your house. Sweet pea flower consists of 160 species, and the cultivated ones have brilliant colors. Learn how to plant them at home so you can enjoy them every year.
Sweet Pea Flower Types
There are at least 28 types of sweet pea that have been cultivated across North America and Europe. However, some of them are more popular than others. Here are seven popular sweet pea flower types:
- Miss Willmott
Miss Willmott is a type of sweet vine pea with colors such as apricot, pink, and orange. The vines can grow to six feet long. The flowers have an amazing fragrance.
- Noel Sutton
This sweet pea is famous for its ruffled shape. The stems are long, perfect for vase display. The fragrance is sweet and delicate.
- Prima Ballerina Tri-color
This is a dwarf sweet pea flower that changes color when growing, from rose pink and cream to lavender purple. The flowers can last long in the vase, perfect for a gift.
- Apricot Sprite
Apricot Sprite is favored for its robust blooms. The vines can grow as long as six feet. Each flower has bicolor shades, such as apricot-pink.
Matucana is one of the most fragrant sweet peas. The vines grow to six feet, and the flowers show wonderful bicolor streaks, such as two different purple shades.
- Air Warden
Air Warden has brilliant scarlet color. The vine grows to six feet long, and long stem supports each flower. It is a heavy-blooming plant.
Many sweet pea flowers are fragrant, but if you look for the “heavy perfume”, the King’s High Scent is your choice. The flowers are large and white with a purple edge, and one arrangement can spread scent to the entire room.
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Sweet Pea Flower Meaning
Sweet pea flower meaning varies, depending on the color and arrangement types you choose. Giving sweet pea as a sign of thank you or appreciation is very common. The numerous blooms and beautiful colors reflect nothing but adoration.
Sweet pea flower has special meaning for French brides. The flower is thought to reflect good luck, persistence, and resistance against evil temptations. On the other hand, sweet pea is also a symbol of good-bye or departure, which reflects the bittersweet part of it.
Sweet Pea Characteristics
Sweet pea characteristics reflect its origins in the Mediterranean region. It likes full, bright sun, and rich soil with good drainage. It is hard to transplant, so you must sow the seeds directly on the growing spots.
Sweet pea cannot grow with legumes, because it will be derived from nutrition. It also gets fungal problem easily, especially when the leaves are wet. Despite the beautiful color, sweet pea has toxic seeds, so keep them away from pets or little kids.
Sweet pea seeds are covered with a hard layer. You must soak them for 24 hours before planting to break this hard layer, which is visible as a brown coating. Nip the seeds with nail cutter afterwards, and they will be ready for planting.
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How to Grow Sweet Pea in Garden
Many sweet pea varieties grow in vines, so you must prepare a climbing spot. To grow sweet pea in garden, make sure your soil is alkaline (use lime powder to treat acidic soil). Use a hoe to work the soil up (about two feet deep) and mix with compost.
Prepare a perfect climbing net or trellis. Place them four inches deep in the soil. The climbing spot must not be thicker than ¼ inch. If you use nets, the width of each opening must be at least 2 x 2 inches.
Create holes under the trellis with pencil, with 6 inches of distance between them. Place two or three seeds in each hole. Cover them properly to block out the light. Water them frequently during the growing season. If you don’t use compost, use high-potassium fertilizer.
Sweet Pea Care Tips
Sweet peas require slightly more meticulous care than other common cut flowers. You need to water them in the early morning because wet leaves that are left overnight get the fungal problem. The watering must be slowly but deeply, starting from the bottom.
Regular deadheading is important in sweet pea care. Nip any flowers that look slightly fading, and don’t let them produce any pods. If you love decorating home with cut flowers, this process is beneficial for your plants.
Avoid excessive fertilizing, since it will encourage the plant to produce excessive blooms that suck the nutrients. After planting, you only need to fertilize twice during the growing season. Use weak fertilizer every time.
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Common Sweet Pea Problems
Aphids, slugs, and nails are common sweet pea problems. If the problem is mild, you can pick them up. If the problem is serious, use an insecticide or molluscicide to remove them. You may use horticultural soap for aphids or crushed egg shells around the plant for slugs.
Leafy gall is a bacterial infection that causes the plant to grow dense, distorted leaves. It usually happens in the summer. If you see the signs, remove the infected plants and potentially contaminated compost.
Sweet pea cannot handle drought. When this happens, you will see scorched leaves, weak seedlings, and bud drop.
Sweet Pea Arrangement Tips
Sweet pea arrangement will last long if you pick the flowers right before they bloom fully. Picking them in the morning is the best since this is when the flowers hold the most moisture. Cut them in a 45-degree angle to ensure more water absorption.
Fill up the vase with cold water to submerge most of the stems. Slightly burn the ends of each sweet pea flower stem before you place them in the water. Sweet peas are great to combine with smaller flowers, such as lavender, foxgloves, and forget-me-nots.
A sweet pea is a great option if you look for colors and fragrance. These flowers also make great gifts and house decorations. Sweet pea flower does not like drought, but the beauty will worth all the efforts.