Sweet Peas

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Sweet Peas

February, March and April are the best months to plant sweet peas in all Australian climates, but traditionally Australians sow their sweet pea seeds on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17).

Plant details

Common name: Sweet pea

Botanic name: Lathyrus odoratus


Flowering annual with fragrant perfume. Colours range from white, blue, lavender, purple and pink through to red. Sweet peas usually grow about 1.5-2.0m (4-6′) tall, but there are many different kinds available, including dwarf cultivars.

Best climate

All areas are suitable for growing sweet peas. Try them as a winter flower in warm climates, and a spring or early summer flower in cold or mountain districts.

Best look:

excellent cut flower winter flower display fragrant garden good for covering a trellis or screen dwarf types such as ‘Cupid’ are great as ground covers or planted in hanging baskets

Good points:

beautiful perfume attractive flowers in a wide range of colours

Growing tips

To grow well sweet peas need plenty of sun (at least six hours per day), a soil enriched with compost and manure, and good drainage. Provide a trellis, wire netting or stakes for tall varieties to climb, and don’t use too much fertilizer (particularly high nitrogen fertilizer) or the plants will produce lush green leaves but very few flowers. Prolong the display by removing spent flowers.

Getting started

Seed and seedlings are available now at your local nursery or garden centre.