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Sweet Pea


©2006 Publications International, Ltd. Sweet peas are annual flowers that grow best with exposure.  See more pictures of annual flowers.

The sweet pea is an annual flower grown in cool maritime or mountain climates, and brings forth its beauty all summer. They're best in cool seasons like winter and early spring.

Description: Sweet peas are vining plants that climb vigorously -- six to eight feet over fences and other supports. The flowers are pink, white, red, lavender, purple, and near blue.

How to grow: In mild winter areas, sow seeds outdoors in the fall. Elsewhere, plant as soon as ground can be worked. Sweet peas need full sun and a deep, rich soil. The shortest varieties need no support.

Propagation: Nick seed coats with a knife, and soak seeds overnight in water. Before planting, treat with a culture of nitrogen-fixing bacteria available at garden stores. Seeds will germinate in 10 to 14 days at 55 degrees to 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Uses: Grow climbing types against fences and over trellises, arches, and pergolas. The dwarf varieties can be planted in a border.

Related varieties: Early Mammoth Mixed has many colors. Explorer is a variety with a bushy habit, growing up to three feet without support.

Scientific name: Lathyrus odoratus

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