Puriri Lane | Maules Seed Catalogue | Vintage Sweet Peas

Growing Sweet Peas

Summer - What would summer be without Sweet Peas? 

Sweet Peas are deliciously fragrant and oh so delicate - it is no wonder people are in love with them - as are we!  We have decided to source some seed of sweet peas that we love and you can find a selection of them available for sale here

Sweet Peas growing at Puriri Lane

Puriri Lane | Lathyrus odoratus | The Cutting Garden

We grow several different varieties of Sweet Peas each year here at Puriri Lane to see their varying colour, flower shape, scent and stem length. There are  as you would expect many different opinions on the best time and method for sowing but there is no right or wrong way just make sure you plant your seeds to ensure you can enjoy their beauty by summertime. Here at Puriri Lane we wait until about late June to sow our seed and we sow them into root trainers so that we can then plant them out once they get to a good size - for us we find this works really well, you can of course direct sow your seeds.

Puriri Lane | Lathyrus odoratus | Sweet Pea | Bix


Sweet Peas love full sun in humus rich soil with medium moisture, but do like well drained soils.  Best performance occurs in cool soils with good air circulation. They prefer a somewhat rich soil and can be fed monthly with a fertiliser high in potassium, as used for tomatoes, or we also use Seasol as a liquid fertiliser.

Select a planting location that will provide them with at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. As sweet peas are climbers, you will also need to provide stakes, trellises, a fence or other structure for them to climb up. Sweet pea vines have tendrils and will attach themselves to most any type of support with meshing or lines.  

To encourage bushy growth, pinch out the tops when plants are about 15cm in height (not less than this).  Once your sweet peas have established themselves, an application of mulch will help keep the roots cool and moist – just keep it away from the stems to avoid rotting.

Make sure you water during dry spells and as the temperatures increase and keep picking the flowers to ensure they keep coming. Avoid overhead watering as this can cause powdery mildew – water at the base of the plants. To prolong blooming, it is important that you keep plants from setting seed, so be sure to harvest and deadhead the flowers frequently.

A bucket load of Sweetpeas at Puriri Lane

Puriri Lane | Harvesting Sweet Peas from our cutting garde

If seedpods are allowed to develop, flowering will slow down and eventually stop.

At the end of the season, though, you can leave a few flowers on the plant to form pods to save your own seeds. Pick when the pods have turned brown, remove the seeds from the pod and let them dry out completely on a paper towel.  Store seeds in a paper bag or envelope in a cool, dry place, ready for sowing the following season

For the longest vase life, pick when there are at least two unopened flowers at the tip of a stem. Add flower food to the water to extend vase life, you can find our recipe for flower food and see how to prolong the life of your flowers on our Garden Journal or if you are looking to grow more plants from seed we highly recommend The Flower Garden | How To Grow Cut Flowers From Seed.  Sabina Rüber who is  a huge Sweet Pea fan and co-author of the book shares how she goes about growing them from seed.

Remember to protect your sweet peas as they emerge from slugs and snails with snail bait – they will devour them overnight!


This is the original variety introduced from Sicily in 1699 by the monk, Francis Cupani,  and it is very closely related to the wild strain found grows in Southern Italy. As far as varieties go, if you want 10 out of 10 for scent then this extremely heady and fragrant sweet pea is for you.  It is a robust, fully hardy strain, that is a power house of bicolored, purple and rich deep purple-magenta flowers that appear over many weeks, but be sure to keep picking them as this is what will ensure your plant goes on producing an abundance of blooms.

Lathyrus odoratus | Sweet Pea | Cupani

Puriri Lane | Lathyrus odoratus | Cupani


Deliciously dark - I cannot get enough of these shades, whilst the pastels are indeed beautiful I have a penchant for dark and moody coloured flowers and this one is stunning in my opinion. Windsor makes a stunning statement  in the garden, this rich chocolatey-maroon coloured sweet pea is divine! Fragrant nostalgic smelling flowers sit atop lovely long strong stems making them excellent for cutting.  Being a "cut and come again annual", the more you cut the flowers, the more you will in return receive many more!

Lathyrus odoratus | WindsorPuriri Lane | Lathrys odoratus | Sweetpea | Windsor


Ahhh Nimbus - I am in love with this variety for and love what they call Flake coloured sweet peas - the colour of eggplant delicately touches the edges of the frilly petals with a spotted design.  It has super long stems and of course like all sweet peas is fabulous for cutting. You can find seeds available for sale here.

Puriri Lane | Sweetpea | Nimbus 

Given our addiction to Sweet peas you would hardly be surprised that we also have beautiful stationery available.   Floret Farm's Sweet Pea Note cards are available here and are a mix of images and there are two of each which add a beautiful final flourish to your gift or a special note to someone as they are blank inside.  You can see the images in the picture below.

Floret Flower Farm's | Cut Flower Garden | Sweet Pea Notes

Puriri Lane | Floret Flower Farm's Sweet Pea Note Cards

The beautiful images of Sweet Peas in our Floret Farms Sweet Pea Note Cards

Puriri Lane | Floret Flower Farm's Sweetpea Note cards

Summer without Sweet Peas would just not be summer... we hope you get to enjoy some of these beautiful flowers.

We have some growing instructions here  which you can download and print out

Happy Growing


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