Flower of the Month: April Means Sweet Peas
What a cute flower (and affectionate nickname) perfect for the month of April! Read on to learn a little about this pretty Springtime plant and listen to a cute song dedicated to another Sweet Pea:
Sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus) is a flowering plant native to the Mediterranean. It is an annual climbing plant, growing to a height of 1–2 meters (nearly six feet and six inches), where suitable support is available. The flowers are purple, 2-3.5 centimeters broad, in the wild plant, larger and very variable in colour in the many domesticated species.
- Zone: Annual
- Exposure Needed: Full sun
- Bloom Period: Blooms late spring into summer. Blooming is curtailed by heat. In cooler climates, they can bloom through fall. Southern regions can sow ‘short day’ varieties in the fall.
- Maintenance: Sweet peas are usually direct seeded. To assist germination, seeds should be nicked or soaked in water for several hours, to soften the seed coating. Seed can be started outdoors, as soon as the ground has warmed to about 50 degrees F. and is not too wet. At about 3-6″, pinch the seedlings to encourage strong side shoots. Seed can be started earlier indoors, in pots. Pinch off all flowers and buds when transplanting seedlings, to encourage root development. Sweet pea vines have tendrils and will attach themselves to most any type of support with meshing or lines. Regular deadheading or cutting for display, will keep them blooming longer. Sweet peas require regular watering, especially as the temperature increases. They prefer a somewhat rich soil and can be fed monthly with a fertilizer high in potassium, as used for tomatoes. Adding a bit of blood meal to the soil is thought to help keep the stems long and suitable for cutting.
On a completely related topic, here’s an adorable song called “Sweet Pea” by Amos Lee that we simply love. Enjoy!
Have a great weekend!