How to grow sweet peas: Gardening devotee’s tips and clever trick to ‘get more flowers’

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Sweet peas can be prepared now in deep containers such as old toilet roll tubes ready to go in the garden when milder weather comes, a gardener has said.

Gardening Instagram account, Old House in the Shires, is run by a passionate gardener, Sophie, who has been gardening for 15 years.

She recently discussed sweetpeas on her Instagram, which she suggests planting at this time of year.

The primary school teacher, based in North Wiltshire, has been focusing on her garden while taking time away from work while affected by long COVID.

She wrote: “Sweet peas can be grown easily from seed anytime from October to April.

“They are especially great for beginners to try as they grow quickly.”

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The gardener, who has amassed lots of followers due to her gorgeous garden, detailed her top tips for sweet peas.

Top tips for sweet peas

“Sweet peas like any pea, like to grow long roots and so choose a container that is nice and deep,” Sophie said.

“You can buy root trainers for this but can also use toilet rolls or deep pots.

Sophie suggested using peat-free compost for the plants.

She said: “Use a peat-free compost and I like to mix in some vermiculite or perlite but this is not necessary. In fact, they will happily grow in garden soil.”

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The gardener went on: “Soak your seeds for a few hours if you can. Some people like to score each seed. You can skip both these steps though, as they will grow without them.”

Sophie explained how she uses leftover toilet roll tubes to grow sweet peas.

“I add two seeds per toilet roll or four seeds to a deep pot,” she said.

“Cover each seed with compost and water well.

“Sweet peas will happily grow on a sunny windowsill but once they have germinated I would try to put them in a greenhouse, cold frame, or outside under a plastic box otherwise they become ‘leggy’. This just means they grow too tall, too soon.”

Explaining how she avoids this, the green-fingered Instagrammer said: “I always pinch out my sweet peas to stop them becoming leggy.

“This means taking off the growing tips once they’ve grown three sets of leaves.

“This encourages them to grow new stems and the plant will get bushier. This also means you will get more flowers later on.

“If you sow these seeds in January in toilet rolls, you won’t have to pot them on. They can be planted out in March/April after you have fully hardened them off. They are more cold tolerant than you think!”

Express columnist Mark Lane discussed how often to water your houseplants to “keep them happy”. 

He suggested using ice cubes to water your indoor plants.

Mark said: “Some gardeners leave an ice cube on the surface of the soil and allow it to melt.

“Repeat this twice a week and your plant will be happy. This also shows how little water a plant requires.”

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