I was eleven years old and it was a glorious early spring day in the southern, rolling hills of Indiana. I walked down the street to play with my friend, Elizabeth, and as we were playing outside, I smelled something deliciously sweet and flowery. The smell captivated me long before I could even see what was blooming!
“Elizabeth! What is that delightful smell?”
“The sweet pea vine. Haven’t you grown them before?”
We had never grown sweet peas, but I was definitely storing the remembrance of this blossom away in my brain for the future.
Elizabeth and I picked the delicate, butterfly looking flowers from the vine and made fairy crowns. The more we picked the flowers, the more they seemed to bloom. We had a splendid month of harvesting the fragrant beauties for our play and for bouquets in our homes.
The sweet pea is an annual flowering and climbing plant. It can grow to a height of three to almost seven feet tall and flowers in a variety of pastel shades of blue, pink, purple, and white, including bi-colors. When we lived in Minnesota (cold winter climate) we always sowed our sweet pea seeds in April, so I was surprised to find out that in Texas (mild winter climate) we sow them in the fall (October or November) for a spring bloom. Sweet peas can handle a light frost, but do not like the heat. They prefer cool days and nights and will start to fade when temperatures go above 65°F.
Tips for growing your own sweet pea vine:
1. Soak your seeds in water overnight before planting in the ground.
2. Be sure your soil is rich and lovely. We always mix in good compost and a bit of bone meal for our sweet peas.
3. Sweet peas will need a trellis to climb. As the vine grows, be sure to help it find its way up the trellis.
4. Plant your seeds an inch deep and about an inch or two apart. After the seedlings are three inches tall, thin to one every six inches.
5. Keep the soil moist.
6. Pick the flowers often for indoor bouquets, and the vine will produce more blooms!
Sweet peas add such an enchanting burst of color and aroma to your garden. Consider growing this captivating spring vine in your garden.
Happy blooming! xo