Plant of the Month

January Sweet Peas

Although traditionally not the most popular growing period, January is a great time to sow fragrant Sweet Peas and look forward to them flowering from May through to August.

In fact, sowing right now means they can develop stronger roots, sprout early growth and be large enough to endure frosts.

When choosing your variety, remember to be bold and brave! Sweet Peas come in a huge range of colours, some bright some delicately pale, so mix and match.

Their seeds can be sown with compost in pots or 6cm deep in tubes (old loo rolls make great recycled cardboard nests!).

They don’t need too much warmth and are perfectly happy in a cool spot of the house, an unheated greenhouse or a cold frame. The germination period normally takes from a week to ten days.

When the seedlings are about two inches high, pinch the growing tip – this should encourage a bushier plant.

Your Sweet Peas should be ready to plant out in mid-Spring but make sure they’re well watered.

Most varieties have tendrils that will soon discover their very own supports but some can be given a helping hand by tying them in.

When those beautiful flowers burst free, feed your Sweet Peas with a high potash fertiliser.

Regular picking will encourage a fuller display and prevent your prized plants from setting seed.

Finally, why not make your January gardening a family affair?

Sowing Sweet Peas with your youngsters is a wonderfully engaging and educational activity and the seeds are large enough for even the tiniest hands to handle.

What better way to get ready for Spring then those long Summer days . . . and the end of lockdown?

Happy gardening from Greenbelt!