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Getting the Best from your Sweetpeas
Once your sweet peas are blooming there are a few simple things you can do to prolong the season, get the most flowers and stop the stems from shortening too much.
Cut the flowers every day or so.
Sweet peas are one of the most generous flowers of summer. Cut them and you will get more and more flowers, leave them on the plant and they will inevitably form seed pods that you miss. Making seeds is all that the plant wants to do, the flowers are a byproduct, so once the seeds are safely ripening the plants, reproduction in sight, will lose interest in flowering.
Snip off tendrils and old leaves.
Tendrils are the way that sweet peas climb - curling like a baby’s fist around a proffered finger. However they are just as happy to curl around a flower stem as they are around a support so they can end up bending stems over an twisting them. Cutting them off means more tying in though - so its up to you how much effort those extra flower stems are worth.
Sweet peas are hungry and thirsty plants and a lot of that demand comes from the large leaves.
If you cut off any large leaves that have gone matte and slightly dusty looking, you allow the nutrients and water to get to the new growth and flowers.
Sweet peas are one of the plants that really benefit from regular feeding - It isn’t really surprising as we are asking a lot of them. In the wild they would produce one flush of flowers that would form seeds and then they would die back - we demand week after week after week of flowers.
I find that keeping feeding to a particular day of the week makes me more likely to remember. A watering can with some diluted seaweed or comfrey in it is perfect - just give them a good soak.
Or you can also use the same mix as a foliar feed and spray it onto the leaves with one of those plant spray bottles (or a well washed cleaning spray bottle).
Cut more of the plant.
No matter what you do, stems will get shorter and shorter as the season goes on - it is the plant economising on making stem tissue and concentrating on the flower instead as it panics that it may not produce seeds in time for them to ripen. At that point of the year I cut whole lengths of stem - leaves and tendrils as well as flowers and simply have wilder, greener bunches.