Our simple 5-step recipe for Sweet Pea success:
1. PLANT EARLY – Temperate areas (USDA zones 8, 9 and 10) should plant Sweet Peas now for biggest and best Spring bloom. They're hardy annuals and can handle frost just fine. Our gardening brethren in colder, snowy climes should get theirs in the ground just as soon as the soil can be worked in early Spring.
2. Grow them in RICH SOIL or they'll be sad! We say it all the time, and we mean it. Compost, compost, compost – especially in Winter when they are establishing their roots!
3. Bait for snails! Young Sweet Peas can succumb to the slimy savages we call snails and slugs. Once established – 8 inches tall or so – you can leave them to their own devices. We recommend Sluggo, safe around kids and pets. Apply once a week during the rainy season, and you'll be covered.
4. Provide support – sweet peas climb by tendrils and need something to climb on – an informal teepee of stakes, a trellis, a neighboring shrub? Anything it can get its tendrils around will work just fine.
5. Cut often! Once your sweet peas start blooming, cutting the blooms encourages MORE blooming! The more you cut, the longer the blooming season will continue. Toward the end of the season, leave some seed pods on the plant so that they will SELF-SOW for next year!