Sweet Pea 'Cupid Mix' has a dwarf, bush-type habit that makes it ideal for hanging baskets, tubs and patio containers in sheltered, shaded situations.
Unlike the better-known climbing type, 'Cupid' forms a compact mound 15cm (6in) tall by 30 to 45cm (12 to 18in) wide. Plants are covered with 2 to 3cm (1in) flowers in a multitude of colours from the series. 'Cupid' is very free-flowering and the flowers, which have short pedicels, are very fragrant.
Cupid type sweet peas were originally bred over 100 years ago. If you love sweet peas but don't have space to grow a tall row, then Cupid is ideal. This super mix of colours has a dwarf, bushy, trailing habit which requires no support or training. Use it in containers, window boxes or hanging baskets and place them where their delightful fragrance can be fully appreciated.
Germination of sweet pea seed is often quicker and more uniform if the seeds are soaked in water for 24 hours prior to sowing. This also enables you to identify any seeds with hard coats, which fail to swell during this period. These should have the seedcoat nicked with a small file to enable them to take up water. A temperature of 18 to 20°C will give rapid, even germination. As soon as the seedlings have emerged, they need to be grown as cool, and with as much light, as possible.
If you have a reliable source of John Innes seed compost, or for spring sowing John Innes No 1 potting compost, these will be eminently satisfactory for sweet peas. J.I. Nos 2 & 3 are too strong for seed sowing and should be avoided. We use a good quality peat based seed compost which has given consistently good results.
Sowing: Sow in Autumn to early Winter into rootrainers or long thin pots.
Push two well spaced seeds about 2.5cm below the compost surface. When roots fill rootrainers, pot on two seedlings into a two litre pot. Pinch out the tips when plants have 3 or 4 pairs of leaves. Over-winter undercover in a light, cool place.
Plant out, two plants to a vertical in a mild spell in March. Tie them in every week to encourage straight stems. Can also be sown in Mar/April and planted out in April/May
Sweet peas can also be sown direct into the open ground where they are to flower. The best time for this in the UK is mid March to early April, depending on the weather and the locality. Sow 2 to 3in apart, about 1 to 2in deep and thin the resulting plants to an average of 6 to 8in apart. Slugs and mice can be a real problem on a direct sown crop, so take suitable precautions before you sow.
Choose an open site which gets plenty of direct sunlight, but which has some shelter from the worst winds. Avoid planting close to an established hedge or where there will be competition from tree roots. Young seedlings can be prone to disease if over watered, but once the crop is in full growth, a copious supply of water is needed. A well prepared site will pay dividends by having considerable reserves of available moisture. It is essential to encourage a strong root system if high quality flowers are to be achieved.
Balanced fertilisers are safest, particularly tomato feed. Never apply heavy dressings of fertiliser to weakly growing plants - invalids need gentle coaxing back to health. Foliar feeding can be useful for plants with root problems, but frequent sprays of very dilute fertiliser will be needed to have a significant effect.
Flowering: Autumn sown in late May. Spring sown in early summer. Keep picking as often as you can.
Flower production: 2 to 3 months Vase life: 4 to 5 days
This flowering plant in the genus Lathyrus from the family Fabaceae (legumes) is native to the eastern Mediterranean region from Sicily east to Crete.
Although sweet peas have been cultivated since the 17th century for the colour and sweet odour from which their name stems, they rose to the height of fashion in the late 19th Century.
Famous names are connected with these royal flowers. More than a hundred years ago Henry Eckford hybridised and selected sweet peas for their best characteristics and introduced the revolutionary grandifloras. Many of his offspring are still commercial available today.
The gardens of the Earl of Spencer were meanwhile home to the mutant, which gave birth to the multiflora Spencer types with their ruffled standard (upper petal) and long wing (lower petals). The first original dwarf sweet pea ‘Cupid’ was bred in the new world from a sport spotted by C.C. Morse of California and introduced in 1895 by W. Atlee Burpee.
Other erect dwarf forms originated at about the same time in Europe and were bred by Ernst Benary and Hurst.
Morphologically, an individual bloom consists of three or four flowers (or florets) on a stem and varieties can be classified as tendril or non-tendril.
Lathyrus is taken from the Greek lathyros, an old name for 'pea'
The species name odorata means fragrant or sweet-smelling.
Commonly called Sweet peas, they are often referred to as the “Queens of Annuals”
- Additional Information
Packet Size 16 Seeds Family Leguminosae Genus Lathyrus Species odoratus Cultivar Compact "Cupid Mixed" Common Name Dwarf Sweet Pea Other Common Names sweetpea Hardiness Hardy Annual Flowers June through September Height 15cm (6in) Spread 30 to 45cm (12 to 18in) Position Full sun, Partial shade Soil Well-drained/light, Clay/heavy, Chalky/alkaline Time to Sow September to May Notes