'New Horizons' is probably the most comprehensive range of colours, patterns and flowering times ever put together in a sweet pea mixture.
Designed specifically for cutting, the varieties selected are long stemmed with a delightful fragrance.
The range includes early, mid and late flowering types which will flower over a much longer period than normal mixtures. Expect up to seven blooms per stem from this free flowering mixture.
Sweet peas are a garden favourite owing to their pleasant sweet smell, their attractive hues and their ability to grow prolifically. If you would like to bring some of them out of the garden and into the house, there are some simple steps to follow to ensure that they will last a little longer in the vase.
• Pick sweet pea flowers early. Sweet peas destined for indoors should be picked before the flowers are fully open. Wait until the lowest blossom on the stem has just started to open.
• Burn the stems. Place the base of the stems in a naked flame (a candle is fine). Alternatively, place them into boiling water for a few minutes.
• Put them in a vase immediately. Stand the sweet peas in a vase filled up to the neck of the stems with cold water.
• Sweet peas tend to give off a lot of ethylene, which promotes their demise. Storing cut sweet peas in a cool, well-ventilated area may assist.
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 - 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.
Sow in Autumn to Early Winter into rootrainers or long thin pots.
Push 2 well spaced seeds about 2.5cm below the compost surface. When roots fill rootrainers, pot on two seedlings into a 2 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 - 2 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 - 3" apart, about 1 - 2" deep and thin the resulting plants to an average of 6-8" apart. Slugs and mice can be a real problem on a direct sown crop, so take suitable precautions before you sow.
Sites for Sweet Peas:
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.
Watering: 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: 2-3 months Vase life: 4-5 days
If you are interested in the growing of sweet peas, why not join “The Eckford Sweet Pea Society of Wem” Named after Henry Eckford of Wem who began work on the flower in about 1876. it is dedicated to the conservation and promotion of these varieties. For details, send an s.a.e. to the Membership Secretary, Lyndale Nook Farm, Weston-under-Redcastle, Nr. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY4 5LP.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 16 Seeds Family Leguminosae Genus Lathyrus Species odoratus Cultivar Horizons Elite Common Name Sweet Pea Other Common Names sweetpea Hardiness Hardy Annual Flowers Mixed Colours, June through September Height 200cm (6ft) Spread 30cm (12in) Position Full sun, Partial shade Soil Well-drained/light, Clay/heavy, Chalky/alkaline Notes Time to plant seeds: September to May