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Help! My Sweet Peas Are Not Flowering

If you are excitedly waiting for your sweet peas to bloom but it just doesn’t seem to be happening then what can you do? Here I have some of the main reasons why sweet peas won’t flower and what you can do about each of them.

Sweet Peas Not Flowering
Sweet Peas Not Flowering

Not enough sun

The main reason for sweet peas not flowering is that they are simply not getting enough sun. Sweet peas love to be in full sun and although they will grow in shadier spots they will not flower as much. If they are getting very little sun then expect blooms to be both very poor and delayed until later in the season.

Not enough water

Sweet peas are thirsty plants and if you are growing them in containers or we have had a dry spell then they will need plenty of additional watering.

If they don’t get enough water then sometimes they can refuse to flower, or flower a lot less than usual.

Too hot

This one isn’t really much of an issue for UK gardeners unless we get an extended heat wave. Like all peas, sweet peas are suited to really hot conditions.

Heat stress from extreme heat can stop them from producing flowers.

How do I get my sweet peas to flower?

If you think the issue is that they are not getting enough sun then you can try to move them, but be warned, they don’t like being moved.

Maybe wait until next year and grow them in a different position.

Watering the plants regularly can help if they have got dried out by an extended dry spell.

With too much heat there is not much you can really do for the plants apart from making sure they have plenty of water and waiting for the weather to turn, which let’s be honest, it will do.

When do sweet peas flower?

Sweet peas are usually expected to start flowering in June and can flower for the remained of the summer. If you regularly prune the flowers you can even get them to flower well into autumn.

Do sweet peas bloom the first year?

Sweet peas are an annual plant in the main, so yes they will flower in the first year and then die. There are perennial sweet peas known as everlasting sweet peas but these are not as common.

Everlasting sweet peas will also still flower in their first year.

More on Sweet peas

sweet peas, (Lathyrus odoratus) are a flowering plant belonging to the legume family. They are an annual flower that loves to climb and spread, in the right conditions and with the correct support they can grow to 2 and a half meters tall!

Mixed colours of sweet pea flowers
Mixed colours of sweet pea flowers

Unlike many other legumes which are grown to be eaten, sweet peas are grown for purely aesthetic reasons. There is evidence to suggest that the pea seeds from a sweet pea plant are actually toxic to humans and not fit for consumption even if this was desired.

Sweetpea FAQ’s

Are sweet peas perennial?

No sweet peas are an annual plant, they will not come back year after year.

Can you eat sweetpeas?

No, sweet peas are grown purely for their looks. Unlike many other legumes, they are actually toxic to humans if consumed.

Are sweet peas poisonous to pets?

Yes, as they are poisonous to humans they are also poisonous to pets, so make sure you keep an eye on your pets when they are hovering around sweet peas.

How high can sweet peas grow?

With the proper support, sweet peas can grow to 2m or even slightly above!

When do you grow sweet peas?

The traditional season for sweet peas is June and July but with the right care and attention, they can be both started earlier and grown later into the season. Regular deadheading of sweetpeas can massively prolong their flowering period.

How to germinate sweet peas?

I like to soak my sweet pea seeds in water for 24 hours before planting them in a seed tray. This soaking helps to break down the tough shell around the seed allowing them to germinate better.