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Why are my sweet peas wilting?

Everyone loves the sight of sweet peas in full bloom, and there is the simply delightful scent they also provide. But what do you do if those wonderful sweet peas that you have put so much effort into growing start to wilt? Why could your sweet peas be wilting? Let’s have a look together at some of the more common reasons for wilting sweet peas and more importantly what you can do to fix it.

Reasons for wilting sweet peas

So let’s begin by listing some of the more common reasons for a wilting sweet pea plant.

Transplanting / Root Damage

All pea plants including sweet peas do not like to be moved or have their roots disturbed. If you have just moved your sweet peas or potted them onto a bigger pot then this could well be the reason they are wilting.

If this is the case then simply leaving the plants to recover will be enough to see the wilting reversed. If you have severely damaged the roots while transplanting then it may take a couple of weeks for them to find their feet again.


Sweet peas are not the most sensitive plant to overwatering but if you really do overdo it then you can end up with some issues-particularly in young plants. If you keep your seedlings in permanently damp soil then you run the risk of introducing root rot.

This will introduce a lot of the same problems as damaging the roots transplanting does as mentioned above. This can include yellow leaves and wilting.

If you think this may be your issue then simply do not water your sweet peas as often. Allowing the soil to dry out every now and again is not the end of the world as long as it is never for a prolonged period of time.

If your sweet peas are stubbornly refusing to flower then check out my Sweet Peas Are Not Flowering guide for help and advice.

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


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!

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.