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Will sweet peas grow in the shade?

Sweet peas are a wonderful flower to grow in any grade, but what do you do if the only spot you have for them is quite shaded? Will sweet peas grow in the shade? Let’s have a look and find out.

The short answer is yes, sweet peas will grow in the shade. The actual answer has a few caveats though, let’s jump into them.

Amount of shade

This is the main factor that will affect how well sweet peas do in the shade, the actual level of shade. We light to talk about plants that can tolerate or even thrive in the shade, but “the shade” can mean a lot of different things. Dappled shade is vastly different to a full shaded spot that never gets direct sunlight.

In dappled or partial shade (where the plants are in the shade part of the day and sun another part) sweet peas will be just fine. In complete shade (where the plant never sees direct sunlight) they will struggle.

The longer portion of the day that a sweetpea is in the shade the less it will flower but it will still grow and flower, just not as well as it would in full sun. For more info on why sweet peas might not flower check out my guide.

Time of day in the shade

If the plant is only in the shade in the early morning or late evening then they will grow just fine. What will affect the number of flowers on your sweet peas is how much sun they see in the prime day mid day sunshine.

If they spend all of this time in the shade, then they will struggle to provide amazing blooms but should still grow and flower.

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

Sweetpeas

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.