Do you live in a house with no backyard or garden space? But also love sweet little fragrant flowers? Well, who does not? Especially, if it is Sweet Peas (Lathyrus odoratus). Well, do not worry, even if you live in a closed apartment. Not only on trellis, but these colorful, fragrant plants can also be grown inside your home. Just put a hanging basket near your window or on your balcony.
But can you put sweet peas in a hanging basket? Usually, we see sweet peas planted in gardens or porch with various kinds of structures to latch on. They grow up to 8 feet tall generally. In spring and summer, these flowering annuals bloom and fill the surroundings with a soothing fragrance. Sometimes we take home the invasive ones that ruin the whole porch.
With the right species of the plant, that problem can be solved. Growing sweet peas in hanging baskets is pretty easy. Just follow all the tips and tricks we have gathered for you.
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Sweet Peas: Know Your Plant
The sweet pea or Lathyrus Odoratus is an annual plant from the legume family. It is naturally found in Italy, Sicily, and the Aegean Islands. It is a climbing plant that grows to a height of 3 feet to 6 feet.
In the 17th century, the wild version of this plant was bred to be more fragrant and dwarf in size. Sweet pea plants can produce a wide variety of colors like blue, pink, white, red, and lavender. Sweet peas have a dainty floral scent with a peppery edge to it.
Though in North America sweet is found to be an invasive species, by breeding that problem has been solved. You can mostly find three types of dwarf varieties of sweet pea in the market that are ideal for your hanging baskets.
- ‘Virgo’ is a type that grows about one and a half to two to three feet tall. It produces white flowers.
- ‘Flora Norton’ can grow up to five feet. It will trail from one side of a hanging basket. It mostly produces blue flowers in summer and late spring.
- ‘King Edward VII’ grows three to five feet tall. This variety has mostly vibrant red flowers.
Now you know your plants. So let us get into the process of growing this plant in hanging baskets. Let’s get into preparations.
Also Read: 12 Best Perennial Flowers for Your Garden
How to Grow Sweet Peas in Hanging Baskets?
You have to prepare the perfect container, soil, seeds, and weather for healthy growth. It may look daunting, but it is a one time job so let’s jump into it:
There are so many advantages to growing sweet peas in a hanging basket. You first have to choose the right basket. It looks the best when you buy hanging baskets that hang from a wall. As you know, sweet peas tend to trail from one side of the basket mostly.
The round baskets or DIY containers can also be used for the job. It depends on your taste for aesthetics. In the case of DIY containers always choose strong and short strings to hang the containers to make it safe.
The soil might be the most important thing you want to keep in mind in case of hanging baskets. Sweet peas can grow their roots deep in soil when put on normal grounds or a garden. It is necessary to take the necessary nutrients from deep soils.
But in the case of hanging baskets, the roots cannot go deep. So putting the topsoil of the garden or any ground is going to harm the plant.
Potting soil has good drainage properties and lots of air pockets. It provides the plant with sufficient nutrients, especially the potting soils with slow-releasing nutrients.
You can buy potting soil easily from a nursery, a supermarket, or online. Also, you can make your own at home by composting. You can also contact local farmers if you know one.
Buying seeds of sweet peas is simple. You can buy them from a nursery or a supermarket. Just be aware of the breed you are buying. Read the packet for the expiry date. And whatever happens, avoid buying the invasive ones.
If you are not sure about seeds, you can buy little saplings too. Just be aware of the variety you are buying.
Although most heritages of sweet peas love full Sun, they thrive in cool temperatures. If you live in an apartment with mostly shady areas then try to find a place where it gets six to eight hours of light.
But too much heat can be deadly for them. It is important to start early if you don’t want your plants to get ruined by summer heat. The ideal time to start should be e in late fall or late winter or early spring. It will be appropriate for the first 4 to 6 weeks.
Germination Time for Sweet Peas
Now let’s get into the step by step directions for germination –
- As mentioned before, germination peroid for this plant must be in late fall or late winter or early spring. If you are planning to go for late winter then keep the last frost in mind. Even a little frost can harm the seeds.
- Sweet pea seeds are very thick coated. Water takes time to get through. There are several methods you can apply to ease the process. You can use sandpaper to mildly scratch the surface without harming the inner seed. You can also remove the outer coat using a knife.
- Add a few gravels at the bottom surface of your basket to leave space for the plant to breathe. It will also prevent the roots from the effects of overwatering.
- Add the potting soil above the gravels and water it efficiently. Dig two to three inches deep holes with two to three inches of distance from one another.
- Add the seeds and cover the holes. Water regularly. But too much water will make the inside of the seeds mushy.
- It will take about ten to twenty-one days to germinate if the temperature is between fifty-five to sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit.
- Once the sprouts have come up, place your plant near sunlight and try to keep the temperature around 60 degrees Fahrenheit for the first few weeks.
Thus the germination period comes to a successful end. Seeing planting sweet peas in hanging baskets is just a matter of a little dedication. Now let us get into the process of taking care of the plant.
How to Take Care: Growing Sweet Peas in Hanging Baskets
- First and foremost thin out the weaker sprouts at one spot. You have to let the stronger ones give more preference here. A small number of stronger sprouts in one basket can easily fill up the basket with flowers.
- Whereas if you are using bigger baskets then replant a bunch of stronger plants together 1 foot apart from each other.
- Water every day whenever the soil feels dry to your senses. Always maintain consistently moist soil in your baskets. Keep in mind soil dries faster in hanging baskets.
- Do not overwater your plants. Put your index finger one inch inside the soil. If it feels moist you don’t need to water your plant.
- Water early in the morning every day. Do not water the leaves or the flowers. It may cause fungal infections.
- Sweet peas are sun-loving plants. But always look out for the extra heat. If your plant is getting more than six to eight hours of sun try to draw the curtains or relocate your basket.
- As mentioned before use potting soil to fill up baskets. But potting soil may dry up nutrients in a few weeks. Whenever you see a little yellowness on the leaves add a little bit of fertilizer.
- Use natural compost or organic plant food to fertilize them. Ideally, you will need to fertilize once a week.
- If you see any pest attack, it is best to use organic pesticides. You can spray some neem oil to keep pests at bay.
- Check for weeds and grass weekly when you fertilize them. If you spot weeds lurking out pull them from the soil immediately.
It is just too convenient to plant sweet peas in hanging baskets. Firstly there is a minimum chance of contact with wild soil so the chance of pest infestation is pretty low. Some weed seeds can still be present in the compost or in the soil you add. But If you keep checking you are safe.
By now you must have attained a pretty good idea about growing/planting sweet peas in hanging baskets. If you think you want to decorate your room or veranda with these beautiful flowery plants, just go for it. The fragrance of summer and autumn will have a new definition for you.
With the right care, your sweet peas will grow and create beautiful vines hanging from the baskets. Just mix and match some colors by planting different varieties. Hang them on the walls or near the windows or from the porch and enjoy the view.