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Sweet Peas; Fragrant Cool Weather Annuals

Add some color and fragrance to your cool weather garden with annual sweet peas.

This old time favorite thrives in cooler temperatures. Extend your enjoyment by starting seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last spring frost. Gardeners in mild climates can plant seeds outdoors in fall for winter or early spring bloom. Soak seeds overnight or scratch the hard seed coat with a nail file to increase sprouting success.

Grow sweet peas in a sunny location or area with light shade in the afternoon. Water the soil thoroughly when the top few inches are crumbly and moist.

Remove the flowers as they fade to keep the plant looking its best and producing more fragrant blooms.  Plants decline in hot humid weather, so have a heat tolerant replacement ready as needed. Avoid problems by planting sweet peas in a different location the following year.

A bit more information: Perennial sweet peas (Lathyrus latifolius) are hardy in zones 3 or 4 to 8. They grow into 4 to 8 feet tall vines and thrive in full sun to light shade and well-drained soil. The flowers are beautiful, but not fragrant. It has been found to be invasive in some areas of North America.

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