Struggling Sweet Peas

Discussion in 'Propagation This Month' started by Irmemac, Apr 2, 2018.

  1. Irmemac

    Irmemac Total Gardener

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    I grew some sweet peas from seed for the first time. They all germinated and I have been growing them in a seed tray on the dining room table, near a window, because the greenhouse is still bitterly cold. They shot up and looked very straggly, so with advice from a forum member I moved them into the kitchen as they were a bit too warm in the first room. So far so good. Then I repotted them into deeper pots as they were getting too big for the seed tray, and nipped out the tops. After a couple of days they looked a bit droopy, and their leaves are a bit limp, but with a hard rim. I moved them back into the dining room, in case the kitchen was just too cold (no radiator), but they are not improving and just look a bit miserable. Any advice on what to do? Something's wrong, but I don't know what. They are damp but not wet, and hav been getting fed with Baby Bio. I've included a photo in case that sheds some light.
     

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  2. "M"

    "M" Total Gardener

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    I attended our Village Garden Club a couple of years ago to hear a speaker regale us with his Sweet Pea growing experiences. He grew his for showing and had won many prizes.
    He would sow his in October in a cold greenhouse. Even showed us pictures of a heavy snow (ergo cold!) but still they thrived. Warmth actually isn't their best friend over winter. They do like a deep bed to grow in - rarely plant in seed trays because they like deep root space. Our very own @HarryS is currently patenting his own "sweet pea grow pots" ( :whistle: ) and that is the method I have used with great success. The seeds are not disturbed at all until they are hardened off and ready for planting outside.
    It may be possible that yours are sulking for being transplanted from seed tray to pot.
    They may also be sulking because you have changed their location. They would be fine in the kitchen as they don't *need* a radiator heat.

    Not sure why you are feeding them with Baby Bio though :scratch: By doing so you may be giving them too rich a start in life.
    Which type of compost did you plant the seeds in? When did you plant them?
     
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    • HarryS

      HarryS Eternally Optimistic Gardener

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      I plant my SPs in pots in Feb , and they remain there until I plant them out mid April. Must admit mine don't seem to be growing as fast as other years . I'll leave planting out until the back half of April.
       
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      • ricky101

        ricky101 Super Gardener

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        Hi,

        Agree as above, they do not need much heat, only frost free.

        Mine were similar to yours and did wonder if they would recover after being nipped out, but the look much better now there's more light.

        As soon as the real cold has gone they will be put outside in a warm sheltered spot for a week or two before being planted out.
         
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        • pete

          pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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          Sweet peas are pretty hardy, are they not?;)
          Not grown any for about a hundred years, but seem to remember planting out in late April after pinching back.

          I tend to agree, they are too warm, not enough light in the house, and hate root disturbance.
           
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          • Irmemac

            Irmemac Total Gardener

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            Great replies, thank you. I shall move my poor, hot and sulky sweet peas into the kitchen window again tomorrow and hope for the best. Planted them in seed compost to start with and then moved them into standard all purpose compost. Fed them Baby Bio because it was sitting in the kitchen and I thought why not. Here's hoping they will forgive me. :psnp:
             
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            • pete

              pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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              Its strange that people often feed plants that are struggling a bit.;)
              Often the reverse is best, wait for them to get moving and then feed, there is no point in feeding a plant that is not growing.:smile:
              Very true "M"
               
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              • Greg C

                Greg C Gardener

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                Excuse me hijacking this thread, but I am curious as I am growing sweet peas for the first time this year. My dad has always grown sweet peas in the hundreds with amazing displays. He told me about germinating them in cottonwool and then planting them into biggish seed trays and only planting in the garden in May (we're in Scotland....it's still winter here :snorky:).

                Mine are starting to germinate, but as this is the first year I am gardening, I have a stupid question. Which way do I put the seeds in the soil? the little sprout that appears when the seeds germinates....is that to face up towards the top or down? :scratch:
                 
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                • HarryS

                  HarryS Eternally Optimistic Gardener

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                  @Greg C , anyway , they will sort themselves out.
                  I am planting mine out this weekend . They sit there for quite a while with little growth . Then they start to grow very fast . Make sure you dead head when they are flowering , so they don't set seed.
                   
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                  • pete

                    pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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                    @Greg C .
                    The first shoot in peas is always a root, so facing downwards for seed that has been started in cotton wool, but though as Harry says, they know which was is down however you plant them.:)
                     
                  • Irmemac

                    Irmemac Total Gardener

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                    Hi @Greg C, I'm in Scotland too, so thanks for the advice about not planting out until May. My sweet peas are doing ok in the greenhouse. I'm showing my ignorance here, but I didn't know sweet peas have a right way up. I just plunked them in seed compost, and they emerged the right way up. Sheer luck!

                    Good luck with yours, I hope they do well.
                     
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                    • Greg C

                      Greg C Gardener

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                      Thanks for the replies. My Sweetpeas are coming along nicely now. I've planted them in seed trays until they are ready to plant out later this month (can't believe it's may already!). I need to work on a climbing structure for them now. Climbing sweetpeas are just beautiful!
                       
                    • Irmemac

                      Irmemac Total Gardener

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                      @Greg C, glad to hear they are doing well. Mine are also growing vigorously now, and itching to get out. I'm just north of Glasgow, and we have been getting frost in the mornings, so I'm holding out until that passes before popping them out after hardening them off. I've got a long narrow trough style planter and I'm going to run that along the side of the back shed, with a trellis mounted on the shed for them to grow up. I can't wait, as it will remind me of my Dad, who loved to grow them, and always had a bunch picked for me whenever I visited.
                       
                    • Greg C

                      Greg C Gardener

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                      Yeah the frost is still threatening. I've got mine in a cold frame and they seem to be doing fine. Have you grown SP in a trough before? I was wondering how they do in troughs as have been tempted by that myself (especially because my entire garden is hedged.
                       
                    • Irmemac

                      Irmemac Total Gardener

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                      I did once before, and they seemed to do ok. I don't have anywhere that's sheltered enough to put them in the ground so this seems like the best option for this year. I'm sure yours will look lovely wherever you decide to put them :spinning:!
                       
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