Posts Tagged ‘patio’

Patio sweet pea mysteries

November 1st, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Sweet Pea 'Balcony Mix' and 'Teresa Maureen' (inset)

Something slightly odd has been happening with sweet peas recently. It’s not so very long ago that the genuinely dwarf varieties, especially ‘Cupid’ and varieties like it that only grew about 15cm high, were widely popular. I remember going to visit a wholesale grower a few years back and he had many thousands of potfuls ready to go to garden centres. But they’ve mostly disappeared.

On top of that, the medium height patio varieties reaching about 90cm and ideal for tubs and other containers… Well, they haven’t disappeared altogether but there are far fewer around then there used to be. But there are some.

One of the prettiest of all sweet peas falls into this category. ‘Teresa Maureen’ (inset, above) reaches about 1m in height and although the flowers are small they’re both prolific and strongly scented – and such a lovely combination of purple tints, veins and picotee set against a white background.

The other patio sweet pea to look out for is ‘Balcony Mix’ (background, above). This is a blend featuring fragrant white flowers prettily patterned in a range of stripes and streaks.

The other unexpected thing about these plants, apart from the fact that relatively few varieties are now available, is that they’ve been particularly recommended for sowing later than other sweet peas. Sow now, by all means, but seed can also be sown in January as long as you have a cold frame or even simply a cloche (not to mention a mousetrap and organic slug pellets) to provide protection.

For these shorter varieties that have a less extensive root system as well as shorter top growth, I sow five or six seeds in 12cm pots and plant the whole pot in a container in spring. This is the way to grow sweet peas in small spaces.