How to Sow Sweet Peas Indoors with Pots & Trowels

Sweet peas are the nation’s favourite for a reason. Their beautiful blooms are easy to grow and will flower and flower all through the summer – as long as you pick them on a regular basis, of course! In a recent Pots & Trowels video, Martin Fish shared his expert tips and advice for sowing sweet peas indoors. You can watch the video below, or keep reading for all the tips, tricks and equipment you need get wonderful sweet peas this summer.

What you will need to sow sweet peas indoors:

  • Sweet pea seeds – we recommend our friends at Mr Fothergill’s sweet pea seeds
  • Pots
  • Compost or potting soil
  • Somewhere indoors for the pots to sit such as a windowsill, cool greenhouse, conservatory or porch
  • Plant labels (if sowing several varieties)
  • Small pot or bowl of water (optional)
  • Knife (optional)
  • Sandpaper (optional)

Sweet pea seeds have a hard outer casing that can sometimes benefit from being soaked or chipped to help aid germination

How to germinate sweet pea seeds

One method gardeners use to germinate sweet peas is to soak the seeds. Sweet peas are really hard coated, which means that they’re nice and big and easy to handle, but that hard outer coat is really tough and the seeds need to be able to absorb moisture in order to start the  germination process.

To soak your sweet pea seeds, simply put them in a small pot or bowl with a bit of water and let them soak overnight. This way, the water will get into that outer hard seed coat so that when you put them in the compost they’ve already softened a little bit. Don’t soak them for too long though as the seeds can rot – around 12 hours is ideal, 24 hours at the absolute maximum.

Another method people use is to break the seed coating with a sharp knife – our range of gardening knives are ideal for tasks like this. To do this, get your knife and very, very carefully (watch your fingers!) chip a little bit of the seed coating off to allow moisture in. If you’d rather not use a knife, you can also use sandpaper to rub at that hard outer coating.

If you’ve got fresh seed and it’s nice and plump, there’s no reason why your seeds shouldn’t germinate, but if you’ve had problems in the past then these germinating techniques are something that you might want to try.

Space sweet pea seeds out evenly across the pot soil's surface

How to sow sweet peas indoors

  • Fill your pot with soil or compost – don’t fill it to the top, leave around ¾ inch space from the top
  • Tap it down slightly on the table and use something such as another pot to press the soil down to create a level sowing surface
  • Get your seeds and space them out evenly across the surface
  • Cover the seeds with around a centimetre (½ inch) of compost
  • Tap the pot on the table again to lightly level it
  • Use your fingers to gently firm the compost down
  • Water your pot – even if you’ve soaked your sweet peas, they still need a good drink! It’s better to give your pots a really good watering at this stage and then not give them another water until the compost really starts to dry out on the surface. By this point, they will have hopefully germinated and picked up the moisture from lower down. If you keep watering them every day they’ll get too wet, and they will most likely rot.
  • Stand your pot on a sunny windowsill… and wait! Hopefully, in about a fortnight’s time, you’ll have some sweet peas coming through.

Give sweet pea seeds one good inital water and then leave the top soil to dry out before watering again

Where to Buy Darlac Tools

Make life a little easier for yourself by using the right garden tool for the job. You can find our Darlac products in store from your local garden centre. Find your local Darlac stockist here.

If you enjoyed this blog post and the Pots & Trowels video, be sure to subscribe to Pots & Trowels on YouTube and to follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for weekly practical videos all about gardening.

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