Our Flower Patch

Inspiring a new generation of growers

Pinching peas – sweet ones (from March 21st)

Leave a comment

Child enjoying planting sweet peas

Piers enjoying planting sweet peas.

I had a demo from a championship sweet pea grower (who also quite conveniently happens to be my neighbour!) the other day on how to pinch out sweet peas. There is nothing better than seeing something carried out in front of you to bring the words you have read to life. So I whizzed back to my greenhouse to check if mine were ready to be pinched out and sure enough, some of them were. My sweet peas were kindly planted for me by a young friend, and were planted on February 2nd.


There is still time to spring plant sweet pea seeds if you haven’t already. They can also be planted in the autumn.

Seeing as I found it easier to “see” this being done I thought I would post up some photos as its the closest I can get to showing you in person. We describe in the sweet pea growing page for members how to pinch out the sweet pea seedlings, so here are the photos to help our members and non-members alike.


Sweet pea seedlings should have their central growing stem pinched out after two pairs of real leaves have formed. This helps to produce side shoot formation and therefore more flowers.

Pinching out Sweet pea seedling Our flower patch

Stage 1 of pinching out Sweet pea seedlings.


There are two sets of leaves either side of the main stem, plus a little growth beyond this, therefore this is a good point to pinch out. If there are two sets of leaves but either no additional growth or very limited additional growth then wait a day or two.


Stage 2 of pinching out Sweet pea seedlings.

Stage 2 pinch stem between finger and thumb.

Using thumb nail and forefinger “pinch out” the central growing stem. Press your thumb nail against the pad of your forefinger to cut through the stem. Pinching out young seedlings can easily be done with your thumb nail as the stems are so soft. Youngsters could also use scissors if you think this will give them more control. Try both methods to see which works best for your group.


Stage 3 of pinching out Sweet pea seedlings.

Stage 3 the central stem has been removed.

Stage 4 of pinching out Sweet pea seedlings.

Stage 4 the piece of seedling that has been removed.










The central stem has now been removed.

A top insider tip is that if you want even more flowers you can pinch out the side shoots again after they have developed some more! A championship grower would not do this however, as it results in more flowers of less quality. However seeing as even my neighbours “rejects” are often better than my top quality I think most of us could get away with it!!!

So let’s see how all our sweet peas do this year. If you didn’t spot the latest news the other day there is an offer by Mr Fothergill’s for free sweet pea seeds, and of course our members have them included in their starter seeds collection.


Old and young grower watering sweet pea seedlings together.

Brian and Henry watering sweet pea seedlings.

Brian is braver than I was letting my son do watering duty of his sweet pea seedlings. I don’t think any seedlings drowned on this occasion and a happy soggy boy resulted! As my seedlings will not be entering national shows later in the year I often let my boy loose on them!

Author: countrygate

teacher, firelighter, storyteller bringing creativity to the classroom

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s