I’ve planted sweetpeas quite often over the years, but I have never been wildly successful. I manage to grow them, and love their sweet fragrance and pastel colors, but the vines have never been lush and produced as many blossoms as I have wished. Who knew I was supposed to be pinching the sprouts as they grew? How did I miss this tip? I certainly pinch out most seedlings to force branching; why didn’t I realize I should do the same with my vines?
I found a good explanation of why you should pinch sweetpeas quite by accident while browsing blogs and garden sites. Why Should I Pinch Sweet Peas?
“Pinch sweet peas for the first time when you set nursery plants out in spring. If you plant sweet pea seeds, make the first pinch when the seedlings are about 4 inches tall. Thereafter, pinch the vines throughout the season, whenever you think the plant will benefit from more bushiness or when the vines begin to look long and leggy or untidy.
The first pinching is most important, because early pinching directs the sweet pea’s energy to the development of strong roots, resulting in a healthy plant that is resistant to disease and pests. Pinching also forces the plant to branch out, creating a full, bushy, compact plant rather than a long, leggy plant. Each pinched vine displays new lateral growth.” ~ SFGATE
I usually soak my sweetpeas for twenty-four hours before I sow them. This year I am planning on using the winter-sowing technique for my sweetpeas. Updates will follow.