Sweet pea is a very popular plant in European gardens, especially in the cool areas of the central north. In Italy there are many gardeners who try their hand at cultivation, but not everyone is able to get large clusters of fragrant flowers. The main secret to getting lush and bud-flavored peas is in watering. These are annual plants, whose cultivation begins in the spring; from the moment in which the plants begin their development, in March-April, it is necessary to keep the soil always fresh and moist, watering with great regularity. A soil that dries can lead to the rapid withering of the plant, so watering must be intensified as summer approaches. During the warm months the sweet pea will have to be watered daily, to prevent the heat from ruining flowers and leaves.
Sweet pea is a plant that is difficult enough to grow successfully, especially in regions where the summers are very hot. To have a luxuriant plant, which produces innumerable flowers, it is advisable to sow the Sweet Pea directly in the ground, in a fresh, fairly drained soil rich in organic matter. It can also be cultivated in pots, but it is advisable to use large containers, since the pea odorous has a climbing habit. If you want you can choose to place the plants in hanging baskets, using them to create cascades of flowers. They are not easy plants, because the scorching heat can ruin them in a short time: the greatest cures must be offered during the summer or late spring. If you live in an area with a cool climate, such as in the high mountains, then the sweet pea will be less complex to cultivate.
The varieties of Sweet pea, whose botanical name is Lathyrus odoratus, are available today are countless; to obtain the large flowers, arranged in clusters, it is however necessary to cultivate the plants in a soil rich in mineral salts, so that the plant can draw them at will. First of all it is better to sow the pea in a fresh soil, enriched with humus or with manure. After the plants have started to develop, it is advisable to start the periodic fertilizations, to be carried out once a week, using half the dose of fertilizer recommended on the package. A fertilizer for flowering plants is used, particularly rich in potassium; It is good to check that the formulation of the fertilizer also includes some fundamental elements for the development of plants, such as for example iron, boron, zinc and magnesium.
Sweet pea: Pests and diseases
The main problem that the pea smells in Italian gardens is the summer heat. Although it is a plant that, in ideal climatic conditions, develops in full sun, in areas with very hot summers it is advisable to put the Lathyrus odoratus in half shade. However, it must receive at least a few hours of direct sunlight a day, possibly in the coolest period of the day. Excessive heat actually slows the development of new buds and leaves, making cultivation unsatisfactory. During the spring months the aphids develop extensively on the Sweet Peas, ruining the buds and the young buds. It is good to be vigilant, so as to eliminate them promptly, as soon as they appear, using a good insecticide. If cultivated and half-shade the fragrant peas can also be attacked by oidium, which develops above all in the case in which, during the watering, the leaves are also widely wetted. This fungal disease is eliminated with special fungicides.