Sweet Peas Not Flowering? Here’s Why

If your sweet peas are not flowering, there are a few common causes. The good news is that they’re relatively easy to fix. The bad news, however, is that they’re the same problems that most plants run into – there’s no magic solution that will make neglected plants flower.

The most common causes of sweet peas not flowering are too much fertiliser, pot size, drought (or underwatering), high heat, not deadheading your plants, and lack of sun.

Keep reading to learn more, as well as how to (hopefully) solve this before it’s too late.

Top 6 Reasons Your Sweet Peas Are Not Flowering

Sweet peas are delicious and lots of fun to grow. Not only do they taste great, but once they flower they’re absolutely beautiful. The problem is when they don’t flower. The following problems are the most common ones that most people encounter when having difficulty with getting their sweet peas to flower.

1. Too Much Fertiliser

Farmer with mineral fertiliser

Fertiliser is great, but a common mistake that many new gardeners make is over fertilising one’s plants. Fertiliser acts as, essentially, food for plants. This means that many plants if over fertilised will just grow an abundance of leaves and foliage with no flowers. It can even harm your plant’s roots, so be careful.

As sweet peas are native to the Mediterranean, they’re used to sandy and rather nutrient-lacking soil. This means they don’t really need much to survive, so providing overly rich soil can cause them to not flower properly.

The fix for this is simple – add horticultural sand or grit to your potting mix and don’t overdo it on fertiliser or manure. This will improve your soil’s drainage, preventing the peas from drowning, and it will replicate the soil they’re supposed to be grown in.

Generally, you’ll want roughly 15% grit by volume for your pot. Additionally, it’s generally best to avoid sowing seeds in bags of enriched compost as it will directly counteract what they need.

2. Pot Size

Contrary to popular belief, size does matter – in terms of pots, that is. Sweet peas like to be in pots that are roughly 30 cm in diameter to give them proper space and access to nutrients. If you’re in a hotter than usual climate, you’ll want a larger pot than those in cooler climates.

Three things to keep in mind are:

  1. Pots that are too small will literally bake the plant’s roots in hot weather.
  2. Small pots give less room for soil and roots to take hold. This will cause plants that don’t flower or outright die.
  3. You need drainage holes in your pots, regardless of size. If your peas are in wet, boggy soil, they will drown. Even if they don’t drown, they’re more likely to develop fungal diseases in the root system.

3. Underwatering and/or Drought

Because of their natural preference for soil, as detailed above, sweet peas don’t really like overly wet or dry soil. They need a good balance of proper watering and soil drainage to stay healthy. If you’re noticing your sweet peas are not flowering, look at how often you water them.

You generally want to water sweet peas as often as they need without drenching the soil around them. In hot weather, this can mean up to three times a week. However, in cold or rainy weather, it’s best to water less than you might normally. Generally, a generous soak once per week when it’s raining will do the trick.

4. High Heats

Sweet peas don’t handle extreme heat very well. If you’re in a super-hot and dry climate, it’s likely best to look at where you’re placing your plants and how often you’re watering them.

There is no hard-and-fast temperature at which you need to worry. Rather, you need to worry about fast changes in temperature – such as the first real days of summer after a cool spring.

Generally, sweet peas need 5-6 hours in the sun. More than that can be damaging to them.

This means that you either need to place them in a spot that gets shade for part of the day. Alternatively, if that’s not possible you need to actively move them every day out of the sun.

5. Lack of Sun

As an inverse of the previous problem, plants need sun! If your plants are regularly in the shade or just don’t have access to 6 hours of sun, you’ll want to plant them in another spot.

While there’s not much you can do in some instances, do your best to get them as close to six hours of sun as possible. They’ll thank you for it.

6. Deadheading

This essentially boils down to regularly paring dead or old flowers from your peas. As flowers begin to die and form seed heads to reproduce, the process of forming flowers will slow or outright stop.

Every few days, swing by your pea plant with a pair of gardening shears and gently trim dead or dying flowers from the plant. Just pinch below the flower stem and cut slightly above the first set of healthy leaves. This will allow the plant to continue to flower and prevent it from spreading seeds.

And if you’ve got a partner, take this opportunity to grab a few flowers to remind them how important they are to you. I promise, they’ll appreciate the gesture. (Even if they’re wildly allergic to everything that grows green, like me.)

Final Thoughts

Sweet peas are delicious and beautiful when they flower. If your sweet peas are not flowering, there are a handful of things to look at. The easiest things to check and fix are how much sunlight and water it’s getting, as well as deadheading old flowers.

If these don’t work, it may be time to transplant them to a new, bigger pot. Ensure it has proper drainage, and go easy on fertiliser – you can even add horticultural sand to the mixture to ensure everything goes smoothly. And if you’re looking for a shiny new set of garden shears, check out our list of the best garden shears available today!

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About the Author Harry Thompson

Involved in home renovations throughout his life, Harry is an expert in everything to do with home and garden DIY. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and tending to his garden.