Pinching off the Sweet Peas

This is my first year growing sweet peas. I planted four seeds in one pot and two of them came up.

They grew pretty well at first, putting on several inches quickly. When I came back from vacation a few weeks ago, I found one of them broken…

…but it seems to have rebounded on its own.

From what I read, it is now time to pinch the tips off these sweet peas. Pinching the tips off when they’re young makes them grow bushier, thus producing more flowers. Most sources I read said to pinch them off after they have three or four sets of leaves. These sweet peas have exactly three sets of leaves. I was actually hoping to wait a little longer for them to get their fourth set of leaves before pinching, but their growth seems to have stalled…along with all my other seedlings. (They germinate just fine and then their growth stagnates…what is happening??)

Regardless, I’m going ahead and pinching them off, and maybe that will stimulate a bit more growth. (I doubt it, but one can hope.) I’m snipping off the top set of leaves down to just above the second set of leaves. Grow my sweet peas, grow!

3 thoughts on “Pinching off the Sweet Peas”

  1. It is puzzling that they stagnate… do you let the soil dry slightly between watering? I find today’s potting mixes hold a lot of water, it seems, making the soil too soggy for optimal growth. I often add sand or perlite to the mix to improve its drainage.

    1. Hmmm…maybe that’s my problem. I’m letting them dry out a bit, but maybe not enough? The echinacea pot grew algae early on, so I’ve backed off the watering since then, but maybe the damage was already done?
      Another thought is that the seedlings are right in front of an open window (the heating system in this house is such that this room gets way too hot otherwise), and I wonder if, during when temps outside dip into the high 30s at night, it is simply too cold next to the window? I think you had brought the issue of cold temps up before, and I said “no, no, this room is the warmest room in the house” but maybe you were right all along. I’m still not sure though…when I put my hand by window, it doesn’t feel cold. Plus, they get extra heat from the grow light. How cold is too cold for seedlings?

      1. Most seedlings prefer temps 65-75, and evenly moist soil, but not soggy or dry. Stress occurs either side of those parameters, and seedlings don’t have the root systems yet to manage stress. Everything has to be just so, and with your schedule I expect that you simply cannot be there to check on your babies. 🙂 Even I find seedlings challenging and I’m home most the time!

Leave a Reply to Eliza Waters Cancel reply