Sweet Pea Growth Stages

Growing plants can be a little tricky, especially since every plant requires a different treatment. But you shouldn’t let this dishearten you since there are many ways that you can grow sweet peas with remarkable success.

Growing sweet peas in toilet rolls isn’t merely to recycle the toilet rolls. Instead, this environment provides the sweet peas with the enclosed space that they love. These plants prefer their root systems to be compact; once they start to spread, that is when things go wrong.

With this in mind, we can use this knowledge to our advantage and have a go at growing sweet peas with excellent results. Let’s take a look at what we need to do.

Why Toilet Rolls Are Important For Sweet Peas?

The sweet pea is native to parts of Italy and the South Aegean region, but that certainly doesn’t mean to say that it cannot be grown around the world, provided that the conditions are right. Sweet peas have very long roots and when you are sowing them at home, it is vital that you give them the right amount of space.

Much like beans, the sweet pea can be sown in a special container that can be purchased from a garden centre or other supplier. However, they are often made from plastic and are not very eco-friendly. In comparison, a toilet roll is much more sustainable and let’s face it, we all have plenty of them.

How To Sow Sweet Peas In Toilet Rolls?

One of the great things about sweet peas is that you don’t need a pile of specialist equipment to get started. Some good compost, your seeds, a few toilet rolls and a suitable container with drainage holes are all you will need.

Sweet peas can be sown at any time between October and March and should then be planted accordingly between the months of April and June. While it is perfectly possible to sow them outside of this timeframe, it is known that sweet peas will be much more robust and healthy when they are sown over the winter.

Furthermore, gardeners should remember that only two sweet pea seeds should be sewn together in each toilet roll. Any more than this and the seeds will not have space to thrive.

Alongside these sweet pea growing tips, we have an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide that will allow you to grow your sweet pea seeds in toilet rolls with no previous experience. Take a look below.

Step 1 – Source Your Toilet Roll Inners

Homes across the world have an ample supply of toilet roll tubes but if you find yourself at a loose end, there are many other types of cardboard tubes that will work just as well.

You can use kitchen roll inners or even an old wrapping paper tube. However, when going for these options, you should cut them to the size of a standard toilet roll tube.

Step 2 – Stand Your Inner in a Container

You’ll need a suitable seed tray or another container to put your toilet roll tubes in. It doesn’t matter what you use but it is essential that the container has drainage holes at the bottom.

Stand the toilet roll tubes in rows in the container and fill each of them with your chosen compost. It is important to pack the tubes well but don’t put in so much compost that it becomes overly firm. This is vital to allow the roots space to emerge.

Step 3 – Add Your Seeds

Now it’s time to add the seeds. Empty them out into a saucer or another flat surface that you can use to inspect them.

If there are any seeds that are broken or otherwise damaged, these should be discarded since they won’t deliver the desired results. Count out the number you require and then save the rest for another time.

Step 4 – Push Seeds Into the Compost

The sweet pea seeds need to be placed quite far into the compost. You should begin by placing one or two seeds on top of the compost of each toilet roll tube. Try not to place them too close together.

Next, take your finger and push the seeds down into the compost. You should aim to submerge your finger down to the knuckle in order to ensure that the seeds are far enough down. Between four and five centimetres is ideal.

Step 5 – Cover Your Seeds and Water

Where the holes remain, you should cover these with another layer of compost. This doesn’t need to be tightly packed nor does it need to be a large amount; just enough to cover the holes is more than enough. Now give the seeds a good drink of water.

When adding water, you should make sure that the moisture is evenly spread but the compost should never be saturated.

Step 6 – Move Container to a Greenhouse

Place the seed tray into your greenhouse where there will be a nice level of light. If you don’t have a greenhouse, the seeds will do just as well on a bright windowsill in the home. These seeds will not react well to frost, so be sure that, wherever you place them, they will not be exposed to this.

Some people like to give the seeds some additional warmth to help them sprout more quickly. This can be done by choosing a location with a heater underneath. While this isn’t necessary, it can speed things up. However, you should be mindful that the heat could cause the compost to dry out so keep an eye on the moisture levels.

Step 7 – Transplant to a Larger Pot

After around ten days, you will see that the sweet peas have germinated. You can remove them at this point, but if you want to give them a little more time, leaving them until they have three small leaves will work well.

At this point, you can gently remove the sweet peas from the container and plant them into a larger pot. One of the great things about this method is that you won’t need to attempt to remove the sweet peas from the toilet roll as this will naturally compost in the pot.


Sweet peas are beautifully fragrant and highly attractive plants. Growing sweet peas in toilet roll tubes is a great way to give them a good start to life.

This process is simple and quick and after around ten days, you will have plants that are ready to be potted. Furthermore, since the tubes will compost, this is an eco-friendly way to grow these stunning plants.

Garden Doctor Trev

Garden Doctor Tips

“Sow your sweet peas during the late winter so they can be plated out in Spring!”

“Do not overwater when planting as your sweet peas might drown!”

“You can use a heat mat to warm your soil when sowing indoors!”

“Toilet roll tubes will decompose adding brown material to the soil so plant your toilet rolls directly into the ground!”

Frequently Asked Questions

Where should I plant sweet peas?

Sweet peas will do well in a pot or in a hanging basket if they are a dwarf variety. These plants can grow up to 2 metres so using support or a frame will help them to climb. They require a decent amount of sun and well-drained yet moist soil.

What is the best support for sweet peas?

Sweet peas need stable support. A tepee-shaped design made from durable wood such as bamboo is ideal.

Should you sow sweet pea seeds before planting?

There is a lot of speculation that soaking the seeds will soften the shell. However, while some species of plant will benefit from this, sweet peas often don’t need any additional treatment to aid their growth.

About Me

Hi, I’m Trev and I’ve been growing things since I can remember. When I was younger, I grew up on a farm, so I have always been around plants and animals. After studying horticulture at university, I decided to start my own nursery which I have run now for 25 years. In my spare time, I run this website – which is a resource for people who want to learn more about their gardens.

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