When taking cuttings from a plant, you need to make sure that you approach the job delicately and follow an easy method. But this can feel like a bit of a challenge. Fortunately. There is an easy way to take sweet pea cuttings to give you more plants of the same variety. For this method, you will need a few things that you will already have such as secateurs, seedlings and water. You will also need a rooting hormone, so be sure to pick this up if you don’t already have it before you begin. In this guide, we are going to be looking at the best way to take sweet pea cuttings as well as giving you some handy tips on how to grow them.

Sweet Peas
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How to Take Sweet Pea Cuttings The Easy Way

The sweet pea is a delicate, colourful flower that comes from the Italian island of Sicily. While this may lead you to think that the plants need Mediterranean conditions to thrive, they can be easily grown in UK gardens and make for a delightful floral display. However, if you only have one or two plants and would like to widen your crop, then it is entirely possible to take cuttings from your existing plants. Doing this needn’t be a tricky task and for the most part, you will already have everything you need.

What Will You Need?

Taking sweet pea cuttings doesn’t require a significant amount of equipment. You will need the following items:

  • Jar of water
  • Scissors
  • Sweet pea seedlings
  • Root hormone

Step One – Select Seedling

The first thing you will need to do is select which sweet pea seedlings you are going to take the cuttings from. Of course, you can choose any but it is generally thought to be better if you choose those that are around two to three months old and have developed a nice amount of growth.

Taking Sweet Pea Cuttings (right) Sweet Pea Cuttings in Water (left)
Taking Sweet Pea Cuttings (right) Sweet Pea Cuttings in Water (left)

Step Two – Make Cut

Typically, you would take the cuttings just before planting the sweet peas out, and while you might feel that you are taking a lot of the plant away, at this stage, growth will rejuvenate pretty quickly. You will need to make the cut just above a pair of leaves but leave at least a few nodes to allow for new growth. Each cutting should measure approximately five to six inches and for the best results, you will need to use a clean, sharp pair of scissors.

Step Three – Dip in Root Hormone and Then Place in a Jar of Water

Once you have taken the cutting, pop it into your root hormone solution for about five seconds. You can then move the cutting into your jar of water and add as many more as you like. If you are doing several cuttings, you may wish to spread these over a few jars to give them space.

It is important to place the cuttings in their jars in an area that will receive a good amount of indirect sunlight.

Step Four – Wait for Fresh Growth

Now all you need to do is wait. It can take around a fortnight for the roots to begin to develop but this will very much depend on several factors. There may be some that take just over a week and others that might develop closer to the three-week mark. Ensure that the water remains fresh and topped up.

Step Five – Pot in a Potting Mix

Once the roots begin to form, you can remove the cuttings from the water and plant them in a potting compost mix in toilet rolls. During this phase of their life, it is best to place the sweet peas in an unheated greenhouse where they will take around six weeks to fully flourish. At this point, you can plant them out and watch them develop into fully-fledged sweet peas!

Sweet Pea Cuttings Rooting in Water with Sweet Peas Growing in the Garden (inset)
Sweet Pea Cuttings Rooting in Water with Sweet Peas Growing in the Garden (inset)

Growing Tips For Sweet Pea Cuttings

Taking sweet pea cuttings is a relatively easy gardening job but as many of you will appreciate, growing plants is another thing entirely. If you’re rooting sweet pea cuttings in water, here are some additional tips to enhance the process and increase your chances of success:

  • Use Clear Containers: Using clear glass or plastic containers allows you to monitor root growth without disturbing the cutting. It also lets in light, which can be beneficial for root development.
  • Water Quality: Always use clean, chlorine-free water for rooting. If you only have tap water, let it sit out for 24 hours to allow chlorine to evaporate before using it.
  • Change Water Regularly: Replace the water every 2-3 days to provide the cutting with fresh oxygen and prevent the growth of bacteria or algae.
  • Keep Warm: Roots develop best at warmer temperatures. Place the container in a warm spot, but avoid direct sunlight, which can heat the water excessively and harm the cutting.
  • Limit Leaf Immersion: Only the cut end of the sweet pea should be submerged. Make sure no leaves are underwater, as they can rot.
  • Stimulate Rooting: You can add a drop of liquid rooting hormone or even a small piece of willow branch (known as a “willow water” technique) to the water to promote faster rooting.
  • Monitor Growth: Once roots are 1-2 inches long, it’s time to transplant the cutting to the soil. Long roots can become tangled and may break during transplantation, so don’t wait too long.
  • Avoid Crowding: If rooting multiple cuttings in one container, ensure they are spaced adequately to prevent roots from tangling.
  • Transition Gradually: When moving from water to soil, keep the soil consistently moist for the first week to help the cutting adjust to its new environment.
  • Stay Observant: If you notice any leaves turning yellow or any signs of rot, remove the affected parts immediately to prevent the spread.

Conclusion

Sweet peas are a garden favourite and taking cuttings from them to grow new plants is extremely easy. You don’t need any special equipment and in as little as six weeks, you could have a crop of brand-new sweet peas that are ready to be planted. Don’t forget that sweet peas have extremely long roots and we recommend planting them in toilet rolls.

Tips for taking sweet Pea Cuttings Infographic

Garden Doctor Tips

“Find a healthy, mature plant with at least six leaves!”

“Cut the stem from the bottom of a leaf to about 3 inches in length and remove any flowers or buds!”

“Strip off all but one leaf on the top of the cutting, then place it in moist potting soil or vermiculite!”

“Place your cuttings somewhere warm and humid (like near an open window) until they root!”

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you propagate sweet peas?

There are many ways to propagate sweet peas. One way is by seed, either fresh or harvested from the pods. Another method is by division, which can be done after flowering when the plants have “gone to sleep.” The third option for propagation is by taking cuttings.

Are sweet peas annuals or perennials?

Sweet peas can be either an annual or a perennial depending on the variety that you purchase. Some varieties will produce flowers for one season, while others will continue to grow through the winter and bloom again in the springtime.

When can sweet peas be planted outside?

-Plant between 15th April – 1st May
-The soil temperature needs to be above 16°C
-Sweet peas love sun exposure


Author

Trevor Wright is not just a seasoned horticulturist; he’s the esteemed Garden Doctor. With a BSc in Horticulture and years of hands-on experience in the soil, Trevor has become a trusted mentor for all things gardening. As the founder of Garden Doctor, he’s committed to clarifying the intricacies of gardening, offering straightforward advice that’s rooted in years of practice. His writing is a garden of how-tos, savvy insights, and comprehensive guides that enable individuals to nurture and grow their garden dreams. When he’s not knee-deep in garden beds, Trevor is at his keyboard passing on his green-thumbed wisdom to budding gardeners, ensuring that the legacy of sustainable and joyful gardening blossoms far and wide.


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