Plant Answers

Plant Answers

QUESTION: I heard another gardening radio
program individuals saying that candy peas are toxic to eat? My
sisters and I ate them on a regular basis with no in poor health results. What

ANSWER: Some of us simply go loopy with half-truths about which
crops are toxic and which aren’t. Our favourite supply of
dependable plant data at:
provides the next details about candy peas:

“EDIBLE PARTS: Peas and really younger pods

HARVEST TIME: Solely acquire peas and younger pods from areas you
know have NOT been handled with
pesticides. Accumulate younger pods in early summer time and peas barely

SAFE HANDLING PROCEDURES: Soak peas and younger pods in heat water
to take away grime and particles. Don’t use dish detergent or any kind
of sanitizer. These merchandise can depart a residue. Boil in salted
water with
a splash of sugar. Cook dinner till vivid inexperienced and tender. Or, stir
fry younger pods with different greens .

SOURCE: Crowhurst, A. The Weed Cookbook. Lancer Books, New York.
190 pp.”

With this being mentioned, confusion is comprehensible when one reads
from one other supply: “Though backyard peas, (Pisum sativum)
akin to English peas, edible podded peas and snow peas are edible,
candy peas (Lathyrus odoratus) are toxic – particularly the
flowers and seeds.” Because of this solely the mature, hardened
seed is toxic if ingested.


Candy Peas

by the Nationwide Backyard Bureau

North America’s enchantment with candy peas goes again extra
than a century. Within the 1930’s field automobiles of candy pea seeds
have been shipped from California producers to their clients east
of the Rockies. The love of this aromatic backyard climber was widespread
in North America from farms of the plains to nation gardens in
the northeastern United States.

English gardeners name candy peas “the Queen of Annuals.”
These charming annuals are distinctive amongst backyard flowers with their
vivid colours, perfume, and size of bloom within the backyard. The
flowers have an air of romance about them in each their scent
and look. Candy peas’ perfume is sensuous, a charming
mix of honey and orange blossom, with an depth that varies
from one cultivar to a different. The ruffled blooms appear to be little
butterflies all aflutter. Candy peas supply one of many widest colour
ranges within the plant kingdom, together with crimson reds, navy blues,
pastel lavenders, pinks, and the purest whites. These colours are
discovered as strong colours, bicolors, and streaked or flaked flowers.

Put all of it collectively – perfume and colour – in a climbing plant
with voluptuous clusters of flowers and it turns into apparent why
candy peas are such a favourite amongst gardeners and non-gardeners
alike. The truth that they’re long-lasting lower flowers is the
icing on the cake. A number of stems in a plain vase make a beautiful
country-style bouquet.

Candy peas can adapt to any backyard fashion. They’re glorious
in a chopping backyard, making certain a bounty of flowers to get pleasure from indoors.
The free, billowing type of bush varieties makes them a pure
in a cottage backyard. Candy peas can tackle a extra formal or informal
look when they’re rising up a assist. Give them a trellis or
fence – white picket, publish and rail, and even chain hyperlink – candy
peas have a casual panache. But, prepare them on a tuteur and
they exhibit all the category vital for any formal backyard. Arbors
and trellises – accessible in so many types – are good foils
for candy peas’ adaptability.

Discovering the proper season to develop candy peas will allow any gardener
to get pleasure from their scented blooms. Candy peas can take frost as they
develop. So in North America, gardeners can get pleasure from these bloomers
from early spring onward. Ideally, gardeners need to take full
benefit of spring colour by sowing seed within the fall in southern
states and early spring in northern areas. With safety from
intense afternoon warmth and correct mulching, the blooming season
of candy peas may be significantly prolonged.


Apparently, the origin of the candy pea within the wild has been
significantly disputed. The primary written document appeared in 1695. Francisco
Cupani, a member of the order of St. Francis, famous seeing candy
peas in Sicily. There isn’t a documentation of whether or not the sighting
was within the wild or within the botanical backyard within the village of Misilmeri
(close to Palermo) that was below his cost. It was not till 1699
that Cupani handed on the seeds of the enticingly aromatic, small
bicolor flowers (blue and purple) to Dr. Casper Commelin, a botanist
on the medical college in Amsterdam. In 1701, Commelin revealed
an article on candy peas, which included the primary botanical illustration.

Historians presume that Cupani additionally despatched seeds to Dr. Robert
Uvedale – a trainer and aficionado of bizarre and new crops –
in Middlesex, England similtaneously he despatched them to Amsterdam.
This assumption relies on a herbarium specimen that Dr. Leonard
Plukenet made in 1700, noting the plant’s origin as Dr.
Uvedale’s backyard.

Though the precise origin of the candy pea is unsure, the
authentic Cupani selection, a bicolor with purple higher petal and
deep blue winged petals, is offered to gardeners nonetheless below
the identify Cupani! Origins apart, 100 years after their “discovery”
there have been solely six colours accessible in Europe till the mid 1800’s.
Lastly, close to the shut of the 19th century, gross sales took off. In
England, Henry Eckford, who hybridized and chosen candy peas
for his or her greatest traits, launched the Grandifloras, which
revolutionized candy peas. They have been bigger, with extra colour selections
and had a lovelier kind than the standard candy pea. Twenty-three
Eckford varieties are nonetheless accessible to gardeners right now from
Bodger Seeds in California who sells them to seed packet firms
as separate colours and in trendy mixes. Theme blends of those
hanging flowers embody all blue shades – ‘Ocean Foam’ and ‘Jewels
of Albion;’ crimson and pink blends- ‘Crimson Rover’ and ‘Queen of Hearts;’
and deep wealthy combos – ‘Queen of the Night time.’

In 1901, Silas Cole, head gardener to the Earl of Spencer, discovered
a pure mutation within the backyard below his care, which he named
Spencer’s. The Spencer kind turned very talked-about as a result of
of its ruffled customary (the higher petal) and lengthy wing (decrease
petals) that resulted in bigger, extra flamboyant blooms. They
have been late flowering varieties, which didn’t matter when grown
within the cool English local weather. Spencer sorts have been additionally improved
for the variety of flowers produced per stem and have been thus known as
“multiflora.” There are lots of Spencer candy pea colours
accessible for gardeners right now. The Spencer flowers stay very
widespread in England and Europe.

Candy pea ‘Streamer’s Combine’
‘Streamer’s Combine’ candy pea
There are lots of American seed firms that contributed to the
development of candy peas. Three American bred varieties from
the early twentieth century stay widespread right now and are nonetheless
in commerce. They’re the lengthy vine ‘Royal’ separate colours and
‘Royal Household Combine,’ the shorter vine ‘Knee-Hello Combine’ and the
very compact ‘Little Sweetheart Combine.’ California breeding of candy
peas has centered on creating extraordinarily early flowering and non-tendril
sorts. Mr. Yosh Arimitsu of Bodger Seeds Ltd. chosen a collection
of candy peas to be extraordinarily early below lengthy day or brief day
rising circumstances, to have flower stems longer than 17 inches,
and to provide additional massive flowers on stems with 5 to 7 flowers.
There are quite a few improved qualities within the ‘Magnificence’ collection
bred by Bodger Seeds Ltd.

There has additionally been work completed in non-tendril candy peas. Sometimes,
candy peas have two leaves and two tendrils that cling and help
vines as they climb towards the sky. In non-tendril traces, the
tendrils become true leaves and, thus, crops have 4
leaves per stem. Non-tendril varieties have shorter vines and
are glorious for bedding use. Mr. David Lemon did the unique
non-tendril work at Denholm Seeds with the creation of ‘Snoopea
Combine’ and later at Bodger Seeds with ‘Explorer Combine,’ winner of
the RHS Award of Backyard Advantage.

Compact container candy peas have a protracted historical past. ‘Cupid’ varieties
have been widespread within the early 1900’s and, at one time, higher
than 30 varieties have been accessible. With the expansion of curiosity
in container gardening, ‘Cupid’ traces have once more develop into favorites
of North American gardeners. ‘Cupids’ may be grown
in window bins, hanging baskets and containers. In recent times,
New Zealand has additionally been a supply of latest candy pea varieties,
particularly the breeding of Dr. Keith Hammett. He made nice strides
within the growth of latest colour patterns, brief day flowering,
and a concentrate on perfume. ‘Streamers Combine’ and ‘Saltwater Taffy’
are Hammett’s creations containing all striped varieties in a
single combine. ‘Streamers Combine’ consists of many striped varieties,
together with chocolate/white, blue/white, orange/white, crimson/white
stripes and shades between.


There may be an excessive amount of variation within the perfume and depth
of scent in candy peas. Because the odor that our noses detect is
from a fancy mixture of unstable chemical compounds produced inside
the flowers, the power of perfume of a candy pea selection
can change resulting from numerous components, akin to rain, excessive temperatures,
time of day and the age of the flower.

Definitely, a number of the older varieties from the Eckford traces
are probably the most reliably aromatic candy peas. They’re blended collectively
in mixtures known as ‘Outdated Spice Combine’ and ‘Fragrance Delight.’ Dr.
Hammett has begun work on numerous choices which can be particularly
aromatic. These varieties can be found with names like ‘Excessive
Scent,’ ‘April in Paris’ and ‘Renaissance.’


The moniker, “candy pea,” was supposedly first used
by the poet Keats within the early 1800s. Each English and North People
use the widespread identify, “candy pea.”

This textual content has centered on Lathyrus odoratus, widespread identify candy
pea, however there are a variety of different Lathyrus species price mentioning.
They embody the perennial Lathyrus latifolius, accessible in 4
colours and a mixture. This chilly hardy perennial is appropriate to USDA
temperature Zone 5. Lathyrus sativus produces pretty small gentian
blue flowers, whereas Lathyrus chloranthus has yellow flowers. This
final species has been used, to date unsuccessfully, in inter-species
breeding makes an attempt to convey the elusive yellow flower into the
business L. odoratus. All three of those species talked about above
are commercially accessible in North America. Inside the genus
Lathyrus, there are 110 species and innumerable cultivars. In
broad phrases, the genus is often often known as vetchling or wild
pea. It’s within the Leguminosae (a.okay.a. Fabaceae) or Legume household.
Different legumes embody backyard peas, acacia, beans, mimosa, redbud,
soybeans, wisteria, and clover.

With the rising curiosity in edible flowers, it is vitally essential
to be particular with the identify. Though backyard peas, (Pisum sativum)
akin to English peas, edible podded peas and snow peas are edible,
candy peas (Lathyrus odoratus) are toxic – particularly the
flowers and seeds.


There are 4 methods to categorise candy peas. They’re behavior, flower
kind, perfume, or day size response. Plant behavior may be climbing;
tendrils wind round a assist and may develop 6 to 10 toes relying
upon the rising circumstances and cultivar. The plant behavior can
be compact reaching solely eight to 24 inches tall and needing no assist.
Avid gardeners choose the positioning first, after which decide one of the best
selection with the specified behavior for that web site or container.

The candy pea flower kind may be single, double, or semi-double.
The flower diagram reveals the anatomical names of the flower elements.
The flowers may be aromatic. If that is essential, search for these
which can be labeled aromatic.

Many crops provoke buds or flowers below sure day size.
These are known as brief day or lengthy day flowering crops. Most
candy pea cultivars want lengthening days to provoke buds and
bloom. This implies rising candy pea crops after March 21 as day
size will increase. Within the southern areas of North America, sowing
candy peas within the fall requires cultivars which can be “brief
day flowering” because of the shorter day size of fall and
winter. There are cultivars that match this cultural requirement
akin to ‘Magnificence’ collection.


Timing by Area

Candy peas are one of many best flowering annuals to start out
from seed. Candy peas are generally direct seeded within the backyard.
Give them a web site with full to partial solar and deep, wealthy, loamy,
moist however well-drained soil. Add loads of natural matter (compost,
well-rotted manure, leaf mildew, or humus) to complement the soil and
make it extra friable.

Candy pea ‘Pastel Sundown’
‘Pastel Sundown’ candy pea
Candy peas are most profitable when they’re began at instances
with cooler temperatures. Every area has its personal distinctive “season”
for rising candy peas. In western North America, candy pea seeds
needs to be sown from August ahead to maximise winter and spring
flowering. Though candy peas may be killed again by laborious freezes,
they’re fairly chilly hardy and may take frost with out a lot
injury to crops. Cooler night time temperatures lengthen the enjoyment
of candy pea flowers within the west into the summer time months.

Within the drier plains states, candy peas may be began early
indoors for transplanting or sown instantly after the harshest
climate has handed. Reduce flower growers in Colorado have efficiently
grown candy peas by excessive summer time temperatures by mulching
closely as crops mature and climate heats up.

Within the south, sow seed in November or December for early spring
contemporary lower flowers. Within the mid-west and northeast non-coastal areas,
sow seed indoors in February and transplant into the backyard when
the bottom thaws. Alternatively, seed may be sown instantly into
ready backyard soil in April. Lastly, the coastal areas of the
northeast are glorious areas to develop candy peas for spring use.

Sowing Seed

Candy peas will want about 50 days of cool temperatures (below
60º F) to bloom gloriously in your backyard. Candy pea seed
has a tough, water insoluble seed coat. There isn’t a proof that
soaking candy peas will improve germination. Nicking the surface
coating of a candy pea seed will permit fast hydration of seeds
and does each velocity and improve germination. Nicking may be simply
completed by utilizing a nail clipper to attain the candy pea seed
coat. Candy pea seed will germinate in soil at temperatures of
55º to 65º F or 13º to 18º C.

Plant seeds in holes which can be about two inches (two knuckles)
deep. Drop two to 4 seeds per gap, with holes spaced 4
to 6 inches aside. Water totally and preserve soil moist till
seeds have sprouted. Count on germination in about 10 to 21 days.
As soon as the seedlings are rising, water commonly to advertise sturdy,
wholesome progress. When the seedlings are three to 4 inches excessive,
skinny them out, leaving probably the most vigorous-looking crops 4 to
six inches aside. Sowing seeds every week over a number of weeks will
additional lengthen the time you get to get pleasure from your candy peas. Develop
them in peat pots or four-inch plastic pots full of a soil
free seed-starting combine. Sow two or three seeds per pot – pushing
every an inch down into the potting combine. Cowl with combine, water,
and put the pots in a cool, darkish place. After about 10 days, preserve
an eye fixed out for brand new shoots rising above the soil. At that time,
convey the crops out into the sunshine. Hold them in a cool place
(beneath 55°F.); if they’re coddled in a heat room, they gained’t
be powerful sufficient to transplant outside with no prolonged hardening
off interval. When the seedlings have two units of actual leaves, skinny
to 1 plant per pot. Transplant into the backyard a couple of month
earlier than the final frost date, as quickly because the soil is workable –
the shoots are powerful and gained’t be bothered by mild frost.
Permit 6 inches between climbing varieties, 12 inches between dwarf
bushy sorts.

When planting tall, lengthy vine candy peas, it’s greatest to
place the stake or assist within the floor similtaneously the
seed or transplants to keep away from damaging the roots. Trellises are
the most typical helps, but there are different climbing choices.
Chook netting strung between two stakes, string, twine, or fishing
line hung from the highest of a break up rail fence, a bamboo teepee,
brush stakes – all are good verticals for candy peas to climb.
Except the assist is up in opposition to a wall, sow seeds on all sides,
producing an attention-grabbing array of blooms that may be seen from
all instructions. As soon as the crops have been thinned, mulch them
properly; a four- to six-inch layer of natural mulch will preserve the
roots cool and lengthen the rising season.

Backyard Care

Don’t over fertilize otherwise you’ll wind up with very deep
inexperienced leaves however few flowers. A balanced 20-20-20 sluggish launch
fertilizer blended into the soil at planting time works nice for
the preliminary plant growth. Alternatively, natural fertilizers
are additionally glorious for candy peas. Extra mulching with composted
manure will assist retain soil moisture and supply vitamins for
sturdy plant progress and flowering.

If blooms will not be lower commonly, deadhead the plant as quickly
as flowers fade. Permitting the plant to provide seedpods will scale back
total flower manufacturing. Eradicating spent blooms will guarantee extra

Doable Issues

The primary problem for candy peas, like different direct-sown seeds,
is to keep away from being plucked out of the bottom by voracious birds,
mice, squirrels, and different critters. As seedlings, candy peas
are susceptible to birds, slugs, and snails, particularly if fall-planted
in a heat local weather. Preventative measures usually deter an issue
earlier than it has an opportunity to get began. Comply with these tips
for more healthy crops. Plant candy peas in an space that will get good
air circulation. Water early within the day so the leaves are dry
by dusk; moist leaves are a magnet for fungus. Consider candy
peas like meals crops. Rotate planting areas in order that the candy
peas are grown in the identical house as soon as each 4 years. Don’t
develop candy peas the place different legumes are rising or grew final 12 months.
Legumes embody backyard peas, beans of all kinds, peanuts, and

The way to Develop From Bought Vegetation

It’s possible you’ll discover candy peas offered as crops significantly at some
specialty nurseries or backyard facilities. There could also be ready-made
container plantings of candy peas – an on the spot backyard. Candy peas
want tender care when transplanted, so search for crops in particular person
earth pleasant pots or peat pots. The bigger the pot, the higher.
Proper earlier than planting, snip off any flowers or flower buds. This
is the time to get the roots properly established to allow them to assist
the rising plant’s wants. Regardless that you sacrifice early
blooms, you’ll be rewarded with greater crops with an abundance
of bigger flowers.

Plant into ready backyard soil or a container. With transplants,
it’s much more essential to plant the assist earlier than digging
the plant in to maintain the dear roots out of hurt’s method.
Attempt to preserve the basis ball collectively. Plant it on the similar depth
because it was initially rising. Evenly agency the soil round it
and water. Wait every week to 10 days earlier than mulching. Make sure you
preserve the mulch at the least an inch away from the stem of the plant
till crops are properly established. In any other case you can smother
the stem or be prone to encourage bugs, pests, and illnesses.

Container Tradition

The introduction of ‘Cupid’ – the primary dwarf candy pea – at
the flip of the 19th century introduced candy peas into the realm
of containers. Their diminutive dimension fits hanging baskets, window
bins, pots, urns, and all different types of containers. There are
many dwarf candy pea sorts accessible from mail order catalogs
or in seed packets bought at shops. Climbing candy peas additionally
make nice container crops. As an alternative of sowing one or two seeds
on the middle of the container, make a circle of seeds – spaced
a few inches aside – an inch in from the rim of the pot.
Within the restricted house of a container, it’s best to plant
the assist after which sow the seeds round it. For bigger containers,
tomato cages are good helps; the legs may be pushed into
the potting combine. Since candy pea shoots aren’t bothered
by frost, you possibly can set a container of candy peas out within the backyard
in early spring (on the similar time you’d plant seeds outdoors.)

Deliver the Outdoor In – Container Vegetation

When the primary flowers seem, begin chopping flowering stems
for indoor bouquets. Along with including the candy fragrance in
the home, you’re encouraging the plant to provide extra
flowers. Reduce stems each different day, early within the morning when
they’re the freshest. For climbing varieties, thinning lateral
shoots that begin on the base of leaves will scale back vegetative
progress, improve flower manufacturing, and encourage higher air circulation
across the plant.

The stems will look full if you first organize them and the
remaining buds will open as the primary blooms fade. Make sure you
take away any leaves which can be beneath water degree within the vase. A bouquet
of candy peas can simply final every week indoors in the event you lower off 1/4
to ½ inch on the base of every stem and alter the water
every day.

This materials is reprinted courtesy of The Nationwide Backyard Bureau.
Cathy Wilkinson Barash is the creator of this reality sheet.

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