Monty Don reveals why now is the best time to sow sweet peas – and how to protect them from frost

The journey to strong springtime flowers begins in October, the garden guru suggests

Sweet pea flowers in the garden
(Image credit: Flavia Morlachetti)

Visions of spring blooms may feel distant at present, but your actions now will affect your flowers next year, Monty Don has revealed. 

Sharing his garden ideas, the BBC Gardener’s World presenter explains that October is the best time to begin planning and preparing for next spring – and sowing sweet peas is among the most timely of these jobs. If you’re wondering how to grow sweet peas – the time to start is now. 

‘October is really the beginning of the horticultural year… What you do now – and some things that you do not do – will make a huge difference to your 2022 garden,’ Monty says in his blog

‘By sowing sweet peas in October, you will have bigger plants with a stronger root system that should give flowers next spring earlier and last longer.’

How to grow sweet peas

(Image credit: Future / Joe Wainright)

Though, while it is important to sow your sweet peas in the fall, the green-fingered expert warns that you need to care for your plants to protect them from harsh winter conditions. He shares his tips to give sweet peas the best chance of survival over the freezing season.

‘I sow three seeds in a three-inch pot, although root-trainers also do the job very well,' Monty says. 

'Use good potting rather than seed compost. Put them to germinate on a windowsill or greenhouse and once the first leaves have grown, place outside in a cold frame or protected spot.'

Growing sweet peas

(Image credit: Future)

However, despite protecting them from a cold climate, Monty warns against adding extra heat – as this will hinder the plant during winter.  

‘They only need protection from hard frosts, mice, and becoming sodden, so do not provide any extra heat,’ Monty says. He adds the sweet peas will be ready to plant out in April so that you can enjoy their colors throughout the entire spring season. 

Sweet pea flowers in the garden

(Image credit: Flavia Morlachetti)

Plus, if the weather is bad, Monty plants another batch of sweet peas in February to improve his chances of sweet peas in the spring. Alongside these blooms, he similarly recommends planting other spring bulbs now – however you should wait another month before planting tulips.

Now you know what to plant in October – and how to do it the Monty Don way.

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.