Why Are My Sweet Peas Not Blooming?

Last Updated on August 15, 2022 by Stephanie

The reason that your sweet peas havent bloomed usually is due to a the absence of sunlight or high temperatures, or even excessive fertilizer. Sweet peas originate from the Mediterranean and bloom best in full sunshine, moderate to low nutrient soil and regular irrigation. The heat waves may also temporarily stop flowering.

Continue reading to find out the reasons why your sweet peas are not blooming and what are the best ways to encourage flowering…

1. Lack of Sun (Sweet Peas Prefer 6 Hours of Sun to Flower)

Sweet peas are indigenous to Sicily, an Italian island called Sicily located in Sicily in the Mediterranean in which they can enjoy plenty of sunshine and warmer temperatures.

When your peas live located in shade or an area that receives less than six hours of sunlight then there will likely be lots of leggy leaves, but less flowers.

The quantity of flowers that sweet pea display is in correlation with the number of hours of sunshine, with approximately 6 hours of sunshine considered to be the ideal time for blooming.

When your peas are located in an area that is shaded, I would suggest moving the container or pot to an more sunny area to encourage flowering or plant plants in an area in the garden with a lot of sunshine.

2. Intense Heat Temporarily Prevents Sweet Peas Flowering

Sweet peas originate from the Mediterranean and are a bit accustomed to temperatures that are high.

But the majority of cultivars were created in Scotland (by the horticulturist Henry Eckford) which is why the more modern varieties of the plant are likely to be more adapted to colder climates, which means they are able to flower in spite from those of the Mediterranean climate.

If you reside in a climate that is particularly warm or are experiencing an extreme heat wave during the summer, the heat may result in the sweetpea to show less flowers, as it grapples with the consequences of heat and possibly drought.

There isnt a set time at which the sweet peas cease flowering, but more of a stark variation in temperature from mild to suddenly hotter that causes sweet peas to stop temporarily flowering.

In general, it boils down to patience and keeping that the plant is adequately watered. the sweet peas will start to bloom once the heat wave has passed or they get used to higher temperatures.

In areas with extremely high temperatures, sweet peas bloom best when they are surrounded by morning sunlight and shade during the afternoon.

About 5-6 hours of morning sunshine is enough to encourage flowers, so shade during the afternoon and midday is beneficial in hot climates since it shields this sweet pea plant from the intense sun and also the hotter portion of the day. This allows the right balance between sun and the prevention of heat stress for the best flowering.

sweet pea flowers

3. Pot or Container Size can Impact Flowering

The dimensions of the pot or the container you plant (or plant the seeds) of the sweet pea you plant will affect the flowering:

  • If the pot isnt big enough it will get hot in the sun, and the soil may dry out completely during hot days.
  • With containers and pots that are smaller, there is less space for soil, and less space for roots to grow and get the moisture and nutrients to bloom.
  • Containers and pots should include drainage holes at the bottom to allow any excess water to drain away to ensure that the soil doesnt get boggy, which strains the sweet peas, hinders flowering and creates conditions for fungal disease.

Grow sweet peas inside a large dimension container (about 10-12 inches in diameter) to make sure your seeds as well as the growing plant are able to access the soil and nutrients they need.

The more humid and hot the climate, the larger the pot must be placed so that the compost doesnt dry out under dry conditions.

If you have the correct size container or pot and the proper conditions, the sweet peas will flourish and show a wide array of flowers.

4. Drought is a way to prevent Sweet Peas from flowering.

In addition to extreme heat, drought could be a reason for sweet peas that arent blooming.

Since sweet peas are a native of the Mediterranean they like well-drained soil, which means that the compost around the roots may dry up a bit between sessions of watering.

But if they are placed in a tiny pot (less than 10 inches in diameter) and are placed in full sunlight the suns intense rays will quickly heat the pot, which causes significant evaporation of the soil, causing the sweetness peas drought stress that affects flowering.

Sprinkle sweet peas with water as often as you need to ensure that the soil remains damp but not boggy. In harsh climates or with diverse weather patterns, you need to alter the frequency of your irrigation to meet the weather conditions.

If youve had several days of overcast with the odd rain, then watering every week with a good soak is generally recommended.

In the summer heat, you might need to water three times per week to avoid stress from drought and to ensure that the sweet peas have the necessary resources to bloom.

Sweet peas are robust in hot weather and are often able to recover from drought or wilting and show flowers when they are watered in the right way.

5. Too Much Fertilizer Promotes Foliage Growth but Fewer Flowers

The application of fertilizer to the sugar peas soil in too frequent a manner or in excessive amounts could encourage growth of the foliage in the absence of flowers and may even damage the roots of the plants.

Sweet peas originate from in Sicily within the Mediterranean region of Europe and have been adapted to cultivating in soils that are sandy and low in nutrients.

If sweet peas grow in soil that is rich and has been amended by manure (which is rich in nitrogen) or the soil is fertilized with fertilizers, sweet peas are likely to show less flowers, but they could be lush and green.

To ensure that your sweet peas bloom you want to replicate the conditions of the sweet peas natural habitat by adding a horticultural sand or gritty to the mix of potting.

The addition of sand or grit can help to:

  • Improve drainage since sweet peas dont like boggy soil.
  • Recreates the sandy, low nutrients conditions that sweet peas flourish and bloom at their peak.

Include around 10-20% of the sand or grit in the quantity of pot into the potting mix for the sweetpeas (with the remainder being used as multi-purpose compost) to provide the sweet peas the ideal soil conditions to flower. (Similar as the mix of soil used for other plants that are native to the Mediterranean like the lavenders).

It is also important to not sowing sweet peas in compost bags which are rich in nutrients like miracle-gro since this would be in contradiction to the low-to-medium nutrients they require to flower in.

Key Takeaways:

  • Sweet peas dont bloom in shaded areas, extreme temperatures or in soils with excessive Nitrogen or other fertilizer.
  • Sweet peas bloom best they are in full sun and low to moderately nutrient-rich soils. Insufficient heat may temporarily stop flowering.
  • Stress from drought can affect the flowering process if they pots are small with no regular watering, but they will prefer a well-drained soil to remain healthy and bloom.
  • Sweet peas have been adapted to the conditions for soil in Sicily and prefer low to medium nutrients to show off their flowers.


Went from an inexperienced gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. I cover anything from general indoor plant guides and lawn care, to succulents and flowers. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)