Knowing when and how to collect your sweet pea seeds can pay dividends in the future, not only will your garden be teeming with your favourite scented blooms, but you will have saved yourself money in the process.

Broadly speaking, the ideal time to begin harvesting your seeds is from mid-August into September, when the summer should be at its hottest and driest.

Below we explain the step-by-step process for saving top-quality seeds for next season.

Preparing the parent plants

Firstly, if you want like-for-like plants only save seeds from heirloom varieties.

Seeds from modern hybrids may produce plants different from the parent plant, but if you are happy to gamble and let mother nature take its course, by all means go for it!

Select a couple of your favourite plants that are particularly thriving.

Towards the end of July, stop deadheading the flowers on them. Let the flowers die off on the plant and in their place a seed pod will form.

Saving the seeds

The pods will mature on the plant, developing from light green to brittle and paper bag brown.

Now is the time to be especially observant and frequently check your sweet pea pods. Pick them before they are light brown and the seeds inside won’t have matured, leave it too late and they will split and drop their seed into the garden!

When they look just right, choose a dry day, and snip the pods off the plant. Bring them inside and leave them to dry for a few days in a well-ventilated area.

The pods should naturally start to break open, but if not simply prise them apart with your nail. Mature seeds will be dark brown in colour, if they are still light brown or green let them continue to dry on an airy windowsill before storing them.

Success!

And that’s it! You will have successfully harvested your own sweet pea seeds for next season.

If you’re happy for the plants to grow in roughly the same spot, you can let the pods split on the plant and naturally fall into the garden.

But for repositioning, gifting to family and friends or for a particularly neat flowerbed, harvesting your own seeds for planting out next season is the perfect solution.