How to Care for Your Pea Plant

Growing peas can be fun and rewarding. How can you help your plant thrive?

There are several varieties of peas to choose from, all of which are delicious and healthy. There are peas with edible pods and those that grow in shells, such as sugar snap and snow peas. 

Pea plants make great additions to vegetable gardens. With a little attention, they will flourish and produce a bountiful crop of peas. 

Why You Should Consider Growing Pea Plants

If you’ve ever eaten fresh, garden-grown peas, you’ll understand how delicious they are. As soon as peas are harvested, their sugar begins transforming into starch. That means the peas you grow will be packed with sweetness and flavor. 

Pea plants are easy to grow, and there are lots of benefits associated with these small green wonders. We’ve listed a few below. 

Everything is Edible

We all know how tasty peas are, but some varieties, like snow peas and sugar snap peas, have edible pods. The pea shoot is an underutilized yet delectable component of the pea plant, and the tip of the vine also has a nice flavor.

green seeds inside the pea pods

More Harvest Means More Produce

Harvesting often stimulates the plant to produce more, whether you are picking peas or the shoots. On the other hand, if peas are left on the pod for too long, the plant won’t produce new shoots. 

When growing peas, you can expect to pick some from the plant daily. 

Improves Soil

Most plants need nitrogen to thrive. However, peas enhance soil quality by increasing the amount of nitrogen in the soil. They extract the nitrogen from the air and store it in their roots.

Do not pluck its roots even after the plant stops producing peas because the roots will continue to release nitrogen into the soil, which can benefit surrounding plants.

Best Time to Plant

The best time to plant peas is 4 – 6 weeks before the last anticipated freeze. Pea plants have some resistance to extreme cold, but extended exposure to freezing temperatures may damage initial plantings.

If you live in a colder region, you might consider using a cold frame to protect your pea plants during colder temperatures. You can also plant in late summer or early fall when temperatures are milder. 

growing green peas in farm

General Care

Pea plants need plenty of sunlight and well-draining soil. Choose a spot where vining pea plants can climb trellises or other structures as they grow.

Avoid planting peas in locations with a recent history of growing peas. Pests that targeted previous plants may still be in the soil. 

Likewise, the soil may still contain a residual disease that could have infected previous pea plants. It’s best to wait a few years to allow a crop rotation before planting new pea seeds.

In addition, be sure to provide adequate care for growing pea plants by doing the following: 

Water Needs

Ensure pea plants receive the right balance of moisture. Don’t let the soil get completely dry, but also avoid saturating it with water. Add around half an inch of water every seven days.

green peas ready to harvest

Amount of Sun

Peas can be planted in partial shade, but the plant won’t produce as many peas and the peas it does produce won’t be as flavorful. Plant them in full sun for maximum pea production and flavor. 


Pea plants rarely need additional fertilizer. However, plants can benefit from having some compost mixed into the soil, especially if the soil lacks nutrients. 

When seedlings first appear, you can give pea plants a boost by applying a balanced formula of organic liquid fertilizer to the soil.

Alaine Connolly
Alaine has been working way too hard in horticulture since 1992, beautifying golf courses, resorts, and hotels. She is a part time landscape designer who works full time caring for a 28,000 square foot public garden. At home, she maintains her own 400 square feet plot. Alaine lives in northern Illinois - zone 5b.
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