I love growing sugar snap peas in containers. Not only are they delicious, they also look great in your garden, on your balcony, or even hanging out on a sunny windowsill. Plus, they’re probably one of the easiest garden plants to grow.
While I’ve grown them in the ground a few times, I definitely prefer my sugar snap peas in containers.
Why Sugar Snap Peas Grow Well in Containers
- They have shallow roots. They don’t need a lot of soil depth to establish themselves and grow to maturity.
- They don’t need a lot of nutrients. A lot of plants in containers will quickly sap the soil of nutrients and require frequent fertilization, but not snap peas.
- They need well-draining soil, which is easy to provide in containers.
- They don’t need a lot of space. Since they grow vertically, you can squeeze a lot of plants in one container.
- They prefer cooler temps and shade, so being in a container gives you some flexibility to move them around during the season
Tips for Growing Sugar Snap Peas in Containers
These are one of the easiest garden plants to grow. Plus, if you start them in early spring, they can be ready to harvest before a lot of other garden plants have even set their fruit. Here are a few tips I’ve learned for the best way to make sure your sugar snap peas thrive in their containers.
When to Plant Sugar Snap Peas
Sugar snap peas are some of the first seeds that I start outside in early spring. You can start your sugar snap peas in containers outside as soon as nighttime temperatures are regularly in the 40s. These plants handle cold weather pretty well, and can survive mild frosts. If you really want to extend the growing season, you can start some seeds indoors in February or March and transplant outside when it’s warm enough.
I also like to start them in succession, leaving some empty space in my container and planting a few more seeds 3 – 4 weeks after the first batch. This way, you can get a more spread out harvest.
Best Container Size for Sugar Snap Peas
Although they don’t need a ton of space, I like to pack a lot of sugar snap peas into a single container. I generally plant them in 12” plastic containers, which is plenty big for 8 – 10 plants. They also do well in smaller containers, or in windowsill boxes.
What Type of Soil to Use
Sugar snap peas don’t like wet, soggy soil, so make sure you use something that’s fairly well-draining. Other than that, they’re not too picky. You don’t need well-fertilized, nutrient-rich soil. So, this is the perfect place to re-use some garden soil from last year. Some people recommend periodically fertilizing sugar snap peas, though I personally haven’t ever needed to. If you do fertilize, just make sure that you use a balanced fertilizer and don’t add too much nitrogen, as this can reduce the amount of snap peas your plants produce.
How much to water your sugar snap peas
Sugar snap peas need a fair amount of water, but they don’t like soggy soil. Make sure that your soil and container are draining well, and let the soil dry out partially between waterings. Depending on your local temperatures, how big your pot is, and whether your snap peas are actively flowering, that could mean watering anywhere from once or twice a week to every day.
How much light do they need?
Although sugar snap peas prefer full sun, they also don’t handle heat very well. If your temperatures typically stay cooler all year, you can leave them in full sun through the summer. In the southwest, though, I find that my snap peas like the partially shaded west-facing side of my apartment, especially through the blazing summer months.
This is another benefit of growing in containers. You can move your snap peas around so that they are in full sun during cooler months and somewhere shaded during the hottest times of season.
Building a trellis for sugar snap peas
As a vining plant, sugar snap peas need some type of support. Since these plants don’t have very heavy fruits or foliage, they don’t need anything too hefty as far as a trellis goes. I find that using three long bamboo poles wrapped with garden twine makes a quick, cheap, easy, and stable trellis for my pea plants. You can see in the photo above, I sometimes add a shorter bamboo brace to keep the poles spaced out, but other than that, it’s pretty simple and takes barely five minutes to put together.