Lathyrus odoratus – more commonly known as sweet peas – should be germinated under glass at this time of year, according to horticulturalist Neil Wormald.
The expert explained in the Times that, while it is still cold outside, seeds can begin their growth in the greenhouse or indoors next to a well-lit window.
When they are a little more mature and the weather turns warmer they will have more chance of success after being transplanted outside.
Mr Wormald recommends that sweet peas are grown in tubes filled with a moist compost.
Seeds should be pushed around half an inch into the tubes, leaving plenty room for the plants long roots.
The Royal Horticultural Society advises that deep pots of seed compost can be used in place of tubes, with seeds planted an inch or so apart.
The environmentally-aware can recycle toilet roll cardboard inners that will do the same job as pea tubes but cost nothing and are biodegradable.