Pea Plants With No Pods: Top Reasons Why Pea Pods Won’t Form

Pea Plants With No Pods: Top Reasons Why Pea Pods Won’t Form

By: Laura Miller

It’s frustrating. You prep the soil, plant, fertilize, waterand still no pea pods. The peas are all foliage and the pea pods won’t form.There could be several reasons why your garden peas are not producing. Let’stake a look at the top reasons you have pea plants with no pods.

Reasons for Garden Peas Not Producing

Here are the top reasons why a peaplant may not be growing or producing as it should:

Too Much Nitrogen

Nitrogenis one of the macronutrients plants need. In the case of peas, more is notbetter. Peas are legumes,and these types of plants have the ability to take nitrogen from the atmosphereand convert it into a form used by plants. Legumescan even add nitrogen to the soil. When peas are all foliage with little orno blossom development, too much nitrogen is often the problem.

Solution: Havethe garden soil tested and only apply fertilizer if nitrogen levels arelow. Use a low nitrogen fertilizer like 5-10-10 around the peas. To save thisyear’s pea crop, pinch back the growing tips to encourage blossom development.

Too Little Nitrogen

Nutrient deficiencies can cause low plant vigor anddecreased yields. If legumes fix nitrogen, how can peas become nitrogendeficient? Simple. The process of nitrogen-fixing in legumes is a symbiotic onewith a specific bacterium, Rhizobium leguminosarum. If your garden soilis lacking this bacterium, you’ll experience poor growing pea plants with nopods.

Solution: Compost pea plants directly in the gardenafter harvest. The nitrogen formed in the root nodules will be available forthe next crop of vegetables and the needed bacteria will remain in the soil.First-time pea growers can introduce the correct bacteria into the garden bypurchasing peaseeds inoculated with Rhizobium leguminosarum.

Other Nutritional Deficiencies

In addition to the correct nitrogen levels, peas requireother macro and micronutrients. For instance, phosphorusis needed for root and flower formation as well as the development of fruit andsugar levels in peas. If your plants are growing poorly and producing no peapods, nutritional deficiency could be the cause.

Solution: Test the soil and amend or fertilize asneeded.

Poor Pollination

If your pea plants are healthy and producing an abundance ofblossoms, but the pea pods won’t form, then poor pollination may be theculprit. Peas pollinate by two methods, self-pollination before the flowersopen and cross-pollination by bees or other insects. Pollination problems areusually confined to peas grown in a tunnel house or protected environment.

Solution: Give the pea plants a little shake duringthe blooming period to distribute pollen or use a fan indoors to create airflow and stimulate self-pollination.

Poor Growing Conditions

Any number of poor growing conditions can also attribute togarden peas not producing. Cold, wet springs or hot, dry weather can impede thedevelopment of root nodules and inhibit nitrogen fixing. Planting peas too latein the season can cause the plantsto turn yellow and die before setting pods. Dry conditions due to lack ofrain and supplemental watering during flowering and pod production can resultin plants with few or no pea pods.

Solution: Peas are a cool-season crop. Choose avariety that does well in your climate. Plant in early spring for a summer cropor late summer for a fall crop. Water when rainfall is less than 1 to 2 inches(2.5 to 5 cm.) per week.

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The Home Cook's Guide to the Most Common Types of Peas, Including English, Sugar Snap, Snow, and Pea Shoots

All are fresh, green, and sweet, but these spring vegetables different in a few important ways.

Frozen peas are so ubiquitous—and easy to use—that it's easy to overlook the springtime wonder of fresh peas straight from the pod. But not all peas are taken from their pods to eat as some pods are actually edible. To make things more confusing for the average home cook , some peas can be eaten raw while others should be cooked. Here, we outline the differences between English peas, sugar snap peas, snow peas, and pea shoots—in other words, peas aplenty.

Before we dive into the particulars of each type of fresh pea, it''s important to note that all three develop sweetness as they grow to maturity. If left on the plant for too long, those sugars are converted into starches so the peas become fibrous and tough with a less sweet flavor. For the cook, this means choosing peas that are fresh and young—this is not a time when bigger is better—and recently picked.

Germination of Peas

All peas prefer cool temperatures for germination, and they do better when planted directly in the garden rather than transplanted as seedlings. According to the University of Minnesota Extension, peas can be planted as soon as the soil is workable in the spring. In the northeastern United States, that's usually right around St. Patrick's Day. It's a good idea to prepare a seed bed for peas in the late fall, so it's ready to be used within days after the soil has thawed in the spring.

Handle pea seeds gently cracked or damaged pea seeds often will not germinate. Plant seeds shallowly, at about 1 to 2 inches deep, with about 6 to 7 inches of space between each seed. Cover the seeds and firm the soil over your pea row by walking over it lightly to ensure good seed-to-soil contact.

How to Grow


В Peas will grow in all soil types that are rich in organic matter, well-drained, and fertile.

Soil Preparation

Before planting, determine fertilizer needs with a soil test and then follow the recommendations given with the test report. If fertilizer applications are warranted, work the fertilizer into the top 6 inches of soil. If you fertilize with compost, apply no more than 1 inch of well-composted organic matter per 100 square feet of garden area.


Peas are cool weather, frost tolerant vegetables that require soil and air temperatures to remain below 80ВєF for best germination and plant growth. Start planting peas as soon as you can till the soil in the spring. Seedlings will emerge in 7-10 days when planted in soil of 55-65ВєF. Peas do poorly when temperatures exceed 80ВєF.

Planting and Spacing

To plant 100 feet of row, you will need about 2-3 ounces of seed. Extra seed can be stored and used the next year. Plant seeds ВЅ-1 inch deep, spaced 1-2 inches apart, in rows 12-24 inches apart. No thinning is necessary if plant stands are too thick. Plant garden and dry peas every 14-21 days until April 1 in warm regions and May 1 in cooler regions. Peas require 60-70 days to mature depending on variety. Snap peas generally produce pods over a longer time period so only one planting is necessary. Garden peas can be planted again around mid-August in Northern Utah and mid-September in warm areas of Southern Utah for fall production. Mulching the crop during the summer will improve soil water loss and increase nutrient availability. Yields of fall grown peas are much lower than spring sown plantings


Most pea varieties are self-supporting during growth. Taller pea varieties are more productive and easier to harvest if caged, trellised, or fenced. Wooden poles, wire cages, or other fencing materials make ideal supports for peas. Snap and snow peas climb naturally so little additional work is required other than constructing the supports.


Peas require regular watering throughout growth for best production. Soils should be allowed to dry until half of the available water is used before re-watering to field capacity. Do not over water as wet soil promotes root rot diseases and slows plant growth. Water needs are most critical after flowering. Drought stress will decrease yield due to pod abortion and reduce seed size, increase pod stringiness, and alter seed quality. Watering amounts depend on soil type and organic matter content.


Peas do not require additional fertilizer if a fertilizer or compost was applied at planting. Adding more nitrogen will over-stimulate leaf growth, delay flowering and reduce pod set. Peas fix nitrogen from the air via soil bacteria attached to the plant roots.

Mulches and Row Covers

Fabric row covers help protect very early plantings from frosts. Apply organic mulches such as grass clippings, straw, and shredded newspaper in the heat of summer to help control weeds, improve soil water holding capacity, and reduce soil temperatures in autumn pea plantings.


It is good to cook quickly after picking so you will get its tasty flavor and sugar. You can store peas by freezing or drying. During freezing, they lose but, but this is the best way of storing. The best way is to freeze them immediately after picking. Boil peas for 2 minutes, then plunge into the ice water for 2 minutes, after draining, pack them in a plastic bag or container and freeze them. You can use them for 9 months.

You can also store peas after drying in a dehydrator, use sealed containers for storing in the winter. The quality of the stored peas will be changed as compared to the fresh peas.

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