Growing snow peas and sugar snaps in Western Australia

Page last updated: Wednesday, 21 October 2015 - 8:02am

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Snow peas and sugar snap peas can be grown throughout the year in the south west of Western Australia. The plants are not affected by frost, but flowers and pods may be damaged.

The plants are vigorous and trellising is necessary to manage the growth. Peas must be kept well-watered, particularly at flowering and pod development. Weed control is restricted to hand weeding and shallow cultivation along the pathways between rows.

Peas are self-pollinated and snow peas are harvested about 10 days after flowering.


Peas (Pisum sativum) are legumes (Fabaceae) and three main vegetable types are grown in Western Australia. Snow pea and sugar snap pea differ from the traditional garden pea in having less fibre in the pods and both pods and peas (seeds) may be eaten whole.

Compared with garden peas, they produce better yields and quality under higher temperatures. They are a good source of fibre, vitamin A and vitamin C. They may be eaten raw, lightly boiled, steamed or used in stir-frys.

Snow peas are sweet and crisp and popular in Asian cooking. The shoots from established plants may also be used for Asian cooking and in salads.

The snow pea (Pisum sativum var. macrocarpon) is called ‘mange-tout’ in England and France, which means ‘eat-all’. The pod is flat and is eaten before the seeds develop and start to swell. The main growing area in Western Australia is Wanneroo.

The sugar snap pea (Pisum sativum var. saccharatum) snaps like a green bean. The edible pods have thick walls and are sweet. Unlike the snow pea, the sugar snap is picked more mature and is fully rounded.

Pea sprouts are also popular, especially in Asian cooking, and are often marketed as ‘snow pea sprouts’.


Contact information

Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS)
+61 (0)8 9368 3080