15+ of the Best Types of Peas You Can Grow (w/ Pictures)

chenell
By: Chenell - Lead Writer and Gardening Advocate
Published:

Being able to crunch into a few pea pods while walking around the garden can make your day super sweet.

But there are over 190 varieties of peas, and each has its own unique flavor and qualities. I wanted to build a list of all the peas I love to eat and some that I eventually want to grow in the garden. Enjoy!

3 Categories of Peas You Can Grow

While there are hundreds of varieties of peas, there are 3 main types of peas:

  1. English Peas (aka Garden Peas)
  2. Sugar Snap Peas
  3. Snow Peas

There are quite a few differences between English and Sugar Snap peas, and of course Snow peas. Here is a quick overview of the differences.

English PeasSnow PeasSugar Snap Peas
Also Called– Garden peas
– Green peas
– Sweet peas
Chinese pea podsSnap peas
SummaryThe most iconic-looking pea, that most people think ofA flatter version of sugar snap peasCross between snow and garden peas
ShapeFull pods with round peas insideFlat pods with small peas insideMore rounded pods with smaller peas
Edible PodNoYes; tough strings on edgesYes
Best ForAll types of cooking; these are the “common” peas you’ll find at the storeStir friesSalads and stir fries, or eaten raw
FlavorSweetNot as sweet as sugar snapsSweeter than snow peas

Within those 3 varieties, there are all kinds of types you can grow. I hope this list helps you decide which ones you want to grow this year, so you’re not buying a ton of extra seeds only to find another variety you want to try 🙂

Garden / English Peas

English peas, or garden peas, are a more “traditional” type of pea you might be used to. They are the typical round shape most people think of when they think of peas. They do need to be removed from the fibrous, inedible shell before eating.

Green Arrow Peas

green arrow peas

Green Arrow Shelling Peas are a variety that is quite popular in the European Union. Green Arrows are considered a gourmet variety that comes from England.

Best known for: Known for it’s gourmet flavor and heavy yields

Time to harvest: 65-70 days

Plant Height: 24-30 inches tall

Where You Can Get Seeds:

Maestro Peas

maestro peas

Meastro peas are a pea variety that is known for having thick, succulent pods. It’s also well known for being very hardy even in heavy soils.

Best known for: Perfect for salads, soups, and cooking

Time to harvest: 61 days

Plant Height: 24-32 inches tall

Where You Can Get Seeds:

Lincoln Peas

Lincoln peas are known for their sweet, delicate flavor and are great for fresh eating and canning alike. Lincoln peas were introduced to America around 1908 and have been a gardener’s favorite since.

Best known for: Sweet, delicate flavor

Time to harvest: 67 days

Pea Plant Height: 20 to 28 inches

Where You Can Get Seeds:

Tall Telephone

Photo by Baker Creek

Also known as Alderman peas, Tall Telephones have that name for the pure reason that they can grow up to 6 feet tall. You will need some sort of staking for these peas.

Best known for: Their tall plant height and delicious, sweet flavor

Time to harvest: 68 days

Plant Height: Up to 6 feet

Where You Can Get Seeds:

King Tut Purple Peas

Photo by Baker Creek

Also known as “purple podded peas”, King Tut peas are said to have been removed from the tomb of King Tut. This variety is very productive and is a great addition to a pea soup.

Their pods start out as a pink/purple color and blossom into dark purple pods as they get closer to harvest.

Best known for: Their beautiful purple pods and sweet flavor

Time to harvest: 68 days

Plant Height: Up to 6 feet

Where You Can Get Seeds:

Survivor Peas

Photo by Missouri Southern Seed

Survivor peas are one of the less sweet garden peas. Survivor peas are self-trellising, so you don’t need to worry about planting them near something they can climb.

Survivor peas were produced for commercial farmers because they have very high yields and a great flavor.

Best known for: Great flavor and abundant production

Time to harvest: 70 days

Plant Height: 20-24 inches

Snow Peas

Snow peas have edible pods and can be eaten without shelling.

Oregon Sugar Pod Snow Peas

Oregon sugar pods are heirloom pea plants that offers up large 4-4.5 inch pods that can be eaten as fresh peas or cooked.

Best known for: Their delicious, large double pods and quick time to harvest

Time to harvest: 60-65 days

Plant Height: 20-28 inches

Where You Can Get Seeds:

Oregon Giant Snow Peas

Oregon Giant snow peas provide thick, tender, yet sweet pea pods. Developed at Oregon State University, these peas are ready to harvest in around 70 days.

Best known for: The most vigorous snow peas with sweet and really crunchy pods

Time to harvest: 70 days

Plant Height: 24-36 inches

Where You Can Get Seeds:

Mammoth Melting Sugar Snow Peas

mammoth melting peas
Photo by Eden Bros Seeds

Mammoth melting sugar peas are a popular variety that taste great in stir fries and salads. As with most green peas, these are best grown in early spring when the weather is still cool.

These mammoth peas grow BIG, as their name suggests. The vines can get up to 6 feet tall and produce 4-5 inch pods.

Best known for: Their mammoth size

Time to harvest: 70-75 days

Plant Height: 6 feet

Where You Can Get Seeds:

Avalanche Peas

Avalanche Snow Peas provide tender, sweet peas that can be eaten as baby pods or full grown. They won’t require much trellising, as this variety are “Afila type” peas, meaning they have more tendrils than leaves so they can grab on more easily.

This variety of peas is resistant to powdery mildew and Fusarium Wilt.

Best known for: Reduced need for trellising due to plant strength

Time to harvest: 62 days

Plant Height: 35-40″ pea plants

Where You Can Get Seeds:

Snow Bird

Photo by Burpee Seeds

The Snowbirds are a dwarf pea plant, only getting to around 16-18 inches tall. They produce tender, sweet snow peas that can be eaten with the shell.

Dwarf pea plants are great for container gardening as they don’t get to be big plants.

Best known for: Dwarf pea plant, best for beginner gardeners

Time to harvest: 58 days

Plant Height: 16-18 inches

Where You Can Get Seeds:

Grey Sugar Peas

Another variety of dwarf snow peas are the Grey Sugar peas. This bush pea plant can get up to around 24-30 inches, and peas are ready to harvest around 70 days.

Best known for: Beautiful purple flowers, but sweet, small pea pods

Time to harvest: 70 days

Plant Height: 6 feet

Where You Can Get Seeds:

Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar Snap peas are some of the more common varieties. Their dark green pods can be eaten, but they often have a stringy edge that many people like to remove before eating.

Sugar Bon Peas

Photo by Territorial Seed Company

Sugar Bon peas are a dwarf variety of sugar snap peas. They mature early and produce sweet, but smaller 3 inch pods.

Their small size makes them great for square foot gardening or container gardening.

Best known for: Small plant size, but high yields

Time to harvest: 55 days

Plant Height: 18 inches

Where You Can Get Seeds:

Sugar Daddy Snap Peas

Sugar Daddy peas were bred to improve upon the popular Sugar Snap peas. They have stringless pods and improved resistance to disease.

Their dark green pods taste sweet and add a nice crunch to salads and stir fries.

Best known for: Stringless variety

Time to harvest: 60 days

Plant Height: 24-30 inches

Where You Can Get Seeds:

Super Snappy

Photo by Burpee Seeds

Super snappy peas are the largest variety of sugar snap peas, with pods getting to about 5-6 inches long. Each pod contains around 8-10 crisp, buttery sweet peas.

Best known for: Longer, sweet pods

Time to harvest: 65 days

Plant Height: 28-32 inches

Where You Can Get Seeds:

Cascadia VP

Cascadia snap peas are a dwarf variety that to not need to be staked or trellised. They provide heavy yields and have multiple disease resistances making them easier to grow later in the season.

Best known for: Thick pod walls and disease resistance

Time to harvest: 60-65 days

Plant Height: 3 feet

Where You Can Get Seeds:

Are Peas a Fruit or Vegetable?

According to the USDA, peas are considered a legume and fall in the fruit category.

How Many Types of Peas Are There?

There are over 100 different types of peas that are edible. Many are specific varieties for certain climates.

What’s the Difference Between English Peas and Snap Peas?

English peas have inedible pods, whereas snap peas can be eaten with or without their pods.

Are All Peas Green?

Not all pea pods are green. There are some varieties that have purple or pink pods, but the peas inside are all green.

The King Tut is one variety of purple peas that you can grow. While the pod is purple, the peas themselves are actually a lighter shade of green.

What is the Most Common Type of Pea?

The most common type of pea is the shelling pea, which cannot be eaten without removing the inedible pod.

What is the Tallest Type of Pea?

There are several different types of peas that can grow 6 feet tall or more, including King Tut peas and Sugar Snap peas.

What is the Sweetest Pea?

The most common type of pea is the Snow or Snap Pea. These have thick pods that are edible along with the peas inside.

Which Peas Are the Easiest to Grow?

Snow Peas, Sugar Snap Peas, and Purple Podded peas are all easy to grow. They don’t require much effort.

Which Varieties Are Shelling Peas?

Shelling peas are the varieties that you can eat fresh, but must remove the inedible pod.

Most types of peas can be planted outside 4-6 weeks ahead of your last frost date as they love the cold weather. Peas are not a type of crop that you want to start indoors.

Peas help to add variety and color to your garden, but during the height of summer, you might want to use shade cloth to keep them cooler and prevent wilting. Peas like cold weather and can survive several frosts without issue.

There are many types of peas that you can grow, but the most common ones are shelling peas. They require removing their inedible pod before eating fresh. Snow peas, Sugar Snap Peas, and Purple podded peas are easy-to-grow varieties that don’t require much work or preparation once they’re mature.

The world’s sweetest pea is the Oregon Sugar Pod II, which is actually an heirloom variety of pea. It can produce pods that are 4-4.5 inches long and taste almost like a sugary syrup or molasses.

chenell

AUTHOR

Hi - I'm Chenell! I'm on a mission to learn how to grow my own food, and help other people do the same.

I lived in the city for almost a decade, but after moving to the suburbs, I started making my Iowa blood proud and growing all kinds of food 🌽 I started this website to help keep track of the journey while teaching others the mistakes and things I'm learning along the way. You can follow along with the journey and learn more here.

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