Partridge Pea is easy to grow. It does well in medium to dry soils, even poor ones, and prefers full sun but will tolerate light shade.
You’ll notice that there seems to be a bit of black powder coating the seeds. Partridge Pea is a legume and, like many legumes, forms a symbiotic relationship with Rhizobia bacteria in its root nodules. The bacteria can take atmospheric nitrogen and turn it into a form the plant can use (called “nitrogen fixation”), allowing the plant to do well in soils low in nitrogen. Often legume seed is sold with an inoculant of this bacterium mixed in, in case the Rhizobia population is low in the soil where it’s planted. The bacterium is harmless to humans. Learn more here.
Like many natives, Partridge Pea evolved a thick seed coat so the seeds wouldn’t germinate with the first warm, wet weather after ripening; otherwise, they might germinate in the fall and be killed by winter frost. If you had the seed last fall, you could have sown it directly in your garden then and looked forward to plants germinating this spring as the weather warmed. Since you didn’t, many purveyors of Partridge Pea seed recommend a short period (10 days) of what’s called “cold stratification,” which artificially speeds up the process of breaking dormancy. Some believe it isn’t needed at all and you can sow directly into the ground in early spring. Read more about stratification here and here.
You have several options for planting your seeds, and you might like to experiment with more than one:
● Sow directly onto the ground (any time from late April to early June), cover lightly with a ¼-½ inch of soil, and tamp down to make sure there’s good seed to soil contact.