Lathyrus odoratus (Sweet Pea)

Sweet Pea (Lathyrus Odoratus)

  • Lathyrus Odoratus, Sweet Pea, Annual plant, Fragrant Plant, Climbing plant,Annual Flowers, Fragrant Flowers Climbing Flowers

Native to the Mediterranean region, Lathyrus odoratus (Sweet Pea) is a bushy or climbing annual noted for the delicious scent of its lovely flowers. Blooming in a wide array of enchanting colors, Sweet Peas deserve a spot in sunny borders, containers, on arches and trellises where they will happily twine and release their fabulous scent.

  • Sweet Pea flowers feature one large, upright, round petal (banner or standard); two narrow side petals (wings); and two lower petals forming a boat-shaped structure (keel). They are born on winged stems clad with pairs of medium to dark green leaflets. The stems end in tendrils which enable them to climb. Blooming in clusters, they make magnificent cut flowers and great bouquets for your home.
  • Sweet Peas grow and bloom best in cool, mild climates where they enjoy a long blooming season, extending from spring to fall. Sweet Peas resent hot and humid weather.
  • As bushy annuals, Sweet Peas grow from 8 in. to 3 ft. tall (20-90 cm). As climbing annuals, Sweet Peas grow up to 6-8 ft. or more (180-240 cm) in a single season. Without support, they would grow in a bushy mound to 2.5’ tall (70 cm).
  • Sweet Peas love full sun or light shade in rich, humusy, medium moisture, well-draining soils. Best performance occurs in cool soils with good air circulation. A heavy application of mulch will help keep the roots cool and moist. Incorporate well-rotted organic manure before planting and apply a balanced liquid fertilizer every two weeks throughout the growing season. Avoid overhead watering.
  • Sweet Peas are wonderful when massed in borders, containers, or climbing and twining on arches or arbors.
  • Attractive to bees and butterflies, but ignored by deer.
  • Sweet Peas are susceptible to slugs, snails, Pythium root rot, powdery mildew, rust, gray mold, and various leaf spots.

paylessimages / 123RF Stock Photo

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Hardiness 2 – 11  
Heat Zones 1 – 8
Climate Zones 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant TypeClimbers
Plant FamilyLathyrus - Sweet Peas
ExposureFull Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Height 8" – 8' (20cm – 240cm)
Spread 2' – 3' (60cm – 90cm)
Spacing 24" – 36" (60cm – 90cm)
Water NeedsLow, Average
Soil TypeLoam, Sand
Soil PhAcid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil DrainageWell-Drained
CharacteristicsCut Flowers, Fragrant, Showy
Landscaping Ideas Arbors, Pergolas, Trellises, Beds and Borders, Patio and Containers, Wall-Side Borders
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Informal and Cottage, Mediterranean Garden

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