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A picture of a Sweet Pea

Sweet Pea

Lathyrus odoratus

Also known as

Vetchling, Sweet-Pea, Queen of The Annuals

Lathyrus odoratus Paris by Dinkum (CC0)

Full Sun
Moderate care
Moderate watering


USDA zone


Minimum temperature

Expected size








3 months to reach maturity


  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a strong fragrance

More images of Sweet Pea

Lathyrus odoratus
A photo of Sweet Pea

Sweet Pea Overview

Lathyrus odoratus is an annual species from the Fabaceae family. It can reach 2m in height, climbing through the use of tendrils. Commonly known by the names Sweet Pea, Vetchling and Queen of The Annuals. This annual is well known for the enchantingly scented and beautiful flowers in varying colours including white, pink and purple shades. The flowers measure around 3.5cm across. There are several varieties including climbing (which are grown up canes), as well as bush and dwarf and many cultivars have been produced for garden use. The Sweet Pea gained wide popularity in the Victorian era and it still makes a charming addition to spring and summer gardens. It is also a long-lasting and lovely cut flower.

Common problems with Sweet Pea

Sweet Pea Companion Plants

Plant with spring annuals and small shrubs.

How to harvest Sweet Pea

Pick flowers regularly in spring and summer. This will encourage the plant to produce more blooms.

How to propagate Sweet Pea


Sweet peas are best sown in autumn or spring. To help them germinate, soak the seeds overnight to soften their outer coats. Direct sow outdoors in April and May. It is vital to prepare your soil well. Turn the soil over to a depth of 30cm and add plenty of compost. In the well-prepared soil make holes 2-3cm deep and about 10-15cm apart. Drop seeds in and press down firmly on soil. Keep moist until they start sprouting. Alternatively you can start indoors, either in Sept and Oct. or from Jan to March. Sow 5 seeds into 5cm pots, lightly cover with compost. Water after sowing, but not again until after the seedlings have emerged. Maintain the pots between 10 and 15°C (50-60°F). Plant out after the risk of frost has passed.

Special features of Sweet Pea

Attracts useful insects

Bees are attracted to the flowers.

Attractive flowers

Other uses of Sweet Pea


This is a must for any spring garden, beautiful flowers with strong fragrance and long lasting in the vase.

Cut flowers

Varieties have been bred as cut flowers, with longer stem lengths.

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