Sweet Peas: A Powerful Scented Flowers

by Australian Flowers

Curious about sweet peas? These beautiful blooms are easy to grow and make a stunning addition to any garden.

Here is everything you need to know about growing sweet peas.

What Are Sweet Peas?

Sweet Peas

Sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus) are climbing annual plants that produce sweetly scented flowers in various colours. Sweet peas are a popular choice for gardens and can also be grown in containers. Sweet peas are sweetly scented flowers that come in a variety of colours. They are famous for parks and can also be grown in containers.

The plant is a native of Sicily and was introduced to England in the 16th century.


There are many types of sweet peas, but the most common are:

Annual Sweet Peas

Annual sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus) are one of the most popular spring-flowering plants. They are known for their lovely fragrance and come in many colours, including white, pink, purple, red and yellow. They are easy to grow and make an excellent addition to any garden.

It should be planted in early spring, as soon as the soil can be worked. They prefer cool weather and will not do well in hot summer temperatures. In warm climates, it can be planted in fall for winter blooms.

Perennial Sweet Peas

Perennial sweet peas are climbing plants that produce fragrant flowers. The sweet pea is a member of the legume family and is native to Italy. Perennial sweet peas are easy to grow and can be started from seed. They prefer full sun and well-drained soil. Sweet peas should be planted in the spring after the last frost.


There are wide sweet pea varieties, so it can be tricky to choose which ones to grow. Here’s a list of sweet pea varieties:

Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned sweet pea is a variety of sweet pea that has been around for many years. This sweet pea is known for its old-fashioned look and sweet fragrance. The Old Fashioned sweet pea is a trendy choice for gardeners who want to grow sweet peas that have a traditional look.

The Old Fashioned sweet pea is a climbing plant that can reach up to 6 feet in height. The flowers of this sweet pea variety are large and have a powerful sweet fragrance. The Old Fashioned sweet pea is a trendy choice for cut flowers.

Spencer Cultivars

Spencer Cultivar sweet peas are a type of sweet pea developed by an English horticulturist in the 19th century. The sweet pea is named after its creator, Sir Harry Goodricke Spencer.

This sweet pea variety is known for its large flowers and intense fragrance. Spencer sweet peas are also considered one of the best sweet pea varieties for cutting.

Bijou Group

The Bijou Group is a sweet pea variety developed in the United Kingdom. This sweet pea variety is known for its large, fragrant flowers. The Bijou Group sweet pea variety was introduced in 1882.

Bijou Group sweet peas prefer full sun and well-drained soil. They should be planted in early spring, after the last frost date.


There are many cultivars of sweet peas, with a wide range of colours and sizes. The most famous sweet pea cultivars include:


The sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus) is a flowering plant in the genus Lathyrus family Fabaceae, native to Sicily, southern Italy and Greece. It is an annual climbing plant, growing to a height of 1–2 metres (3–7 ft), where practical support is available. The leaves are pinnate with two leaflets and a terminal tendril, which twines around supporting plants to climb up to 60 cm (2 ft). The flowers are 2–3.5 cm broad; they may be white, pink, purple or bluish-lilac, often with darker markings at the base of the standard.

Old Spice

Old Spice sweet peas are cultivars of sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus) introduced by the lovely British pea breeder Percy C. Sladden in 1922. The cultivars Old Spice’ and ‘Pink Old Spice’ have gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

To grow old-spice sweet peas, start by planting the seeds in early spring in a sunny location with well-drained soil. After the plants have grown to about 6 inches tall, pinch off the tips to encourage bushier growth. Water the plants regularly, and fertilize them every few weeks. When the sweet peas are in full bloom, cut them regularly to keep the flowers coming.


Erewhon sweet pea cultivars include a series of sweet pea cultivars developed by the Erewhon Company. The company was founded in 2006 by charming pea expert and enthusiast Simon Woolley. The company’s goal is to create sweet peas that are both beautiful and easy to grow. Erewhon sweet peas are available in various colours, including white, pink, purple, and red.

Everlasting Pea

It is a sweet pea cultivar developed in England during the early 20th century. It is also called the annual sweet pea or sweet William. This sweet pea has sweet-scented, pink and white flowers. The flowers are borne in clusters of 2 to 6 on each stem. Each flower has four petals which are arranged in a cross shape. The sweet pea plant is a climbing plant that can grow up to 3m tall.

How to Plant

To plant Sweet Pea:

  • Choose a sunny spot in your garden with well-draining soil.
  • Dig a hole twice the size of the sweet pea’s root ball.
  • Mix some compost into the hole.
  • Place the sweet pea in the hole and backfill it with the soil.
  • Water the sweet pea well.
  • Stake the sweet pea if necessary.
  • Apply mulch around the sweet pea to help with water retention and weed control.

From Seed

Once you have sweet pea seeds:

  • You’ll need to start them indoors about eight weeks before the last frost date in your area.
  • Fill seed-starting pots with a good quality potting mix and moisten them well.
  • Place 2-3 sweet pea seeds on the soil’s surface in each jar, and then lightly cover them with more potting mix.
  • Use a spray bottle to mist the soil’s surface, then place the jars in a warm location.
  • Keep the sweet pea seeds moist by misting them regularly, and within 10-14 days, they should start to sprout.
  • Once they’ve sprouted, you can move the pots to a sunny location.
  • Allow the sweet pea seedlings to grow for several weeks before transplanting them outdoors.


The hardiness zone for sweet peas is 3-9. They are annual plants, which means they will live for one growing season and then die. Sweet peas need full sun, partial shade, and well-drained soil high in organic matter.


Sweet pea prefers full sunlight but can tolerate some partial shade, especially in hot summer climates. They also like rich, well-drained soils. Sweet pea roots are relatively shallow and don’t do well in waterlogged soils. If you have heavy clay soil, consider amending it with compost or other organic matter to improve drainage.


To grow Sweet Pea flowers, start with sweet pea seeds. You can purchase sweet pea seeds from a gardening store or online.

  • Once you have your sweet pea seeds, fill a pot with well-draining soil and plant the seeds about 1 inch deep.
  • Water the ground until it is moist but not soggy.
  • Place the pot in a sunny location and keep the soil moist.
  • The sweet pea seeds should germinate in 7-14 days.
  • Once the sweet pea seedlings have grown, transplant them into your garden.
  • Choose a spot in your garden with full sun and well-draining soil.
  • Space the lovely pea plants about 2 feet apart.
  • Water the plants regularly, especially during dry periods.


Regular deadheading is essential to encourage more blooming to care for this flower. Water sweet peas weekly, and fertilize every other week. Be sure to keep an eye out for pests and diseases.

Planting and Soil

The soil for Sweet peas should be loose, well-drained, and rich in organic matter. They are not very tolerant of wet conditions. It is best to start sweet peas indoors about six to eight weeks before the last frost date in your area.


Sweet Pea flowers require at least 6 hours of sunlight daily to grow and bloom correctly. If you live in an area with less than 6 hours of daylight, you can supplement with artificial lighting such as grow lights.


Sweet peas need 1 to 2 inches of water per week. Water sweet peas early in the morning so the foliage have time to dry out during the day, which will help prevent fungal diseases.

Temperature and Humidity

The ideal temperature for sweet pea plants is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. However, sweet peas can tolerate temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is too high, lovely pea plants will not produce as many flowers.

Sweet peas prefer humid conditions, but they can tolerate some drought. If the air is too dry, lovely pea plants will not produce as many flowers.


Sweet peas are heavy feeders and benefit from being fertilized every two weeks with a water-soluble fertilizer.


Late pruning of sweet peas encourages them to produce more lateral (side) shoots. These lateral shoots grow more flowers than the sweet pea’s main stem. Lateral shoots also help support the plant because sweet peas are top-heavy and prone to falling over. To encourage lateral growth, wait until sweet peas have produced at least six leaves and cut the main stem back by half. Pinch sweet peas when they are about 6 inches (15 cm) tall. This will encourage them to produce lateral shoots. Sweet peas can be pinched a second time when they are about 12 inches (30 cm) tall.

Common Pests

The common pests found in Sweet Peas flowers are:

  • Aphids: Green or black insects found on the underside of leaves. They suck the sap out of plants, which can cause leaf curling, stunted growth, and lower distortion.
  • Thrips: Small, slender insects that are black or brown. They feed on the leaves and flowers of sweet peas, which can cause stunted growth and lower distortion.
  • Whiteflies: Small, white insects found on the undersides of leaves. They suck the sap out of plants, which can cause leaf yellowing, stunted growth, and lower distortion.
  • Prevention & Treatment: The best way to prevent sweet pea pests is to plant healthy, disease-free plants. Inspect lovely pea plants regularly for signs of problems and treat them immediately if found. There are a variety of Insecticidal soaps and neem oil products available that can be used to treat sweet pea pests. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label carefully.
  • The best way to control pests is to prevent them from getting into your garden in the first place. Start with healthy plants and scrutinize them before you bring them home. If you do find pests, isolate the affected plant and treat it immediately.

There it is! Our sweet pea gardening guide. You can enjoy these beautiful blooms in your garden with just a little planning and care. So get out there and start sowing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Sweet Pea Come Back Every Year?

No, sweet peas are annuals. This means that they live for one growing season and then die. They do not come back the following year as perennials do. Annuals are often grown as part of a temporary display or a design that will be changed yearly. Because sweet peas only last one season, they can be an excellent choice for annual beds and borders

What Month Does Sweet Peas Flower?

Sweet peas are an old-fashioned favourite that graced the gardens of our grandmothers. They are annual plants, which means they complete their life cycle in one growing season. Sweet peas are typically planted in late spring or early summer and will flower throughout the summer months.

What do Sweet Peas Attract In The Garden?

Bees, of course! Sweet peas are a crucial player in any bee-friendly garden. Not only do sweet peas provide an essential source of nectar and pollen for bees, but they also attract other beneficial insects like hoverflies and lacewings, which help to keep pests in check.

What are sweet peas good for?

Sweet peas are a good source of fibre, vitamin C, and vitamin A. They also contain important antioxidants that can help protect cells from damage. These antioxidants may help reduce the risk of some diseases, including cancer.

Why are sweet peas so-called?

Because of their sweet taste. The legume has a delicate flavour that is a cross between English peas and snow peas. They are also high in fibre and low in calories, making them a healthy choice for a snack or side dish.

What do sweet peas attract?

They are a type of plant that attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies. They have a sweet scent that draws in these animals, and the pollen from the flowers gets stuck to their bodies. When they fly to another flower, they spread the pollen and help to fertilize it. This process allows the sweet pea plant to reproduce and create more plants.

What is the best support for sweet peas?

The best way to support sweet peas is by providing them with a trellis or some other type of vertical support. This will help them grow tall and straight, and it will also help to keep the pods off the ground so they can avoid disease.

How fast do sweet peas grow?

They can grow anywhere from 12-18 inches tall, and they typically take around 60 days to reach maturity from planting.

Why are sweet peas not flowering?

It could be that your sweet peas are not getting enough light. Without enough light, plants will not flower. Another possibility is that your soil is too acidic. It prefer a soil pH of 6.0-7.5, which is slightly on the alkaline side. If your soil pH is below 6.0, you can add some limestone to the soil to increase the pH level, or else use a fertilizer that contains lime as an ingredient.

Why are my sweet peas drying up?

It’s possible that your sweet peas are drying up because they aren’t getting enough water. Make sure you are watering them regularly and deeply, especially during the hot summer months.
If you live in a dry climate, it might also be helpful to water your plants in the morning rather than in the evening, so that the water has a chance to evaporate and leave the plants with less of a humidity load. Too much humidity can cause problems like rotting roots and mildews.

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