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Annual sweet pea (ANNUAL VINE)

Flowers of annual sweet pea, cultivar King Edward VII.

Annual sweet pea is similar in appearance to the perennial sweet pea, except that it comes in a wider range of colors and the flowers are fragrant.

Botanical name:

Lathyrus odoratus

All common names:

Annual sweet pea, sweet pea

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):

Fabaceae (formerly Leguminosae)

Tree or Plant Type:

  • Vine

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Container,
  • Mixed border

Size Range:

  • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil

Seasons of Interest:

  • late spring,
  • early summer,
  • midsummer,
  • late summer,
  • early fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Fragrant,
  • Blue,
  • Orange,
  • Other,
  • Pink,
  • Purple,
  • Red,
  • White,
  • Yellow

Shape or Form:

  • Vining

Growth Rate:

  • Fast

More Information:

Size and Method of Climbing

Annual sweet pea is an annual vine that can grow up to 8 feet in a season.  It climbs by tendrils. Vines with tendrils climb by twisting those tendrils around a support.  This type of vine grows well on trellises, arbors, wires or chain-link fences.

Plant Care

Full sun to light shade.  These plants do best when temperatures are cool, so they may not do well in very hot summers.

Disease, pests, and problems

No serious common problems.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Italy ans Sicily.

Leaf description

Alternate compound leaves with winged petioles arising from winged stems.  Leaves green.

Flower description

Pea-type flowers in a wide range of colors; fragrant.  Numerous cultivars are available and flower color varies by cultivar.

Fruit description

The fruits are legumes (pods), containing pea-like seeds.  Seeds should not be eaten.


Location of Lathyrus odoratus (Annual sweet pea (ANNUAL VINE)) at the Arboretum

We do not seem to have this in our living collection.