The sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus) is an annual flowering plant native to the eastern Mediterranean region. The popularity of these fragrant flowers spread to Great Britain and North America, where they were known as the "Queen of Annuals."
Sweet peas were first cultivated in the 17th century by Henry Eckford, a member of the Royal Horticultural Society. The blooms were all the rage of the late Victorian era.
Sweet peas are prized for their variety of colorful, fragrant blooms. They are best used in sunny beds and borders, but can adapt to almost any garden style.
Sweet pea growth varies depending on the type. Dwarf varieties grow 8 to 20 inches while climbing vines grow 6 to 9 feet tall.
Sweet pea seeds do best when sown directly into the garden and spaced 6 inches apart.
Deadheading old flowers encourages continuous blooming all season long. At the end of the growing season, spent blooms will self-seed for the following year.
Seeds of the sweet pea are poisonous. If ingested, a disease called odoratism can develop. The symptoms mimic those of scurvy.
Sweet Peas, flowering plant, garden Facts
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Vikki McMahon attended the College of New Jersey before experiencing a variety of career choices, including the pharmaceutical research field, the real estate industry and the Insurance industry. She has been a freelance writer since 2008 and shares her enthusiasm for parenting and home and garden topics, with published articles appearing on stressfreeliving.com and thebabybin.com.