All About the Sweet Pea Flower
Horticulturalist Henry Eckford developed and promoted the sweet pea as we know it today. This was once a little known obscure flower, which Eckford worked with and developed into a thriving annual that is a well loved staple for many gardens. This vining plant became so vastly popular during the Victorian period that the flower appears in many pieces of artwork and collages representing that age. While the name of flower implies that it is a kind of food, the neurotoxins in it actually make it poisonous. In the language of flowers, the sweet pea is a symbol of gratitude and happiness. The flowers are delicate but showy, and give off a sweet scent that speaks of springtime and romance.
Description of the Sweet Pea Flower
A member of the Lathyrus family, the sweet pea is a climbing annual that produces bright, showy flowers. An annual is a plant that dies at the end of the growing season and does not return; it is called an annual because it must be replanted annually. The sweet pea will reach heights up to six feet high, and it will climb just about any support you provide, so it is at home on a brick wall, a lattice, or a lamp post or fence. The plant is covered in spiraling leaves, and the flowers appear at the top. Common colors found in sweet peas include white, and multiple shades of purple and pink. These fragrant blossoms can also be found in shades of coral, blue, and yellow.
Uses for the Sweet Pea Flower
The sweet pea makes a great addition to any garden. Because it climbs walls and supports, it makes a great flower to plant behind your shorter flowers, creating a delicate leafy backdrop and perhaps hiding a wall or structure from sight. This flower’s blooming period is in the spring, so it provides some added beauty to your spring bulbs, while you are waiting for your summer blooms to develop. You can train it to grow to your desired height by using specific supports. It will not continue to grow in height once it reaches the top of whatever support you choose to use. The bright, vibrant blooms look pretty as cut flowers too, and are often used in spring bouquets and bridal bouquets.
Growing the Sweet Pea Flower
Because the sweet pea that we grow today was developed and hybridized by humans, it is easy to grow and will thrive with just a little attention. It is a beautiful, graceful plant with lovely flowers, that adds a lovely accent to any porch, garden, or green house. Your sweet pea will only climb as high as your support will allow, so you have some control over your end results. The plant will require excellent drainage; it does not like its roots to be wet, and the plant will require sunlight and regular watering as well. When granted these basic needs, your plant will reward you with bright, sunny blooms.