Just when the heat of late spring is too much for my annual sweet peas and they start to fade, my perennial sweet pea, Lathyrus latifolus, seems to kick in and surprise me with it's "oh so delicate" orchid-shaped blooms. Looks are deceiving, however, there is nothing delicate about this sweet pea perennial plant. It is a workhorse as beautiful screen for you in your garden, natural banks, roadside fences, and hard to plant areas.
Hardy to Zone 3, it is more drought tolerant than annual sweet peas. It likes sun, and will bloom more profusely with plenty of sun. Perennial Sweet Pea comes back year after year, easily self-sowing and can reach 9 to 12 feet high. It blooms late spring to summer.
Perennial sweet pea flowers are quite different from it's annual sweet pea cousins, too. They have no fragrance. Their flower palette is very feminine, blooming in shell pink, white, and mauve colors only. The perennial sweet pea flower is a diminutive 1" size, smaller and less wavy ruffle, from the sweet pea flowers you are most likely familiar with.
Each flower is a perfect tiny orchid shape, aligned in a straight row of spray on its vine. Perennial sweet peas are great as cut flowers in arrangements as a small bouquet, or using the entire dramatic vine with its spray of sweet pea blooms.
It has history, too. It is an heirloom vine, which Thomas Jefferson grew, enjoyed, and called "everlasting pea" in his day. Modern day, Sweet Pea Queen, Renee Shepard, of Renee's Garden has the Perennial Sweet Pea seeds available to purchase on her website.
In celebration of all moms on their special day, Happy Mother's Day!