Content Detail

Perennial sweetpeas produce pink or white pea-type flowers in summer. Despite their name, the flowers are not fragrant.

  • Family (English) Pea
  • Family (botanic) Fabaceae (formerly Leguminosae)
  • Tree or plant type Vine
  • Native locale Non-native
  • 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)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Chicago), Zone 6, Zone 7
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Clay soil, Occasional drought
  • Season of interest early summer, late summer, midsummer
  • Flower color and fragrance Pink, Red, White
  • Shape or form Vining
  • Growth rate Moderate

Size and Method of Climbing:

Perennial sweetpea is a small vine, growing only 6 to 8 feet. It has tendrils for climbing and climbs by twisting those tendrils around a support. This type of vine grows well on trellises, arbors, wires or chain-link fences.

Native geographic location and habitat:

Native to Europe.

Leaf description:

Leaves are green to blue-green, pinnately compound with an even number of leaflets. The leaves arise from winged stems and are accompanied by tendrils. The fall color is poor, turning yellow-green at best.

Flower description:

Clusters of pea-type flowers in pink or white which are not fragrant. Flowering occurs from June to early autumn.  

Fruit description:

The fruits are legumes (pods) filled with pea-like seeds.  The seeds should not be eaten.

Plant care:

Full sun is best, but plants can tolerate part shade. Plant in moist, well-drained soils and mulch to keep the root system cool.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

No serious problems. However, this plant often produces unwanted seedlings and can spread underground by rhizomes.

Pink Pearl perennial sweetpea (Lathyrus latifolius ‘Pink Pearl’): 

Pink flowers.

Red Pearl perennial sweetpea (Lathyrus latifolius ‘Red Pearl’):  

Red flowers.

White Pearl perennial sweetpea (Lathyrus latifolius ‘White Pearl’): 

White flowers.

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