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Sweet Pea (Lathyrus)

The sweet pea can't really cover large facades and walls, but they are an excellent choice for fences and as a flower-bouquet supply throughout the summer. They can be cultivated as potted plants on balconies. They are long-flowering annual climbing plants for enthusiasts that will only show their potential when lovingly cared for. 

Sweet Pea, latin: lathyrus odoratus

Sweet Pea (lathyrus odoratus)
Sweet Pea (lathyrus odoratus)


A sunny, warm, and slightly sheltered (from the wind) location is ideal, away from walls and facades. Sweet peas don't tolerate heat peaks well, so it is better to choose east or west-facing locations. They like well-drained, fertile soil-- preferably calcareous (chalky). Watering is necessary in heat, or the plants will die. Fertiliser or compost promotes growth. Avoid soil depletion by changing the location or by replacing the soil after each season. The seeds are available in single or mixed colour-blends. 

Characteristics and Pruning

This climbing vine was imported from southern Italy, probably in the 17th century via Spain and Holland. It was not until 1870 that the inconspicuous plants were developed by the English gardener Henry Eckford, and from 1900 to 1918 they were perfected within the newly founded National Sweet Pea Society to produce today's magnificent varieties. The sweet pea climbs with leaf tendrils. Sowing is possible as early as March or mid-April, after soaking the seeds overnight in lukewarm water. Sow 3 seeds per hole and cover 5 cm thick with soil; leave 45 - 60 cm between plants. You can also dig grooves every 5 cm and put 2 seeds in each, and thin out later to leave enough space between plants. The extremity of the shoots can be pinched off once they are at least 10 cm high, to promote branching. The sweet pea grows up to 1.5 m (3 m) in height, many varieties have sweet-scented flowers in white, pink, red, purple, or deep blue hues. Flowering time is June to August or September. The flowers can make great bouquets for four to six days when cut in the morning. The flowers should be cut off regularly as this prolongs the flowering time. Even when not making bouquets, cut off the older flowers, or fruits will develop and the plant will fade.

Climbing Aids on Facades

Choose a trellis with a narrowly arranged grid; fences made of wire mesh are an ideal place for the sweet pea. Wire rope trellises in easy or light design are good choices for facades. For optimal development (wall distance) choose a cable system in the medium design range.

Cable Systems?

Click on the image to see which designs are compatible as a climbing aid for sweet peas.

Sweet peas on a fence
Greening with sweet peas
Sweet pea on a trellis
Sweet pea on a house entrance

Suitable Cable Systems for Sweet Pea

Please click on the graphics to see a detailed view of each design!

 = suitable         = sometimes suitable       = not suitable