How To Grow and Save Seed Of Sweet Pea

Latin name Lathyrus odoratus is an annual member of the legume, or bean, family. These gorgeous ornamentals are a staple in cottage gardens and look amazing in floral arrangements, but please use caution as all parts of the plant are poisonous.



Native to parts of the Mediterranean, specifically Sicily, Cyprus, and the Aegean Islands. A cottage favorite, especially beloved for its incredible fragrance.


  • Ornamental
  • Beds, borders, containers, cottage garden, cut flower garden/production
  • NOTE: All parts of the plant are poisonous.




  • Soak seeds in warm water for 24 hours before planting.
  • Direct sow 3-4 weeks before last frost (preferred) or start indoors 4-6 weeks before transplanting out.
  • Plant seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep.
  • Ideal germination temperature is 55-65 F.
  • Seeds germinate in 14-21 days.


  • Provide rich, well-drained soil and adequate moisture.
  • Pinch main growing stem when plants are 6 inches tall to encourage better branching.
  • Provide trellising.
  • Keep deadheaded to encourage continued blooming.


  • Aphids are a pest of sweet pea and will transmit virus.
  • Prevent aphids by encouraging beneficials such as ladybugs.
  • Powdery mildew can be a problem as well; be sure to space plants adequately to promote good air flow.


  • A very easy seed-saving crop!
  • Simply allow the pods, which resemble small pea pods, to turn brown and dry on plants.
  • Harvest seeds and store in a cool, dry, dark place.