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Do sweet peas come back every year?

Sweet peas are brilliant plants, so brilliant in fact that you will want them to come back year after year, but will they? Do sweet peas come back every year?

The simple answer is no, most sweet peas are annual and flower for a single year before dying off completely. The keen-eyed among you will notice that I said most, so there must be some sweet peas that do come back every year right?

In fact, there are, they are commonly known as everlasting sweet peas. Read on to find out more about everlasting sweet peas and how you can successfully grow them yourself.

Seen as though your regular sweet peas won’t be coming back every year you better know how to grow them from seed. Check out my comprehensive guide to growing sweet peas from seed.

Sweet Peas in Archway
Sweet Peas in Archway

Everlasting Sweet Peas

There is one type of sweet pea that is perennial. All of the above-ground growth will still die back or be cut back to ground level in late autumn/winter but in the following spring, it will appear again, ready to grow and flower all over again.

The Latin name given to this plant is Lathyrus latifolius but it is commonly known as the everlasting sweet pea.

This sweet pea looks just like its annual cousin, just with a few differences. Everlasting peas tend to grow bushier than annual sweet peas. They also have one major drawback, the vast majority of everlasting sweet peas don’t have the scent that annual sweet peas are famed for.

Perennial Sweet Pea!
Sweet Pea Everlasting Mixed Seeds
  • A hardy perennial sweet pea
  • Flowers year after year
  • Mixed colours
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05/19/2022 10:59 am GMT

Growing everlasting sweet peas is really simple. Grow them from seed, sowing in spring and then planting out once the risk of frost has passed. Unlike regular sweet peas, autumnal sowing of everlasting peas is not advised.

Give the sweet peas plenty of light and water and also support to grow up. To extend the flowering period of everlasting sweet peas make sure to take regular flower cuttings and don’t allow the flowers to go to seed.

Once the flowering is done for the year you can cut the sweet peas right back to the ground in early winter, they will then reappear from the soil the following spring.

Mixed colours of sweet pea flowers
Mixed colours of sweet pea flowers

More on Sweetpeas

sweet peas, (Lathyrus odoratus) are a flowering plant belonging to the legume family. They are an annual flower that loves to climb and spread, in the right conditions and with the correct support they can grow to 2 and a half meters tall!

Unlike many other legumes which are grown to be eaten, sweet peas are grown for purely aesthetic reasons. There is evidence to suggest that the pea seeds from a sweet pea plant are actually toxic to humans and not fit for consumption even if this was desired.

Sweetpea FAQ’s

Are sweet peas perennial?

No sweet peas are an annual plant, they will not come back year after year.

Can you eat sweetpeas?

No, sweet peas are grown purely for their looks. Unlike many other legumes, they are actually toxic to humans if consumed.

Are sweet peas poisonous to pets?

Yes, as they are poisonous to humans they are also poisonous to pets, so make sure you keep an eye on your pets when they are hovering around sweet peas.

How high can sweet peas grow?

With the proper support, sweet peas can grow to 2m or even slightly above!

When do you grow sweet peas?

The traditional season for sweet peas is June and July but with the right care and attention, they can be both started earlier and grown later into the season. Regular deadheading of sweetpeas can massively prolong their flowering period.

How to germinate sweet peas?

I like to soak my sweet pea seeds in water for 24 hours before planting them in a seed tray. This soaking helps to break down the tough shell around the seed allowing them to germinate better.