Saturday, September 20, 2014

GG’s Sweet Pea Vine … Lathyrus latifolius

Over the years, I have become especially fond of growing mostly purple perennials in my small yard for spring, summer and fall.

One favorite is the sweet pea vine better known as Lathyrus latifolius, the perennial pea vine, perennial pea, or everlasting sweet pea. This flower is a robust, sprawling perennial in the Pea Family.

The small blossoms of the perennial Sweet Pea vine or Lathyrus latifolus actually look like dozens of tiny orchids (about 1 inch in diameter).

Contrary to the Clematis, the sweet pea vine is no new kid on the block. Says, "It is an heirloom vine, which Thomas Jefferson grew, enjoyed, and called 'everlasting pea' in his day." For more information on growing:

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Sweet peas grow as groundcover in large areas or will quickly reach a height of 6 to 8 feet on a trellis or arbor. I especially enjoy my vine for photography studies. The sharp contrast of the dark leaves and bright purple blooms make a great palette of colors.

Although the blooming of my sweet peas begins in early summer and continues until early fall, the seedpods are my favorite. They make great decorations on autumn or Halloween displays.

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Butterflies, bees, hummingbirds and spiders are attracted to the purple blooms that also provide cut flowers for indoor vases.

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In some areas the sweet pea might reseed itself as a perennial, but I save the seeds, allowing them to completely dry before I pack them away in a small plastic bag. Around June, I plant a few under my trellis. They usually appear within a few weeks and require little care or special watering – which is my kind of plant.
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And if the vine is left to dry over the winter, the ice formations also make an interesting art form as well.