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Climbing Vine Pictures: Sweet Pea Vines

Re-Seeding Annuals


Like morning glories, sweet pea vines are annuals -- well, sometimes. That is, there are two types: Lathyrus latifolius, an herbaceous perennial, and Lathyrus odoratus, an annual. As you may have guessed from the annual version's specific epithet, odoratus, it sometimes bears fragrant flowers....
Photo of sweet pea vines.

Photo of sweet pea vines.

David Beaulieu

But both annual sweet pea vines and morning glories re-seed, so, in a sense, they still offer you a "perennial experience," even though they are not, technically, perennials.

One use for these climbers is disguising chain-link fencing, as in the picture above. But another idea is to build a lattice screen and let the plants climb up it to create a more ornamental feature. Climbing is accomplished via tendrils. They can grow as high as 8 feet.

The perennial sweet pea vines, which lack the fragrance of some of the annual types and are sometimes called "everlasting sweet pea," are typically planted in growing zones 5-9. As the common name suggests, they are in the legume family (Fabaceae). Anyone with experience in growing and observing legumes would be able to guess the family ties here from the appearance of the flowers and seed pods of sweet pea vines.

Perhaps the most intriguing plant part is the stem, which contains a fold that is sometimes referred to as a "wing." These winged stems will remind some of burning bush (which bears the alternate common name, "winged euonymus"), although in the case of sweet pea vines the stems are more flattened.

It will bloom more profusely and perform better overall in full sun. If the plant is grown in partial shade, flowering will be reduced; nor should you be surprised to encounter mildew problems under such conditions. Grow the plants in a fertile, loamy soil, and water well.

Sweet pea vines might be most intimately associated with a laid-back, rural ambiance. They're an appropriate selection if you're seeking a cottage garden plant to grow on a wooden arbor.

Back to => 10 Best Perennial Vines for Sun

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