The Sweetest Secrets of Sweet Pea Meanings & Uses

The Sweetest Secrets of Sweet Pea: Meanings & Uses

If you’re looking for a charming and meaningful gift to give your friends and loved ones, look no further than sweet pea flowers. These flowers look like butterflies and have a sweet fragrance like a blend of honey and cherry blossoms.

Sweet peas also have a rich symbolism that makes them ideal gifts for any occasion or for when you want to make your home or garden look even more beautiful.

In this guide, we will discuss what specific sweet pea colors fit certain occasions and take you through everything you need to know about their meanings, origins, and various uses.

How did the sweet pea flower get its name?

How did the sweet pea flower get its name

The botanical name of sweet pea, Lathyrus odoratus, comes from the Greek term “Lathyros,” which translates to pea or pulse, and the Latin word “odoratus,” which means fragrant.

What are the botanical origins of the sweet pea flower?

What are the botanical origins of the sweet pea flower

Sweet peas, scientifically known as Lathyrus odoratus, belong to the Fabaceae family, alongside beans and pulses like lentils. They are native to Sicily and the surrounding islands of the Mediterranean. 

These flowers have a unique scent that’s almost like candy and never overwhelming or unpleasant. 

Since sweet peas are climbing plants, they can reach heights of 6 to 8 feet with support. Without it, they get a bushy, mound-forming growth pattern and spread 1–2 feet wide.

Do sweet pea flowers require a lot of maintenance?

Sweet peas are generally low-maintenance flowers. To maintain their health and promote blooming, water them consistently, particularly during dry spells.

Also, remove withered blossoms and provide appropriate support for climbing varieties for a continuous bloom cycle throughout the season.

Do sweet pea flowers need shade or sun?

Sweet peas generally flourish in full sunlight, which helps promote their growth and colorful blossoms. However, in regions with hotter climates, having a bit of afternoon shade can be advantageous to prevent heat stress.

When do sweet pea flowers bloom?

The timing of sweet pea blooms depends on the local climate. In warmer areas, sweet peas can bloom during winter and spring if planted in autumn. 

In colder regions, gardeners typically grow them as seeds in a greenhouse, subsequently moving them outdoors, where they produce flowers throughout the summer.

What kind of soil do sweet pea flowers prefer?

Sweet peas have a preference for well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Loamy soil with a pH level that’s slightly neutral or alkaline creates the perfect setting for them to thrive.

Before planting, adding compost or well-rotted manure to the soil can boost its fertility and supply the essential nutrients needed for healthy growth.

When is the best time to plant sweet pea flower seeds?

The best time to sow sweet pea seeds depends on climate and location. 

In colder regions, its advisable to plant the seeds during early spring as soon as the soil can be worked.

For areas with milder climates, planting them in fall can be a wise choice to take advantage of cooler temperatures for earlier blossoms in the following year.

What do sweet pea flowers mean?

What do sweet pea flowers mean

In the language of flowers, sweet pea flowers symbolize blissful pleasure. 

The clusters of flowers also represent friendship, kindness, goodbyes, and well-wishes. They are also believed to be the perfect flowers to show gratitude.

Sweet pea is also the official birth flower for the month of April.

What do the colors of sweet pea flowers mean?



White sweet pea flowers symbolize purity and innocence. They are also often associated with gratitude, calmness, and devotion.

Recommended use: These flowers are perfect for wedding bouquets and decorations.



Red sweet pea flowers represent love, passion, desire, and romance. They also symbolize courage and strength.

Recommended use: Red sweet peas are ideal gifts to your spouse or girlfriends on dates or special occasions like Valentine’s Day or anniversaries.



Pink sweet pea flowers symbolize beauty, youth, happiness, and gracefulness. They also represent gratitude, admiration, and love.

Recommended use: Pink sweet peas make excellent gifts for first dates. They’re also meaningful gifts for whenever you want to express your gratitude or admiration to someone.



Purple sweet pea flowers symbolize admiration, respect, and pride. They have also long been associated with luxury, royalty, elegance, and success.

Recommended use: Purple sweet peas are perfect gifts for celebratory events like promotions or graduations.



Blue sweet pea flowers represent desire, uniqueness, and calmness.

Recommended use: Gifting a bouquet of blue sweet peas is a great gesture to show someone that you love and accept them for who they are.



Orange sweet pea flowers symbolize enthusiasm, energy, excitement, and warmth.

Recommended use: These are perfect to congratulate someone for a job well done or express how proud you are of them.



Yellow sweet pea flowers symbolize warmth, happiness, and friendship.

Recommended use: These flowers are a great way to express how much you appreciate a friend.

What did sweet pea flowers symbolize in various historical periods?

What did sweet pea flowers symbolize in various historical periods
Historical PeriodSymbolism and Significance
Ancient GreeceIn Greek mythology, sweet peas were associated with Zeus and his mistress, Io. She was a princess of Argus and the first priestess of Here, Zeus’ wife.

It was said that the god of the sky gave Io a bunch of sweet peas as a sign of his love for her.

Victorian EraIn the Victorian Era, sweet pea flowers symbolized blissful pleasure. They were a popular choice for weddings and large gatherings of the nobles.

What are the cultural associations of sweet pea flowers?

What are the cultural associations of sweet pea flowers
CountrySignificance and Symbolism
United StatesIn the United States, sweet pea flowers symbolize good luck and happiness. They are often given as gifts on special occasions such as birthdays and weddings.
MexicoIn Mexico, the sweet pea flower is recognized as a symbol of death.

It’s said that the presence of a sweet pea in a funeral procession signifies that the person who passed away held a special place in the hearts of their family.

Sweet peas are also often planted on graves as a heartfelt gesture to honor their memory.

GreeceIn Greece, sweet pea flowers symbolize innocence. These blooms are often given to children who are considered to be pure and innocent.

Sweet pea flowers are associated with motherhood, which makes them common in bridal arrangements.

FranceIn France, sweet pea flowers are traditionally given to brides on their special day as a way to ward off ill wishes and negativity.

They also serve as a protection of her innocence and as a way to wish her good luck.

ChinaIn China, sweet pea flowers symbolize love and affection. They are often exchanged as tokens of love, especially on special occasions like Valentine's Day.

Sweet peas are also thought to bring fortune to relationships, so they're often given to engaged couples or those who recently had a baby.

JapanIn Japan, the sweet pea flower is seen as a symbol of good luck and prosperity.

This flower is believed to bring success and fortune, which makes it a popular choice for gifting in business ventures.

IndiaIn India, sweet peas are given as gifts to celebrate the birth of a child. These flowers are believed to bring happiness and good luck to the baby.

In traditional Hindu weddings, sweet pea flowers are seen as a symbol of marital bliss.

What are the uses of sweet pea flowers?

What are the uses of sweet pea flowers

Sweet peas aren’t just for bouquets and flower arrangements; they can also be used in medicine, gardening, and landscaping.

Can sweet pea flowers be used for medicinal purposes?

Can sweet pea flowers be used for medicinal purposes

Sweet pea extracts have been used in traditional medicine for centuries since they are believed to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. 

However, sweet peas contain toxins that are toxic to humans and animals. So, it’s best to avoid using them without the proper guidance of a healthcare professional.

How can sweet pea flowers be used in gardening and landscaping?

How can sweet pea flowers be used in gardening and landscaping
  1. Pollinator Attraction: The sweet fragrance and vibrant colors of sweet peas are a magnet for pollinators like bees and butterflies. 

Planting them in your garden can help increase pollination, which is essential for the growth of many other plants.

  1. Companion Planting: Sweet peas are known for their nitrogen-fixing ability. They establish a beneficial partnership with certain soil bacteria that enables them to convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form that is usable by plants. 

As a result, sweet peas help improve the soil’s nitrogen content. They can be used as companion plants for neighboring vegetables and other plants that benefit from increased nitrogen. 

This practice is especially advantageous for crops like tomatoes, peppers, and leafy greens, which rely on ample nitrogen for the best growth.

  1. Vertical Gardening: Sweet peas are natural climbers, which makes them excellent for adding vertical interest to your garden. 

Their tendrils make it effortless for them to ascend trellises, fences, and walls to create an enchanting display of vibrant blooms at various heights.

  1. Ground Cover: Although sweet peas are known for their climbing habit, some low-growing varieties can be used as ground cover to add a carpet of colorful blooms to your garden.
  1. Cottage Garden Charm: Sweet peas are a classic choice for cottage-style gardens, where their whimsical appearance and romantic ambiance fit right in.

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