Lathyrus is a genus of 150 species of annuals and perennials, including the beloved sweet pea ( L. odoratus ). The flowers are pea-like, often sweetly scented, and come in many colors, from white to near black. Many species climb with tendrils. Grow on a trellis, through shrubs, on a bank, or in a rock garden, woodland garden, or border.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsShowy, pea-like flowers that are often fragrant. Seeds are mildly toxic.
CareSite in full sun or light shade in fertile, organically rich, well-drained soil. Provide support if necessary and deadhead regularly.
PropagationBefore sowing, soak seeds in water and then plant in a cold frame in early spring, or sow annual seed in the garden in mid-spring. Divide perennials in early spring.
ProblemsPythium root rot, powdery mildew, rust, gray mold, and various leaf spots are common. Slugs and snails may prey on new growth.