Lathyrus latifolius
Common Name: perennial pea
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Fabaceae
Native Range: Southern Europe
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 6.00 to 9.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to September
Bloom Description: Pink to white
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Drought

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates some light shade. Also tolerates some drought. Best performance occurs in cool, fertile, humusy soils in cool summer climates with good air circulation. Provide even moisture and regular fertilizer throughout the growing season. Avoid overhead watering to the extent possible. Plants spread by rhizomes and will easily self-seed to the point of being somewhat weedy and invasive.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Lathyrus latifolius, commonly called everlasting pea, is a rhizomatous herbaceous long-lived perennial with trailing or climbing stems that produces attractive rose to white pea-like flowers over a long summer bloom. Although native to the Mediterranean (southern Europe and Northern Africa), everlasting pea has been cultivated in North America since the early 1700s, and has over time escaped gardens and widely naturalized throughout much of the United States and Canada (typically along roadsides, fencerows, waste areas, railroad right-of-ways and fields). It is now considered to be invasive in some areas. Broadly-winged plant stems clad with oval, medium green, 3-inch leaflets in pairs will ramble indefinitely along the ground (foliage to 4-8" tall) or climb by tendrils up nearby vegetation or support structures to 6-9' tall. Showy flowers (each to 1" across) in colors of rose, pink-purple or white bloom early summer to fall in racemes of 6-11 flowers. Flowers are not fragrant. Flowers give way to flattened, pea-like seed pods. Both pods and seeds are toxic if ingested. Additional common names for this species include perennial pea and wild sweet pea.

Genus name comes from the Greek word lathyros for pea or pulse.

Specific epithet means broad-leaved.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems Slugs and snails are attracted to young plants. Additional potential pests include aphids, pea moth and mites. Potential diseases include powdery mildew, gray mold, rust, black root rot and leaf spot.

Garden Uses

Plants will sprawl along the ground or twine onto support structures. Borders or cottage gardens. Ground cover for slopes and embankments. Trail over rocky areas. Climb on walls or fences. Containers.