Sweet Pea Flower – Meaning, Symbolism and Colors

A flower that offers blissful pleasure and express appreciation is Sweet pea flower. This beauty was so well known through the Victorian age but kept its glory in the following ages too.

Even though it is beautiful and takes breaths away, make sure to keep it from your mouth, as Sweet pea contains a neurotoxin. This beautiful flower that will make every bouquet delicate and add a note of sweetness and intensify color, just as its name suggests, but you can make a bouquet of Sweet peas only, too.

What Is The Meaning Of Sweet Pea Flower?

Henry Eckford was the one who promoted Sweet pea and made this flower famous. He actually developed it to the form we know today, so we are thankful to Henry for this so much. Yet, Sweet pea has a history even before that. Sicilian monk, Franciscus Cupani had some seeds of this plant, but they have little resemblance to Sweet pea as we know it today and sent them to England.

These Sweet peas from the 1690s were originally dark blue with a purple hood. Henry crossbred the original flower and created ornamental and sweetly fragranced flower we know today.

The two main meanings of Sweet Pea are:

• Blissful pleasure,
• Farewell
• Thank you,
• Adieu.

Sweet pea signifies blissful pleasure, as you can feel the outflow of mild, positive, kind, and delightful energy by just looking at it. This magnificent flower is a great gift for anyone whom you want to send a message of how life is beautiful, optimistic, that people should be kind, respect and love each other.

Still, if you are saying farewell to someone, Sweet pea will help you do the right thing. Saying goodbye for some time is not the end of time, especially if it is for the good. Say goodbye to someone you love with a bouquet of Sweet pea. This flower will bring in hope that you two will get back again in some time, that the distance is no threat to your contact, and that you love that person so much.

However, as some people are simply not meant to be in our lives anymore, but we want to say farewell in a polite and kind way, Sweet pea is also the perfect option here.

Saying goodbye doesn’t have to be hurtful to any side, none of you should be left with a bitter taste in your mouth, so make sure to make the eventual separations as genial as possible. Thank them for everything they gave to you and continue your ways separately, but make the things as smooth as possible.

The Etymology of Sweet Pea

As we already mentioned, the Scottish – Henry Eckfort, nurseryman, is the one to blame for the existence of one of the sweetest flower species in the world. Henry actually crossbred and developed the flower from the family of Lathyrus, so that it has one of the sweetest smell and fragrance among the flowers.

The Greek word “Lathyrus” means pea, while “odoratus” is a Latin word that means fragrance or smell. The flower got the name right after the strong, but sweetish fragrance and its adorable color – reminding you of cotton candies.

The Symbolism of Sweet Pea

People believe Keats (poet) was the first one to give the exact name Sweet pea to this flower. This famous poet lives in the time (1795-1821) when his contemporaries used the floral emblems a lot. They used Sweet pea in their floral arrangements because of its beautiful appearance and sweet smell. Keats noticed people use the flower at their weddings (especially the higher class) or other receptions and celebrations, dinner parties, etc, so that Sweet pea completed every occasion.

Victorians used Sweet pea for their decorations as this flower’s main symbolism says “goodbye and thank you for the lovely time” so that people who came over to celebrate always leave with good memories, positive energy, good vibrations, and appreciation.

Sweet pea symbolizes positive energy, pure heart, thankfulness, and sweetness. English gardeners appreciated Sweet pea so much they called it the “Queen of Annuals”.

The French believe that if the bride has a bouquet of Sweet peas or her room is decorated with it, the flower will make everybody tell her the truth and save her from any temptations or evils so that the bride will stay persistent even though she might face bad comments.

Legend says that if you sow Sweet pea seeds before sunrise on St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th will give you bigger and more fragrant flowers. Others say you should plant them between March 1st and 2nd, which are days considered as the Feasts of Saints David and Chad, while it would be good to sow Sweet pea on March 21st, as this is the feast of Saint Benedict.

Sweet Pea – Color and Meaning

Sweet pea comes in many colors, but the most popular and the most impressive are white, pink, red, and purple flowers. This flower brings in bright colors to any arrangement, so if you want to lighten up space and decorate it delicately – Sweet pea is the right option. Still, even though Sweet pea is available in a lot of colors, you will not find it in yellow.

White or cream Sweet pea (Royal Wedding, White Supreme, Cream Southourne) symbolizes calmness, innocence, and gratitude, so you can gift it to someone towards whom you feel gratitude for being there for you or if that person helped you with something that matters to you truly.

Pink Sweet pea (Watermelon, Renaissance) represents youth, joy, beauty, love, delicacy, and youth. This is the Sweet pea color that is mostly used in wedding bouquets and in wedding decorations, as it is not eccentric or too showy, but it is still adorable and soft.

As we all know red symbolizes love, desire, passion, strong emotions, and courage, Sweet pea in this color (Restormel) leaves a striking message. If you are visiting someone you grew emotions for, and that person invites you for a dinner, then go for a bouquet decorated with red Sweet peas. It will say that you have a good time being with that person and say thank you, we will meet again.

Purple Sweet pea flowers will tell someone that you feel respect and admiration towards that person, so if you met someone who is successful and whose traits knocked you off, then this flower will say it in a polite and deep way. Blue Celeste is Sweet pea with pastel blue blooms, while Electric Blue gives azure-blue blooms, but it is not fragrant. Chelsea Centenary is pale-lavender colored, while Erewhon is deep purple, with almost black lower petals.

Sweet pea comes as a multicolored flower, too. For example, there is Painted Lady (white and pinkish red, Cheri Amour (rose, lavender, and pink), Jewels of Albion (lavender, blue, and cream flowers), and Queen of Heart (burgundy, red, and cream colored flowers).
Botanical Characteristics of Sweet Pea

Sweet pea is climbing and annual plant, which means it dies at the end of the season and you should replant it afterward. It grows up to 6 feet in height, as it likes climbing, but it might also need some support in growth or direction to where you want it to be. Sweet pea’s leaves are spiral, so they adjust to the direction easily, while you get beautiful flowers on top. This further means that you can easily grow Sweet pea in your garden – it looks great, smells even better, blooms every year, and it is easy to grow and maintain – as this is a cultivated plant.

Still, the plant still needs proper care in order to blossom and give you those pink and purple flowers each year. This means you should provide it with good conditions when it comes to height especially. Further, Sweet pea requires good drainage so it gets enough water, make sure the soil is rich, and you should place it in a sunny place. Soak the seeds in water overnight before you plant them in order to stimulate growth. Sweet pea doesn’t like to be deeply planted, so make sure you don’t go further than 1 inch and leave them 3 to 4 inches apart. Once the plant grows and blossoms, remove the dead heads on occasion so the new ones grow better.

Sweet pea is a great flower for flower arrangements and decorates every place beautifully, giving it soft, touching, and elegant note.

It would be best to plant Sweet pea indoors firstly and then take them to a natural environment, as this will help the plant blossom to the fullest. Sweet pea prefers cool to prosper, so make sure to plant them in the late winter or early spring.

Sweet Pea – Fun Facts

Sweet pea is the first crossbreed species ever. Henry got a certificate for Sweet pea crossbreeding it back in 1882. Many botanists and geneticists tried to cross breed Sweet pea before Henry, even in the 17th century, but the flower remained elusive until the 19th century.

One of the cultivated Sweet pea species got its name after Dorothy, one of Henry’s family members. Other varieties include the lavender Lady Grisel Hamilton, the famous Countess Spencer, and the scarlet King Edward VII.

Everlasting species of Sweet pea are less fragrant than the crossbred ones.

Sweet pea seeds are easily confused with the edible green pea seeds, but the first one are toxic and inedible.

Native habitats of Sweet pea are Sicily, Southern Italy, and the Aegean Islands.

Sweet pea has the shape that will remind you of a butterfly.

It is interesting how sweet pea smells differently through the day, while its age also affects the fragrance, or how rainy it is and if it receives optimal temperature.


Every month of the year relates to a flower, so Sweet pea is related to spring season – April and May. If some members of your family or some of your friends have birthdays in April or celebrate something important, bring them a bouquet of Sweet pea flowers, or use them as decoration to express appreciation, thankfulness, and support. Soft pastel colors and sweet fragrance of Sweet pea will leave everybody enchanted.

This was the story of a flower than was obscure, but Henry Eckford turned it into a beloved staple in many gardens.