Everlasting Sweet Pea, Perennial Sweet Pea, Spring Pea, Spring Vetchling, Spring Vetch, Spring Bitte

Lathyrus vernus

Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lathyrus (LAY-thy-russ) (Info)
Species: vernus (VER-nus) (Info)
Synonym:Orobus vernus
View this plant in a garden


Alpines and Rock Gardens


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Seed is poisonous if ingested

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

Scarify seed before sowing

Seed Collecting:

Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Baywood-los Osos, California

Wilmington, Delaware

Waukegan, Illinois

Winnetka, Illinois

Davenport, Iowa

Lakeville, Massachusetts

Eveleth, Minnesota

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Sparks, Nevada

Suffern, New York

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Georgetown, Texas

Fishersville, Virginia

Bellevue, Washington

Olympia, Washington

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Gardeners' Notes:


On May 21, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A beautiful, tough, easy, adaptable plant. Tolerates dry shade conditions once established. Blooms for over a month here, late March into May, which is a long time for a spring bloomer.

In the species, the flowers are purple/magenta aging to near blue. There are cultivars/seed strains in white, true pink and near blue.

This may go dormant in the hot summers of the southeastern US, but here in Massachusetts it looks good straight through fall. I plant it among hostas or ferns where it will survive happily in their shade.

I have not seen it self-sow here. Takes several years to bulk up and show its best. In one garden here it's the rabbits' favorite food.

Whoever established this entry confused this species with Lathyrus latifolius,... read more


On May 21, 2015, wetdogfarm from Eveleth, MN (Zone 3a) wrote:

I acquired a plant of L.v. alboroseus from Arrowhead Alpines. It has survived two winters here, I am zone 3b. One winter was deep snow, the other was not. So far so good. It is in part shade in a spot where the snow melts late.


On Mar 29, 2011, Shartin from Sharon, CT wrote:

I am growing the spring vetchling from seed - I only have 5 and I'm trying to figure out if I should sow outdoors now April 1, in my NW CT garden, or start it from seed indoors.


On Aug 9, 2008, plantaholic186 from Winnetka, IL wrote:

I must say, I must have the best L. vernus plants on the earth. They self seed and bloom in the second year. I have divided and transplanted them in the heat of August, and they don't even flag or drop leaves. My soil is predominantly clay, which means the top 5" or so dries up quickly, while below that the water might not drain for several days, and still the Lathyrus thrives! Next year I'll collect seeds and offer them here, since these plants are difficult to find in these parts.
Even though it blooms for only a couple of weeks, and is otherwise not spectacular, it is well worth trying.

Further comments: my Lathyrus is thriving in dry shade, wet shade, and full sun in wet and dry.

Warnings: It is a very prolific self-seeder, and the seedlings... read more


On Jul 29, 2008, emilybee from Los Osos, CA wrote:

A couple years back I planted what I thought were annual sweet peas but they have never died so I assume they're perennial. They have also never bloomed. Maybe perennial sweet peas take some time to get established before blooming. I have them in containers which hasn't hindered their growth but that could be why they haven't bloomed.


On May 14, 2008, altagardener from Calgary, AB (Zone 3b) wrote:

Lovely early spring bloomer, and hardy here in zone 3 (Calgary, Alberta, Canada).


On Apr 24, 2008, ntelya from Lakeville, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

Have attempted to grow twice - unsuccessfully. Didn't make it though the winters both times. Although it is frequently sold in this zone (4), not regularly hardy here.


On Mar 25, 2006, SW_gardener from (Zone 6a) wrote:

I bought this last summer and it was only a few leaves. A few of the leaves dired up due to dry soil, but it's sprouting up now and from what I can tell from the tiny shoots.....it's coming back well. I look forward to seeing it bloom!


On Mar 24, 2005, nevadagdn from Sparks, NV (Zone 7a) wrote:

This little plant is a charmer.


On Dec 9, 2004, Todd_Boland from St. John's, NL (Zone 5b) wrote:

What a great plant in mid-late spring. This little pea forms a bush to about 12-15" and is smothered in pink flowers. It does have a tendency to self-seed, so I promtly dead-head after the blooms have faded. It sprouts as soon as the snow melts but seems to be able to cope with spring frosts. I grow it in the rock garden, but in the wild, it often grows in lightly shaded woodlands, so could be used in such a location. Easy from seed but resents transplanting once established.