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Herbaceous Perennial

Lathyrus vernus 'Little Elf'

spring pea 'Little Elf'

'Little Elf' is a compact, clump-forming perennial to 20cm tall with dark green leaves divided into oval or lance-shaped leaflets. Small, rounded, pea-like flowers with pink standards and white keels are borne on short, wiry stems in spring

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Size
Ultimate height
0.1–0.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Pink White Green
Summer Green
Autumn Green
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H5
Botanical details
Family
Fabaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Clump forming
Potentially harmful
Acute ingestion may cause mild stomach upset. Wear gloves and wash hands after handling
Genus

Lathyrus can be annuals or herbaceous or evergreen perennials, mostly climbing, with pinnate leaves ending in a tendril, and showy pea-like flowers, fragrant in some species

Name status

Accepted

How to grow

Cultivation

Best grown in fertile, humus-rich, well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade. See sweetpea cultivation for further information.

Propagation

Propagate by division in early spring

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Gravel garden
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Rock garden
  • Flower borders and beds
  • Underplanting of roses and shrubs
Pruning

Deadhead regularly then cut stems down to the ground in autumn

Pests

May be attacked by aphids, slugs, snails and thrips

Diseases

May be affected by powdery mildews, Fusarium wilt and sweet pea viruses

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