© RHS/Tim Sandall


Perennial peas

Botanical name: Lathyrus

Perennial or everlasting peas lack the fragrance of the annual form, but share the same colourful flowers and return each year, dying back below ground in winter. Use climbing types on fences, through shrubs or hedges or on a bank. Short-growing types blend with other perennials in the borders.


Upright or trailing plants carry romantic sprays of pea-like white, yellow-orange, pink, red, blue or purple flowers (some combining two colours) mainly in summer. The clump forming, short-growing Lathyrus vernus flowers in spring.


Grow Lathyrus in any soil that drains easily in full sun or partial shade. Climbing types need somewhere to sprawl such as over a bank or a hedge.


Perennial peas won’t do so well in excessively dry or waterlogged soil. Expect poor flowering in deep shade.

Did you know?

Lathyrus latifolius, native to southern Europe, has ‘escaped’ from gardens and is sometimes seen with its mass of vivid pink flowers in hedgerows and on patches of waste ground and cliffs around the UK.

Growing guide

Perennial peas we recommend

Useful advice

Perennials: planting

Perennials: planting



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