Sweet Pea Flower Meaning, Spiritual Symbolism, Color Meaning & More

The Sweet Pea flower is a household name and is seen in bouquets and gardens throughout the world. They are a classic flower that brings up images of wholesome classroom nurseries and sweet fairy cottage gardens. 

They are known for their beautiful pink, blue and purple hues, sweet and light floral scent, and for their soft, ruffled petals that resemble butterfly wings or dancers’ tutus. Read on to find out more about these gorgeous blooms, including facts about them and what they represent across different cultures. 

Sweet Pea Flower Meaning

Becoming increasingly possible in Britain during the Victorian era, the Sweet Pea became an overwhelming floral sensation due to its amazing light scent and its array of soft pastel colors. 

Known for its sweetness, the Sweet Pea represents light, childhood, virginity, and chastity. They are often reminiscent of simple lives, cottages, and rural natural beauty.

There are no negative associations with the Sweet Pea, they are beautiful and plentiful, easy for growing but not associated with commonality. Each Sweet Pea is unique and cherished, but they do look even better as a bouquet!

What Does The Sweet Pea Flower Mean?

The Sweet Pea has a number of different meanings which we’ll list below. 

  • Pleasure– The Sweet Pea blooms represent pleasure and enjoyment of nature. The mixture of their fragrant scent and delicate petals symbolize beauty and delight in the natural world. 
  • Greetings And Goodbyes– The Sweet Pea is also used as a goodwill gesture that represents having a good time. Flowers in general are a perfect gift for a loved one or a friend, but Sweet Peas are the perfect way of saying how much fun you had. 
  • Gratitude– The Sweet Pea is a symbol of loyalty and gratitude as well as being a symbol of long-lasting friendships. 
  • Good Omens– The Sweet Pea is used as a good luck charm for brides, and to symbolize positive omens for the coming life together.
  • Chastity– The Sweet Pea, as the name suggests, is a symbol of sweetness,  chastity, and purity. 
  • Truth– Folklore, and superstition suggest that the Sweet Pea had magical properties that could provide wisdom and truth. 
  • The phrase ‘Hey Sweet Pea’ is synonymous with lovers and family members alike, and represents true love and affection. 
  • There are no negative connotations with Sweet Peas, the clue is in the name! 
  • Joy And Celebration– The Sweet Pea is synonymous with goodwill and happy occasions. 

Etymological Meaning Of The Sweet Pea Flower

The scientific meaning of the Sweet pea flower is Lathyrus Odoratus. This translates directly as ‘fragrant and attractive’, the perfect description of the beautiful Sweet Pea!

They are a fragrant, sweet-smelling flower that was first discovered to be native to Sicily and the surrounding Mediterranean regions in the late 17th Century, on record at least. 

In the late 1800s,  they became a big deal for Victorian gardens and nurseries after famous Scottish gardener Henry Eckford began cultivating them widely in his nursery.  Many of the cultivations that he produced in the late 1800s are still in use today across the world. 

Many different popular types of Sweet Pea varieties vary from hue color, fragrance strength, and the way they grow. Some of these are better at tolerating cold climates whilst others are better at growing in heated climates. 

There are so many different varieties of Sweet Pea and they all carry adorable names such as Fire and Ice, Prima Ballerina, Strawberry Sundae, Apricot Sprite, and so many more! 

This wonderful selection of adorable names can be attributed to the mix of bright and light pastel hue and sweet fairy-like appearance that the Sweet Pea has in its many forms. 

They are part of the Fabaceae family and look strikingly similar to the Everlasting Pea flower of the same genus. The difference here is that the Sweet Pea is a perennial flower whereas the Everlasting Pea blooms all year round, as the name suggests. 

Sweet Peas are often grown for their sweet and floral scent which can travel far. The scent is often described as a light mixture of orange blossom, sweet honey, and floral jasmine- candy-like without being sickly sweet. 

Symbolism Of The Sweet Pea Flower

The Sweet Pea flower has many different meanings, but they commonly symbolize purity, innocence, and chastity. 

You’re likely to find Sweet Pea blooms in a quaint English garden, or a cute rural cottage across the globe, think Miss Honey’s cottage-core paradise in Matilda and you’ll know what we mean! These often symbolize friendship, kindness, and positivity as well as classic rural charm. 

Many believe that the Sweet Pea symbolizes a positive experience and they also symbolize gratitude making them the perfect flower to give as a thank you gift. 

Sweet Pea Flower Color Meanings

The Sweet Pea comes in a variety of colors, all of which tend to be both light and pastel or bright and vibrant, blending beautifully together. Listed below are the different colors Sweet Peas grow in and what their meanings are. 

  • Orange– Sweet Peas that are orange are used to symbolize excitement and exuberance. 
  • Red– Like many other red flowers, the red Sweet Pea is a universal symbol of love and passionate devotion. 
  • White– As with many other white-colored flowers, the Sweet Pea represents both purity, innocence and are commonly seen in wedding bouquets. They can also represent death and mourning, especially a combination of both, such as for a young person’s funeral. 
  • Pink- The most common Sweet Pea color is pink. They have been bred in a number of different combinations which have been named as such- Fire and Ice are deep magenta fading into white, Mollie Rilstone Sweet Peas are soft pastel pink, and the brighter magenta booms are called Gwendoline. 
  • Purple– Another common Sweet Pea color is purple. They represent loyalty and pride and are often used to represent house colors or for stately homes. The Cupani is a common violet bloom and the Matacana is a deeper crimson-colored Sweet Pea bloom. 
Sweet Pea Flower Meaning

Meaningful Botanical Characteristics Of The Sweet Pea Flower

  • Fragrance– The sweet scent of the Sweet Pea is one of its most attractive characteristics. 
  • Easy To Grow– These are flowers that will bloom back even more if you give them a good trimming every so often! This makes them the ideal flower to have in your garden if you love having freshly cut flowers to decorate your home all season long. 
  • Seasonal Flowers– These flowers will bloom all season long, and have a little trouble coming back the next year, even if you take care to prune your garden well during the winter. For that reason, Sweet Peas are called annuals, which means they will be planted, grow, blossom, and die within a single season. If you are looking for a Sweet Pea flower that blooms throughout the year, try planting the Everlasting Pea. 
  • Abundance Of Colors– Sweet Peas come in a large variety of colors, making them the perfect filler for bouquets or as a colorful centerpiece all by themselves. 
  • Easy To Grow– Sweet Peas are very easy to grow, and add a fabulous pop of color to your garden with minimal effort!
  • A Long History– Because it is so easy to cultivate, it has a long history in gardening and floral design. When you put Sweet Peas in your garden you are carrying on this tradition and they are a flower that is likely to remain popular forever due to their amazing color, distinct petal shape, and ease of use. 
  • Related To The Pea– The Sweet Pea flower may not be a crop pea, but it is closely related to the traditional garden pea and within the same genus. They are both a part of the Fabaceae family, as are lentils and other beans and pulses.
  • Toxic Properties– The Sweet Pea contains toxins and even though it used to be used as a food or medicine, it is dangerous for consumption to both humans and to animals. Dogs and cats especially should stay away from them. If one of your pets is very prone to nibbling on your flower displays or munching your garden, it’s best that you don’t have sweet peas in there as they can cause serious issues. If you know that your pet has consumed sweet peas it’s best to err on the side of caution and take them immediately to the vets and induce vomiting as soon as you can. Children would have to eat a lot of seeds and stems in order to have an adverse reaction to Sweet Peas but ultimately they can be poisonous. Symptoms of which include convulsions, paralysis, and difficulty breathing. Be sure to visit the hospital if you know a child has consumed large quantities of Sweet Peas. 
  • Good For Getting Rid Of Flies– The Sweet Pea might smell amazing to us, but flies really don’t like it. If you find that you’re just getting too many flies in your garden,  perhaps the humble Sweet Pea could do the trick to clear them out. 
  • Good For The Bees–  Whilst not amazing particularly for pollinating,  the Sweet Pea is  a very bright color which tends to attract bees. Plant your Sweet Peas amongst other pollinating flowers, especially under large amounts of shade, and you’ll be helping out your bee brethren.

Special Occasions For The Sweet Pea Flowers

Given their bright and beautiful colors, Sweet Peas are often used in bridal bouquets and are especially popular amongst younger brides. 

They are also considered ‘grandmother’ flowers as well, and are often used for funerals, welcomes or as gifts on grandmothers or mothers day. They are traditionally feminine flowers and their bright pastel colors are a popular favorite amongst many who embrace femininity. 

The Sweet Pea is also the birth flower of those born in the month of April, making them an extra special gift for April birthdays!

Sweet Pea Flower Cultural Significance

Since their Discovery In Sicily according to legend in the 17th century,  they have had a long and fortuitous  impact on the English  and European botany world.

The famed Victorian nursery cultivator Henry Eckford was especially fond of the Sweet Pea flower and for most of the late 1800s and beyond, they were a popular addition to any British garden. 

The Sweet Pea was often used as a symbol of virginity and purity for brides, especially in France. Giving a bride Sweet Peas on their wedding day is a sign of luck and good fortune for her coming marriage. They are still considered a wonderful and symbolic addition to a wedding bouquet. 

Sweet Pea Flower Facts

  • Different seasonality depending on the climate and species- If planted in the fall, the Sweet Pea will blossom during the winter and spring in warm climates. In colder climes, the Sweet Pea will bloom in the summertime, provided the seeds are started as seeds in a greenhouse over the spring season.
  • Latin name- The scientific name for Sweet Peas is Lathyrus Odoratus.
  • Climbing plants-  This plant naturally loves climbing, making them fantastic if you want to have them in a trellis in your garden. With additional support, they can reach up to 8 feet in length!
  • Mound forming plants- If you grow them in a bush they can grow up to 1 to 2 ft per clump.

Sweet Pea Flower Uses

The sweet doesn’t necessarily have any particular uses other than to look pretty!  It’s a strong smelling flower which makes it great for adding fragrance to your garden. The smell is also not particularly liked by flies, making a good flower to plant if you plan on having a large outdoor event and you want to avoid those pesky flies. 

The Sweet Pea used to be used as medicine but this is definitely not something that is encouraged in modern times, as much of the Sweet Pea is actually toxic to both humans and animals. 

Any medical use that is related to the sweet pea it’s pretty unsubstantiated at this point and whilst seeds are still sometimes used in unleavened Indian bread there are still some serious safety concerns so it is not recommended for human consumption. 

Sweet Pea Flower Meaning

What Is The Symbolism Of A Sweet Pea Flower Tattoo?

Due to the Sweet Pea’s meaning,  a Sweet Pea flower tattoo usually has associations with those who have died as a symbol of remembrance. This is especially true for female friendships, grandparents, and mothers as remembrance tattoos. 

They are also a symbol of growth and healing as most flower blooms are,  and they’re also just a symbol of femininity, sweetness, and pleasure.

Sweet Peas can potentially have a negative meaning as they can sometimes be used to symbolize naivety, but it’s mostly used as a flower that celebrates playfulness and innocence. 

Final Thoughts

The Sweet Pea is a fantastic flower to give on any occasion. Some flowers have dual meanings but the Sweet Pea is not one of them. You can give them safe in the knowledge that they don’t have any hidden mean symbolism.

The Sweet Pea represents romance, kind-heartedness, thankfulness, and purity. Hopefully, you have a better understanding of these lovely flowers, how to spot them, and the best occasions to give them to someone you love.

Gloria White

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