Francis Cupani, a Franciscan monk, first sent seed of the purple-flowered species of Sweet Pea to England from Sicily in 1699. Painted Lady Sweet Pea is a highly scented, pink and white bicolor variety, which was in cultivation by the 1730's and popular in American gardens through the 19th century. In 1811 Thomas Jefferson planted "Lathyrus odoratus. Sweet scented pea" in an oval flower bed at Monticello. This spring-blooming vine prefers cool weather.
Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last spring frost at 70 degrees F. Before sowing, scarify and pre-soak seeds for 24 hours. Transplant to individual pots, then harden off and plant outdoors after the last frost. Provide a support structure. Approximately 10-12 seeds per packet.
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