Sweet Peas: A Floral Emblem of Sentiment and Connection

“Hey, sweet pea” is an expression we’ve all grown up hearing. But few of us have actually spent time thinking about where this phrase actually came from. And, as with many names and endearments, the answer is a flower. The sweet pea is one of the most quaint and darling of the blossoms, and it deserves full recognition. Here we’ll take you through everything you need to know about sweet pea flower meaning and symbolism in the language of flowers.

Ultimate Guide to Sweet Pea Flower Meaning, Symbolism, Types, and Uses

Sweet Pea Flower Symbolism – Key Takeaways

In the language of flowers, the sweet pea holds the symbolic meaning of blissful pleasure. Its upright, clumping flower clusters symbolize good wishes, friendship, kindness, and goodbyes. Many believe these blooms leave a positive sentiment and a thoughtful way to say thank you as they further symbolize gratitude. Sweet peas are also the official birth flower for April.

Etymological Meaning

A single pink flowering sweet pea flower

The sweet pea plant’s taxonomic name derives from the Greek word “Lathyros,” which directly translates to pea or pulse, and the Latin word “odoratus,” meaning fragrant. The latter is due to its strong scent when in bloom, which is one of the most powerful among flowers. Note that Lathyrus odoratus is spelled a little differently from its root Greek word.

Sweet Pea Flower Meaning & Symbolism

A collection of white, yellowm and pink blooming sweet pea flowers

Sweet peas, which are the April birth flower, are a symbol of blissful pleasure primarily because of their vibrant colors. In the language of flowers, the lovely blooms are a thoughtful way to say thank you as they further symbolize gratitude. 

People have developed the language of flowers over centuries – millennia, even. Red is often associated with romance, though also with courage and strength. Purple means royalty, while blue creates relaxation and pink is playful. 

Common Sweet Pea Flower Colors

Sweetpea is available in almost any flower color of the floral rainbow. That includes:

… and more. One color that isn’t available is yellow. The yellow sweet pea shares the fate of the blue rose. It still eludes cultivators to this day.

Some florists address the problem by dying flowers. This process involves watering neutral-colored plants, like white or ivory, with a yellow solution. The plants pull the solution up through their stems, and it enters the bloom, coloring it.

The Cultural Significance of Sweet Pea Flowers

A vase of fresh cut sweet pea flowers

Sweet Pea Flowers in the Victorian Era

According to legend, that same Sicilian monk sent the Mediterranean-born sweet pea to England shortly after finding it. Sweet peas have played a starring role in English botany ever since, especially during Henry Eckford’s late Victorian era and the classical period of floriography.

Sweet Pea Flowers in French Culture

In France, sweet peas have a long-held association with brides. Giving her sweet peas is meant to symbolize good luck on her wedding day and in her marriage.

Suitable Gifting Occasions

One can give sweet peas all the time. Popular occasions include a birthday flower in April, gestures of friendship, and farewell messages. 

Sweet peas complement other flowers well. Their upright growth habit also makes them a good cut flower for bouquets. You can put them in vases and bouquets, as well as more elaborate arrangements.

Sweet Pea: The Best New Blossom in Your Life

While this flowering plant isn’t as widely used for food and drink as some flowers, it’s an incredibly versatile flower for arrangements and bouquets thanks to its rich meaning and symbolism in the language of flowers.

Contributing Editor | madison@petalrepublic.com | Full Bio

Madison is a writer and editor with a Bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science. She writes and photographs for various online and print publications in the gardening sphere and is the author of the book The Next-Generation Gardener.

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