Andreana Bitsis

Ask Ella: Sweet Peas Are an Age-Old “Scent” Tradition

The pink, purple, and white hues that color even the most common sweet pea blossoms are a beautiful sight to behold: at once fragile and winsome, sweet pea flowers have become synonymous with elegance and grace since their cultivation in Sicily almost 300 years ago.

The Sweet Pea was a popular plant in the late-Victorian period, where it was coveted for its diversity of color and fragrance. The best time to gather sweet pea flowers is in the morning when they are covered in dew– this will enhance their scent. Be sure to gather flowers only once the blossoms have matured (otherwise the plant will develop premature side-growths). Picking the blossoms often will encourage the plant to put more energy into blooms rather than seed, which in turn encourages the development of more flowers– a win-win scenario for the gardener and for the plant.

Ask Ella Sweet Pea

Andreana Bitsis

Because of their weak stems and hearty orange-jasmine-honey scent, sweet pea have been hybridized to encourage stronger stalks and larger blooms, though this tends to decrease the strength of a flower’s smell overtime. Still, if you’re looking a bloom with a beautiful scent, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option than the lowly, lovely sweet pea– there’s a reason why “sweet pea” is a common fragrance for soap and perfume, after all.

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