Sweet Pea Varieties
I now have two old-fashioned
sweet pea varieties, Cupani and Black Knight. Cupani is the oldest
varieties known and was
"discovered" by Sicilian monk Francesco Cupani,
who sent these seeds to England in 1699. Its
seed was already being sold commercially by 1724,
and this classic cottage garden plant has been a
British favorite ever since. Cupani has
smaller flowers than modern varieties but a much
stronger and sweeter scent. Since the flower is
self-pollinating, the color and scent is put out
by the plant for the sheer aesthetic pleasure of
doing so. The flower of this magick herb can
be used to help in finding friendship or to
protect children. Cupani sweet pea is supposed to bring
good luck and in the language of flowers
represents delicate pleasures or goodbyes. This
plant is good for representing chastity. Black Knight sweet peas are actually a dark maroon
color, know as "black" to the Victorians. "Oxblood"
is another name for this color. This breed of sweet peas was developed
in 1898 and is quite fragrant.
of planetary influence, this plant has several.
Moon-like in its
coolness, love of dampness, and the sweet,
virginal scent of its flowers; likewise, the
flower essence has been used for promoting
restful, restorative sleep, a Moon activity.
I have seen some info linking this plant
Mars, but I do not see
why that should be so. Because it is a
wandering vine with fine tendrils, it also has
Mercury influence, and
that is also borne out in
flower essence, which is
said to be helpful for those who are constantly
wandering in search of their place in the world.
This is one of the few scented flowers that does
not produce an essential oil we have learned how
to capture, so enjoy its sweet, innocent scent
"live." You can gather cut flowers from it in the
early morning and put them in water immediately.
Sweet peas like cool weather and can stand light
How to grow
it. Nick the seedcoat at the
point farthest away from the "eye" or file that
spot with a nail file to remove a small bit of the
coat. Then soak them for 24 hours in room
temperature water before planting. Don't
plant floaters. Plant 1/4" deep and grow at
70F/21C to germinate in 10-20 days. Some people plant
them directly outside 2"5cm deep to germinate in 30
days. You can put them together in a pot to
get a bushier pot plant. After hardening off,
transplant to morning sun and afternoon shade in
rich soil with something sturdy for them to climb
on. You can use a pea fence or even a decent sized
tomato cage, since this vine gets only 5ftj/1.5m long.
You can also try letting it trail from a hanging
pot. Fertilize regularly and deadhead (pick off
fading blooms) to get more flowers. Check
the undersides of leaves regularly for aphids (use
Safer spray if you find them) and check pots for
slugs. It the plant begins to develop pods, it
will give up flowering. You can save the
peas produced for replanting this annual next
year, but don't eat them--they are poisonous.
Lathyrus odoratus 'Cupani'
Sweet Pea Cupani
Lathyrus odoratus 'Black Knight'
Witchcraft & Magic:
Protection Spells, esp. of children
Cottage Garden Plant
2007, 2019 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without