Give a great splash of colour to your garden

Give a great splash of colour to your garden

By Lidia Boque Gousgouni
03 Oct 2017

If you’ve been driving in the countryside recently you may have spotted patches of purple in the bush.  These patches of purple are a hardy, evergreen climbing plant called Hardenbergia violacea. Commonly known as False Sarsaparila or Purple Coral Pea these plants are a delightful and colourful Australian native plant.  This plant is widespread - occurring in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.  It grows from coastal areas to forests and woodlands and is as happy as can be in Albury Wodonga.  It was named for Franziska, Countess of Hardenberg.


There are quite a few varieties which include;

‘Mini Haha’ – this is a compact version which also has purple flowers.

‘Alba’ – this is a white flowering form.

‘Bushy Blue’ – a more shrubby form with blue/purple flowers

‘Blushing Princess’ – shrubby with mauve/pink flowers.

‘Rosea’ – a pink flowering form.

‘Purple Falls’ – a trailing form with purple flowers.  Great for rockeries.


When choosing a spot for this plant look for a position in full sun, it will grow with a bit of shade but it prefers a sunny location.  The soil needs to be well-drained and if it has something to climb or spillover that’s perfect.

This plant flowers during winter and spring and can add a great splash of colour to a dreary winter garden.  This plant does have a habit of getting leggy, be prepared to prune regularly to keep it bushy, but make sure you only prune after flowering.  Be wary about how much water you give this plant – it grows quite happily in the scrub with no maintenance or care, so planted in a garden with regular water is not what it wants.  It will respond to too much water by looking half dead, the lower leaves will die and brown off – if you see this then you need to back off with the watering.


Propagation is easy.  Seed is simple to grow once you’ve treated it.  Hardenbergia has a physical dormancy (a hard seed coat) which needs to be dealt with before the plant can grow.  Soaking the seed in hot water for a few hours will do the trick.  This plant also grows well from cuttings – take cuttings from a firm material, late summer is a perfect time for this though cuttings taken at other times of the year will also be ok.  These plants don’t transplant well so leave the ones growing naturally in the bush alone.


Winter flowering plants are gems, this climbing Australian native with a mass of pea-shaped flowers is one of the best, and I can recommend it for most styles of garden.



Friends of the Botanic Gardens in Albury are holding plant sales each Tuesday and Thursday mornings 9.30am – 12noon. The sales are held near the curator’s house in the gardens.


A patch of purple on the side of a road in Jindera, Hardenbergia putting on a show!