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Happy Wanderer, Hardenbergia


The common name for the native climber Hardenbergia is happy wanderer and that’s an apt title as they flower in mid-winter with sprays of delicate-looking but long-lasting pea-shaped flowers.  


Plant name

Hardenbergia violacea 'Happy Wanderer' or ‘False Sarsparilla’ or ‘Purple Coral Pea’

Superb pea-shaped flowers make this slender climber good as a groundcover, for fences, pillars and lovely in pots (with bamboo stakes for support). Hardenbergia attracts birds and butterflies, will grow in light to medium shade but will handle full sun. Flowers form on long racemes and bear a tiny green spot on each of the petals. 


Photo - Libby Cameron


Great plants for garden beds, banks and retaining walls, mass plantings, rock gardens, bush gardens and containers. We like growing the purple intermingled with the white. Colours are in traditionally in purple and lilac shades (pictured here is Hardenbergia ‘Purple Spray’) though new cultivars in pink and white are now on the market. Hardenbergia is best used as either a groundcover or fence screen, grown along horizontal wires.



Variable habit from trailing groundcover, small shrub to climbing plan with narrow green leaves and masses of pea-shaped flowers in late winter to spring.


Photo - Libby Cameron



Can reach 3m across the ground, or along a fence, 2m up a trellis. 


Full sun to semi-shade location in free draining soil or native potting mix in pots. Plant in a semi protected spot to avoid frost damage as some varieties are mildly susceptible. Give a native controlled release fertiliser in spring. 


Photo -


We like

'Bushy Blue' is an erect form with rich purple flowers, 75cm tall and wide. This selection arose in California, USA.

'Mini-Haha' has a dwarf, erect compact habit to 15cm with deep mauve flowers. This variety is not as long-lived as others.

‘Happy Wanderer’ is the most commonly grown variety of Hardenbergia, with masses of purple flowers on a 2m high and wide small bush.

‘Meema’ from Ozbreed, is a long lived and long flowering variety that makes a good informal native hedge as it grows 50cm tall and 2m wide. ‘Meema’ is a robust plant that has very clean, compact foliage with a high frost tolerance. 

‘Alba’ pure white flowers on a bushy 1.5m high and wide plant with deep green foliage.

‘White Out' is a strong climbing form with snow white flowers and deep green leaves. Growing to 10cm high and 2.5m wide, perfect as a climber.

'Free N Easy' has soft mauve coloured flowers on a spreading plant reaching 10cm high and 2m wide.

‘Pink Spray’ is a shrubby variety that has masses of soft pink flowers with a contrasting light green dot on each petal. 80cm high and 1m wide. 


Text: Linda Ross

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Author: Linda Ross