General Planting and Care
Hardenbergia violacea, purple coral pea or false sarsaparilla, is a climbing or prostrate plant found in many parts of Australia.
A number of varieties have been developed for gardens including Flat WhiteTM and Carpet RoyaleTM, both in white and mauve. These are fast growing, low maintenance, heavy flowering, shallow rooted plants with long trailing stems forming a dense mat. Unlike most other varieties of Hardenbergia these can be used in a variety of positions in the garden as they do not climb.
A full sun to part shade position is preferred.
These plants will grow in a variety of soil types including light clay or sand, however these cultivars grow best in an enriched, well-drained acid soil on a raised bed with a pH of 5.5 to 6.0.
They posses a low frost tolerance when young and can sustain significant leaf damage, but will become hardier with age.
It is NOT recommended that Herenbergia violate be transplanted once established.
Avoid wetting the foliage to minimise fungal problems. Monitor watering levels in the first season after planting, and during the warmer months of the year, to maintain adequate soil moisture.
Fertilise with a general purpose 3 to 4 month slow release fertiliser in spring and autumn. Supplementary applications of a complete liquid fertiliser at 2 to 3 week intervals will assist with plant health and vigour.
A liquid feed of magnesium sulphate (Epsom salts) and iron chelates in April will also assist in maintaining strong vigour prior to flowering, especially in sandy soils.
After planting, we recommend mulching to a depth of 50mm to conserve soil moisture and to assist with plant health.
Heavy pruning (up to 2/3rds of the plant) after flowering will increase vigour and create a bushier plant with improved flowering in the following season.
Pests and Diseases
Hardenbergia violacea are susceptible to powdery mildew during cool, moist weather and should be monitored. Treat with an appropriate organic fungicide if necessary.
Fungal problems can be minimised by avoiding foliage wetting during irrigation, and by periodically removing dead leaves to improve air circulation.
Monitoring of plants for evidence of leaf damage should be carried out to avoid major pest infestations such as lead chewing caterpillars. Scale insects and mealy big can also become a problem in crowded situations.