Guide to the Happy Wanderer Plant (Hardenbergia Violacea)

Hardenbergia violacea is a beautiful evergreen climber that originates from Australia. The plant has many common names, including happy wanderer, purple coral pea, and lilac vine.

The name happy wanderer comes from this vine’s vigorous and rampant growth habit. These plants usually grow to a height of 2-4 meters (6-12 feet). Their spread will depend on the environment but can reach 15 meters (50 feet).

As Hardenbergia violacea matures, it forms a dense covering that is perfect for smothering weeds or hiding unsightly walls and fences. It also makes an excellent groundcover in difficult to mow areas such as slopes. The pea-like flowers grow in clusters and make the plant viable for cosmetic reasons.

Hardenvergia violacea is very easy to grow and care for. It will thrive in most soil types as long as it has good drainage. It prefers a sunny location but will tolerate some shade. Once established, it is drought tolerant and does not require much supplemental watering.

The following guide features more details about the happy wanderer, including how to plant, grow, and care for it.

Introduction to Hardenbergia Violacea

Hardenbergia violacea is native to Australia but has become popular for gardens all over the world due to its easy care and vigorous growth habit.

The vine has a woody stem structure that climbs and can wrap around trellises, fences, poles, and other structures. It produces purple or lilac-colored flowers in clusters. 

The flowers are pea-shaped and bloom from winter to early spring. The leaves are dark green, egg-shaped, and have a leather-like texture.

Hardenbergia violacea is an excellent choice for gardeners looking for a plant that can quickly cover a large area. The flowers give the plant a beautiful appearance and also attract bees and butterflies.

Hardenbergia Violacea Plant Overview

  • Botanical/Scientific NameHardenbergia Violacea
  • Common Names: happy wanderer, purple coral pea, false sarsparilla
  • Family: Fabaceae
  • GenusHardenbergia
  • Other Classifications: Vine, Evergreen, Perennial, Climber

Where to Buy Hardenbergia Violacea

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to get Hardenbergia violacea in your garden, your best option is to buy an established plant. It’s not as widely available as the more popular species, but you’ll probably find at least one local garden center or nursery that has it in stock.

You can also buy happy wanderer plants online from many retailers. They’re typically sold in pots, so you might find home delivery more appealing.

Top Tip: When you’re buying Hardenbergia Violacea online, or any other plant for that matter, make sure you use a reputable supplier. This way you can expect healthy, disease-free plants.

How to Plant a Happy Wanderer

An alternative to buying an established plant is planting and growing your own Hardenbergia violacea from seed or cuttings. This is easy to do, even for beginner gardeners.

Here’s what you need to know to plant a happy wanderer.

Happy Wanderer Growing Requirements and Optimal Conditions

  • Soil: The happy wanderer does not require a specific soil type and will happily grow in most soils as long as it has good drainage.
  • Sunlight: Hardenbergia violacea will tolerate some shade, but will bloom more profusely if it gets full sun.
  • Water: Once established, Hardenbergia violacea is drought tolerant and doesn’t require much supplemental watering.
  • Temperature: Happy wanderers prefer growing in warm climates but can handle temperatures as low as -6 degrees Celsius (20 degrees Fahrenheit). It can be susceptible to frost.

Planting a Happy Wanderer from Seeds

Hardenbergia violacea seeds are widely available online and in stores. They have tough seed coats, making germination difficult without the proper preparation. We recommend soaking them in lukewarm water for 24 hours and then making a small slit in each seed or rubbing them gently with sandpaper.

Once you’ve prepped the seeds, sow them in a pot with drainage holes. You can use any soil or potting mix, but we recommend using something peaty or sandy. Ensure the soil is moist, and sow the seeds on the surface before gently pressing them down.

Keep the pot indoors if you can, or at least out of direct sunlight. The soil needs to be kept moist, and the optimal temperature is around 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit).

The seeds should germinate within 30-60 days, at which point you can transplant your happy wanderer directly into the ground outdoors.

Propagating a Happy Wanderer Using Cuttings

You can also propagate Hardenbergia violacea using cuttings. If you’re taking the cuttings yourself instead of buying them, try to take them from healthy stems on a well-growing vine. They should be 15-20 centimeters (6-8 inches) long.

We recommend you dip the cuttings in a rooting hormone before planting them in a pot. As with planting happy wanderer seeds, we recommend using a pot with drainage holes and peaty or sandy soil. Soil should be moist at the time of planting and kept moist to help the roots grow.

You should start to see new growth within a couple of weeks. Once the roots are well-established, typically after six weeks, you can replant them in the ground outdoors.

Growing and Caring for Hardenbergia Violacea

Not a tremendous amount of care is needed to ensure your Hardenbergia violacea thrives. It’s a relatively low-maintenance plant but will need some attention if you want it to grow and bloom profusely for many years.

Here’s some information and advice to help you.

  • A happy wanderer vine should not be watered more than is necessary to keep the surrounding soil moist. Too much water on the leaves can cause fungal infections and other plant diseases.
  • Although Hardenbergia violacea likes full sunlight, too much exposure to the sun in the hottest months can damage the plant. The leaves may burn and the flowers may not bloom.
  • Mulching the surrounding soil can help a happy wanderer to flower more. It will help keep the moisture intact and prevent weeds that can hamper growth.
  • Happy wanderers are attractive to snails and slugs, so keep an eye out for these pests if you live in an area where they’re common.
  • Leaf-eating insects, such as caterpillars, can also be a problem. They can be kept away by using pesticides or insecticides.
  • Pruning is necessary if you want to prevent excessive spreading of the vine. We recommend that you prune little and often to keep things under control. Trimming the leaves and branches can also make the plant fuller and encourage better blooming of the flowers.

Other Vines and Climbers to Grow at Home

There are many vines and climbers you can grow at home. There’s giloy, for example, if you’d like to a produce a vine that has potential health benefits. Wisteria is an excellent option if you want a climbing plant with fragrant flowers.

Here are some other suggestions to consider.

  • Passion Flower: Dark leaves and exotic-looking flowers.
  • Clematis: Great for attracting birds and pollinators.
  • Boston Ivy: A decorative climber with red foliage.
  • Snail Vine: Evergreen vine that’s very fast-growing.

And here are a few additional resources to help you discover other vines and climbers you can grow at home.