Hardenbergia violacea. A popular and hardy native climber that produces beautiful purple flowers.

3 great Hardenbergia Vines for Garden Design

Hardenbergia is a genus of three flowering plants native to Australia in the pea family Fabaceae. Hardenbergia is a tough, evergreen climber with woody stems. In Australia, there are three species of Hardenbergia, all of which are vigorous climbers or trailing plants. Hardenbergia violacea, also known as "Happy Wanderer," is the most widely cultivated species. It is a fast-growing, low-maintenance, heavily flowering, shallow-rooted plant with long trailing stems that forms a dense mat. Unlike most other types of Hardenbergia, it does not climb naturally, so it can be used in various garden positions. It attracts native birds, bees, and butterflies to your outdoor space. Despite not being strictly a climber, Hardenbergia violacea can be trained against a wire trellis to cover a boring grey fence.

Common Grass Blue Butterfly (Zizina labradus) feeding on False Sarsaparilla (Hardenbergia violacea
Common Grass Blue Butterfly (Zizina labradus) feeding on False Sarsaparilla (Hardenbergia violacea) - native wildflower of Australia, from Queensland to Tasmania

Is Happy Wanderer Poisonous?

Keep in mind that some parts of this plant are toxic for your pet if eaten.

Is Hardenbergia invasive?

Happy wanderer is not invasive, which is great news for people living in the beautiful bushland suburbs of Melbourne.

Hardenbergia violacea ‘Happy Wanderer’
Small purple flowers and beautiful green foliage. Hardenbergia violacea ‘Happy Wanderer’. Hardenbergia violacea can be trained against a wire trellis to cover a boring grey fence.

Why is my Hardenbergia dying?

Planting conditions: Happy wanderer tolerated a wide variety of Melbourne soil types, from light clay to sandy soil. However, it will thrive best in fertile, well-drained, acidic soil on a raised bed with a pH of 5.5 to 6.0. Hardenbergia violacea prefers full sun or partial shade but will produce flowers best in full sun. They have little frost resistance while young and can suffer substantial leaf loss, but they will get hardier as they mature. Some varieties are sensitive to too much phosphorus, so this is a potential cause of your hardenbergia dying.


Phosphorus toxicity in Australian Native Plants.
Phosphorus toxicity in Australian Native Plants. - Photo Australian Plants Society S.A


Plant description: Happy Wanderer is a fast-growing climber with leathery leaves 3-11 cm long, up to 5 cm wide. The leaves are dark green above, paler below, hairless, and complex veneration. The flowers appear in winter and spring and are typically violet in colour, though pink, white, and other colours can also be observed. The flowers are pea-shaped and have four petals, a keel, and two wings. The stem is woody, slender and can easily climb over other plants and structures. The plant can cover a wide area, from around 2 to 5 metres as it matures. It can reach a height of up to 6 metres and grows quickly.

Hardenbergia flowers.
Hardenbergia flowers. Too much phosphorus can cause yellow leaves as can an iron deficiency.

Caring for your Hardenbergia violacea

After maturing, Happy Wanderer has good drought tolerance. Regular watering is required before maturity. Most importantly during the first growing season and the summer months. Allow the soil to dry between irrigations and water the plant 2-3 times each week until it is established. Keep the leaves dry during irrigation to reduce the risk of fungal disease.

happy wanderer


Young plants require extra phosphorus to promote root development, however like most native plants too much phosphorus will kill it. Further complicating matters, some varieties of Hardenbergia are more sensitive than others. Hardenbergia Violacea is very sensitive with Hardenbergia comptoniana showing much less phosphous toxicity. Look for a slow release native plant fertiliser like Neutrog Bush Tucker.

Use a native plant plant fertiliser when planting. Fertiliser is also beneficial for established plants. Therefore, treat the plant with a balance and slow-release fertilisers in the spring and late summer for maximum flowering.

The leaves of the happy wanderer can be killed by poor environmental conditions or a change in soil's physical and chemical properties. Long periods of moisture stress can cause leaves to become desiccated and die.

Problems with Hardenbergia violacea:

Happy Wanderer is sensitive to powdery mildew during cool, moist weather and should be checked and treated with a suitable organic fungicide. You may decrease the risk of fungal infections by keeping them dry during irrigation. It is also attractive to snails, slugs, and leaf-eating insects like caterpillars, which can be problematic.

Pruning your Hardenbergia violacea

Regular Pruning will prevent the vine from spreading throughout the garden. Pruning is essential once a year to keep things under control. Prune after the plant has flowered in April. An occasional hard prune to one-third to one-half of the plant will stimulate dense growth and coverage and increase flowering in the next season.

Landscaping with Hardenbergia violacea

Hardenbergia violacea is a great focal point or in masses for maximum flowering effect. The happy wanderer is a useful plant for landscape landscape designers as an evergreen climbing plant . It has a long flowering season giving your Melbourne garden some colour in late winter or early spring. This plant can bring beauty to your outdoor space if you use it to cover fences, grow it on walls and pergolas, or plant it as a decorative ground cover.

What to plant with violet Hardenbergia violacea Happy Wanderer.

It is excellent for growing among other plants, especially with sunflower or billy button flowers. Its gorgeous purple flowers can provide a wonderful contrast to the tiny yellow flowers of these plants.

Violet Hardenbergia with complimentary yellow wild flowers
Violet Hardenbergia with complimentary yellow wild flowers make for a great landscape design.

Best Hardenbergia Plants

Hardenbergia Violacea Meema (Happy Wanderer)

Hardenbergia Comptoniana - very hardy in a wide range of climates and most reasonably drained soils.

hardenbergia white out - A white version of the Hardenbergia Violacea.


About Red's Landscaping 3D Landscape Design Packages

Our 3D landscape design packages  will allow you to collaborate your design in real time with one of our senior landscape designers. Using some advanced software/hardware we can create immediate 3D renders. This allows visual assessment of the design from every viewpoint.

Our software can create an artificial sun and project light and heat on any given day or time. This ability to replicate the exact angle and temperature of the sun rays projecting on the building prior to construction is  why this package is the peoples favourite. With this amount of influence and control over your future outdoor space, its easy to see how this package will drive confidence, clarity and transparency into the build and assure all trades and parties are moving towards the same goal.

A 3D landscape design render allows you full access to seeing your future landscape as it would be built.

Related Landscape Design Articles from Red's Landscaping

Landscaping Melbourne with Climbing Plants


5 Great Backyard Landscape Design Ideas


Landscape Designers Top 11 Tips


Landscaping Melbourne


Landscape Design Melbourne

More Information on Hardenbergia

Gardening Australia


Australian Native Plants Society (Australia)


How to Grow


Home Garden Landscaping Ideas

Home Garden Landscaping ideas

The home garden can be landscaped to add enormous value to your home without spending a fortune to achieve it. It is more than just adding street or kerb appeal to your front yard garden, but also the illusion of making a small garden appear larger.

How do you renovate the front yard of your home?

The first step is to sketch and annotate your ideas on a sheet of graph paper. Our top tips to begin with are as follows:

  1. Check the health of your current plants and remove any that look a bit unhealthy.
  2. Any plants that are losing their shape should be pruned back hard.
  3. If you have any grey wooden fences, repaint them a dark colour like dark grey.
  4. Plant suitable screening plants around the edge of your garden.
  5. Repair any defects in garden paths, decks or other garden structures.
  6. Decide on your home garden focal points
  7. Hide the less attractive parts of your garden with climbing plants and trellis.

What should I plant in my front garden?

If you are living in a heritage home in one of the Melbourne inner suburbs, a cottage style garden will be in keeping with your home. Many of these are low-maintenance, eco friendly gardens, which will save on water.

Front yard garden beds for home gardens

You can make your garden appear larger by planting flowers with warm colours like yellow, red, or orange in the foreground close to the viewpoint. In the background, plant cooler and softer tones like blue, purple, pastel pinks, and whites.


Use of Colour in the home garden - Reds Landscaping and Design
Use of Colour in the home garden. Using warm and cool colours to make your garden appear larger.


Small front garden design for home gardens

Plants for this style of home garden could include the following;

  1. Dwarf lemon-scented gum
  2. Magnolia Little Gem
  3. Dwarf Lilly Pilly - Acmena Smithii Minor
  4. Crepe Myrtle
  5. Diaosma instead of turf

Larger front yards

  1. Pittosporum "Siver Sheen" (large tree or hedge)
  2. Lilly Pilly - Acmena Smithii
  3. Italian Pencil Pine

Use the taller plants toward the outside of your garden.

Our top garden design tip here is to plant trees with numerous small leaves. This will help to create the illusion of space in a small garden. For example, the Pittosporum "Silver Sheen" English yew tree A large hedge of pittosporum silver sheen will help to screen out the neighbours and make the garden appear larger if you grow it along the fence line. If you are not planting a hedge, aim to have plants at various heights to draw the eye up and down.


Garden Focal points for your home garden

What is a focal point in landscaping?

In landscaping, a focal point is a point of interest in a garden that helps the eye rest naturally.  The garden focal point will create an interesting destination for garden visitors to move toward.

Does a good landscape need a focal point?

A garden focal point will draw the visitor’s eye to a particular location in the garden. It can help create the illusion that your small garden is actually larger than it is. It will also encourage visitors to move through the garden as well as help create visual balance in the front yard.

Potted urn on a pedestal

A garden focal point could be a potted urn on a garden pedestal surrounded by lavender plants. Lavender also looks good in terracotta pots.



Concrete garden pot on a concrete pedestal - Reds Landscaping and Design
Concrete garden pot on a concrete pedestal. A garden focal point where the garden paths cross.



Home Gardening Landscaping ideas - Reds Landscaping and Design
Home Gardening Landscaping ideas. A concrete urn on a concrete pedestal with concrete pavers leading to the focal point.


Garden arch focal point

An impressive welcome to your front yard garden can be provided by a flower covered garden arch. By using fragrant climbing plants on the garden arch, a sensory experience can be provided for your visitors. The garden arch over a brick pathway will fit in well with cottage gardens or Melbourne heritage gardens. As a focal point, the garden arch draws the eye up and around the arch.


Garden Arbor - Reds Landscaping and Design
Garden Arbor or arch with climbing plants.



Pergola walkway with wisteria - Reds Landscaping and Design
Pergola walkway with wisteria.

Garden water feature focal point ideas

A water feature makes a great focal point in any garden and is also good for wildlife.

Garden Pond Ideas

Garden ponds should be located in partial shade to limit the growth of algae. If algae is a problem in your pond, then a harmless black dye can be added to the water. Garden ponds should be located in as flat a location as possible. If you are building your own pond, make sure the excavation is free from stones and roots, then line the hole with sand before putting in the butyl liner. This will extend the lifetime of your pond liner. Newly built concrete ponds will have a high PH, so wait for this to stabilise around 7 before introducing any fish to your garden pond. In and around your pond, use a planting mixture of water lilies, floating plants, and some native grasses around the perimeter.





Home Garden - Koi Fish in a tranquil pond - Reds Landscaping and Design
Home Garden - Koi Fish in a tranquil pond.


Water feature fountains

If your front yard garden is a Melbourne inner city heritage garden, you may have some issues with traffic noise. A front yard fountain will help to disguise the traffic noise as well as add tranquility to your garden. There are designs to suit modern gardens as well as heritage gardens and Japanese gardens.


Stone water feature in the style of a Ryoan Ji temple - Reds Landscaping and Design
Stone water feature in the style of a Ryoan Ji temple with rounded river pebbles a stone lantern. Fantastic use of foliage colours with white flowers.




Garden Sculpture Focal Points

Garden Sculpture focal point - Reds Landscaping and Design
Garden Sculpture focal point with a curved garden hedge.


Soft landscaping focal points for your home garden

The focal point can also be a beautiful shrub or tree. Choose a small tree that will have year-round interest. So attributes to look for would be long flowering periods, a beautiful shape, or interesting foliage. If you choose a deciduous tree, make sure it has interesting bark and place foliage plants around the base.


A White Crepe Myrtle in a home garden - Reds Landscaping and Design
Soft landscaping focal point. A White Crepe Myrtle in a home garden.


Disguise less attractive areas of your home with trellises and climbing plants.

If you have an area you would like to hide, build a trellis or brush fence. Use climbing plants like clematis, climbing rose, or star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) to break up the view of the fence.


Trellis can be used to disguise parts of the garden - Reds Landscaping and Design
Trellis can be used to disguise parts of the garden.


Dog friendly garden Couch lawn - Reds Landscaping and Design
Dog friendly garden Couch lawn - Reds Landscaping and Design

A colourbond shed and garden tools hidden behind a brush fence.

More home garden landscape gardening ideas from Red's Landscaping.

Cottage Garden Plants

Cottage garden ideas from the Cotswolds

Path Design for Cottage Gardens

Small Garden Design Ideas

© Copyright Red’s Landscaping and Design – Melbourne Commercial Landscaping Specialist

Red’s Landscaping YouTube Channel

Red’s Landscaping Pinterest Boards

More information on the use of Colour in gardens

How to use colour in your garden

Fifteen front yard landscaping ideas.

Blogs to Follow @RedsLandscaping





@Reds Landscaping and Design