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.

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More Information on Hardenbergia

Gardening Australia


Australian Native Plants Society (Australia)


How to Grow