Hardy hard­en­ber­gia de­serves a place

Central Telegraph - - GARDEN - WITH Angie Thomas Angie Thomas is a hor­ti­cul­tur­ist at Yates.

HARD­EN­BER­GIA is a family of tough Aus­tralian na­tive, pre­dom­i­nantly climb­ing plants that of­ten go by the com­mon names of na­tive or false sar­sa­par­illa or pur­ple coral pea.

They are low-main­te­nance plants that have beau­ti­ful pea-shaped flow­ers in shades of pur­ple, mauve, white or pink.

Hard­en­ber­gia vi­o­lacea Re­gent is a specially cho­sen form of hard­en­ber­gia that grows as an up­right rounded shrub rather than a clim­ber. It’s a hardy plant that grows to about one me­tre tall with large leath­ery leaves and at­trac­tive pur­ple pea flow­ers. The flow­ers, which ap­pear in spring, stand erect among the leaves and will at­tract birds, but­ter­flies and bees into the gar­den.

Re­gent can be grown in sub-trop­i­cal, tem­per­ate and cool zones. It does best in full sun, and tol­er­ates a wide range of soil types.

Plants re­spond well to prun­ing, which should be car­ried out im­me­di­ately af­ter flow­er­ing.

Other beau­ti­ful hard­en­ber­gia va­ri­eties in­clude Bliss, which has a shrubby habit and li­lac flow­ers.

Sweet Heart is a vig­or­ous clim­ber or ground cover with pur­ple flow­ers.

Aus­tralian na­tive plants like hard­en­ber­gia can be given a feed each spring and au­tumn with fer­tiliser.

Wa­ter reg­u­larly and mulch around the root zone with or­ganic mulch such as bark chips.

◗ FUN FACT: Har­den­ber­gias are in the plant family fabaceae, a group of legu­mi­nous plants that are able to con­vert at­mo­spheric ni­tro­gen to ni­tro­gen they can use for growth in a process called ni­tro­gen fix­a­tion.

PHOTO: THINK­STOCK

◗ Pur­ple hard­en­ber­gia flow­ers.

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