How to Grow & Care for Lilac Vine (Hardenbergia Violacea)

Written by Ivy

Jan 29 2023

How to Grow & Care for Lilac Vine (Hardenbergia Violacea)

A robust flowering vine that is native to Australia is called the lilac vine. It blossoms profusely with stunning purple flowers in the spring. Learn how to grow purple lilac vines in your garden and more about caring for vine lilacs by reading on.

Lilac Vine (Hardenbergia Violacea) Overview





Common Names:

False sarsaparilla, purple coral pea, vine lilac




Flowering plant


4 metres tall and wide

Sun requirements:

Full sun to part shade

Foliage Colour:


Flower Colour:

Purple, pink or white (varies depending on cultivar)


Winter to Spring

Maintenance level:


Poisonous for pets:

Non-toxic to cats and dogs

Lilac Vine (Hardenbergia Violacea) Lilac Info

The Lilac Vine (Hardenbergia violacea) is also known as the Purple Coral Pea, Australian Sarsaparilla, and just plain Hardenbergia. It is indigenous to southeast Australia, where it thrives in rocky soils. It can only survive outdoors in USDA zones 9 to 11 because it is not particularly cold hardy (in zone 9, it might need protection from frost). It can grow as an evergreen up to 50 feet (15 meters) tall in warm environments.) in length. It produces hanging strings of tiny, clumped flowers that resemble pea blossoms in the late winter and early spring. The most typical flower color is purple, though some cultivars also produce pink or white flowers. If you don't keep the plant in check, growing purple lilac vines can become overwhelming. Hardenbergia can grow as tall as 50 feet (15 meters).) in length, and it will twine itself around and climb everything in its path. Make sure the area where you plan to plant it has a big, sturdy structure to climb or lots of space to spread out. It's not too difficult to care for vine lilacs. It can always be kept under control with a little pruning. After blooming is finished in the spring, the vine can be severely pruned (to half or even a third of its size) to control its growth. The soil must drain well for purple lilac vines to thrive. When watering them, make sure to let the soil have a chance to dry out in between applications. In regions with temperate summers, they will flourish in direct sunlight. If your summers are particularly hot, place your vine where it will get some afternoon shade.

How to Grow & Care for Lilac Vine

General Lilac Vine Planting and Care

A climbing or prostrate plant known as Purple Coral Pea or False Sarsaparilla, Hardenbergia violacea, is widespread throughout Australia.

Several varieties, including Flat White and Carpet Royale, both in white and mauve, have been created for gardens. In contrast to most other Hardenbergia varieties, these are shallow-rooted, heavy flowering, fast-growing plants with long trailing stems that form a dense mat that can be used in a variety of positions in the garden.

Planting Conditions

These cultivars will thrive in an enriched, well-drained acid soil on a raised bed with a pH of 5.5 to 6.0, although a position in full sun to part shade is preferred in a wide range of soil types, including light clay or sand.

They have a low tolerance to frost when they're young and can suffer significant leaf damage, but as they get older, they'll become more resilient.

Plant Soil & Drainage

Hardy and tolerant, happy wanderer grows well in most soils as long as there is adequate drainage.


We recommend that you do not transplant Hardenbergia violacea once established.


Even though it does well in some shade, Hardenbergia violacea prefers sunny surroundings. If it receives full sun, it will bloom more.


In temperate Australian climates, this plant is drought-tolerant once established and doesn't need much additional watering. Happy wanderer should not receive more water than is necessary because excessive watering can result in fungus infections and other plant diseases.


Avoid wetting Hardenbergia violacea's foliage to minimise possible fungal problems. For proper soil moisture maintenance, keep an eye on watering amounts during the warmest months of the year and the first growing season after planting.


Use a general-purpose, three- to four-month slow-release fertilizer to fertilize in the spring and the fall. Plant health and vigor can be improved by making additional applications of a complete liquid fertilizer at intervals of two to three weeks.

In April, giving plants a liquid feed of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) and iron chelates will also help them stay vigorous before flowering, especially in sandy soils.


Happy Wanderer grows best in warm environments, but it can also withstand occasional frosts and cold temperatures.


After planting your Hardenbergia, we recommend mulching to a depth of 5 cm to conserve soil moisture and to assist with plant health.


When pruning shrub forms after flowering, you can remove up to two thirds of the plant, which will increase vigor and make the plant bushier and produce more flowers the following season.

How to Grow & Care for Lilac Vine

Lilac Vine Pests and Diseases

Hardenbergia violacea are susceptible to powdery mildew during cool moist weather and should be monitored and treated with an appropriate organic fungicide, if necessary. Avoiding foliage wetting during irrigation and periodically removing dead leaves to improve air circulation can help reduce fungal problems.

In order to prevent serious pest infestations, like those caused by caterpillars that eat lead, plants should be checked for signs of leaf damage. In crowded conditions, mealy bugs and scale insects can also cause issues.

Powdery Mildew

This fungal disease, which can be identified by white, powdery spots or patches that develop on the top sides of leaves and plant stems, can spread quickly if left untreated.

A severe infection may result in yellowing and twisted leaves, which will make your plant look sad and miserable. Neem oil can be used to treat powdery mildew because it quickly disperses the fungus' spores.

As an alternative, you can buy a suitable organic fungicide for mildew from reliable garden centers or online retailers.

Scale Insects/Mealybugs/Caterpillars

As your plant grows, keep an eye on the foliage for any indications of leaf damage. Caterpillars can be an annoyance, but you can easily get rid of them by hand-removing them from your plant and discarding of them elsewhere on your property.

Particularly in situations involving mass planting, smaller pests like mealybugs or scale insects can also be a problem. The undersides of leaves or stems should be scraped clean of any of these tiny pests while wearing gloves.

Alternately, spray them with a solution of soap and water to get them off the foliage. Neem oil should be applied occasionally to your plant and infected stems should be pruned back to prevent severe infestations.

How to Propagate Lilac Vine Plant

The lilac vine responds well to pruning, especially hard pruning done after the vine flowers have bloomed, which promotes new growth. Since the seed coats of Happy Wanderers are thick, germination is challenging without assistance to break through the seed coat.


Use hand pruning shears or a sharp knife to cut 6- to 8-inch-long vine sections from fresh terminal shoots of an established Happy Wanderer. The cuttings ought to have two to three nodes, which are the points at which the leaves are attached and which help the cuttings take root. Cuttings are perhaps the simplest method of propagation because they yield identical clones of the parent plant, and plants grown from cuttings typically flower much sooner than those grown from seed.

To aid the plant in establishing roots, rooting hormones like indolebutyric acid (IBA) should be applied to the cut ends of cuttings intended for propagation.

Plant the cuttings in potting soil containing peat, perlite, and vermiculite. In order for the roots to develop and keep the vine from dying, the cuttings must always be kept moist.

When the new roots start to appear and the soil is at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit, plant the cuttings outdoors. In three to six weeks, the cuttings ought to grow strong roots.


The bottom of a plastic container with a lid should be covered with 320-fine sandpaper that has been glued down. Scarification is a quicker process than sanding each seed individually.

A thin layer of seeds, roughly the size of the sandpaper, should be spread evenly throughout the container. Place the container's lid on tightly.

For one to two minutes, shake the bottle firmly. By scratching the tough covering encasing the plant embryo, this process promotes germination by allowing water to reach the embryo and facilitates seedling emergence.

Check each seed's surface for scratches. If sufficient scratching was not accomplished in the jar, rub individual seeds on the sandpaper as necessary.

Plant the seeds in moist, peaty soil that is between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.


  • On the plant, seed pods will develop after flowering. When the pods have dried in the late summer, gather them. When you're ready to start growing, remove the fertile seeds from the pods. In the spring, seeds should be sown.
  • You can help the seed shells soften by soaking your seeds in hot water for an entire night. Germination will benefit greatly from this.
  • To further accelerate germination, you might need to use a sharp knife to make a small cut in the seed shells for larger seeds.
  • Prepare seedling containers with premium potting or seedling mixes inside.
  • To ensure the best possible germination, sow your seeds about halfway into the ground. Add some soil on top, lightly.
  • After planting, give the seeds some water to help the soil retain a moderate amount of moisture.
  • The seeds should be placed in a warm, protected area with indirect light.
  • Warm temperatures of at least 21 °C are necessary for the seeds to germinate.
  • You can wrap the containers in plastic wrap to help your seeds thrive in a warmer, more humid environment.
  • You should see healthy growth signs in 2 to 4 months, depending on the conditions, if you keep the soil just a little bit moist at all times.
  • Before transplanting the seedlings, give them a few more months to grow.

Lilac Vine Plant Design Tips

As is frequently the case, we fail to recognize the beauty of the features climbers in our own backyard and instead rely on exotics like Wisteria or Bougainvillea. Meanwhile, Hardenbergia Violacea is being used successfully as a feature plant all over the world. The German Botanical Gardens have used it as a lovely climber over their metal arched glasshouse structure, while Japan has developed it into a one-of-a-kind flowering showpiece as an indoor plant. With its distinctive gumtree-like leaves, it is unmistakably Australian and, unlike Bougainvillea, has the benefit of being evergreen. It is a great choice because it resists drought, is favored by native flora, and produces stunning and frequently prodigious purple flowers. Grooming and steering it in the right directions is crucial because it can become a little unwieldy. It can make a stunning backdrop for smaller yellow flowers in front, like Billy Buttons or sunflowers, thanks to the stunning purple flowers.

How to Grow & Care for Lilac Vine

Hardenbergia Violacea ‘Happy Wanderer'

The most common plant grown in Australia is probably the happy wanderer. It is a robust climbing and trailing variety that blooms profusely in lilac to purple between winter and spring.

Additionally, it grows more slowly and can provide dense cover wherever it is needed in gardens.

Hardenbergia Violacea ‘Alba'

This slower-growing variety blooms in the spring with white, pea-like flowers. The glossy, dark leaves help to dramatically contrast the bright white flowers with the dark background of the foliage. This variety can reach heights and widths of about 1.2 meters.

Hardenbergia Violacea ‘Free-n-Easy'

This variety is a hardy climber with long, lacy white flowers that have hints of lavender and dark green leaves.

Hardenbergia Violacea ‘Bushy Blue'

In cultivation, the height and width of this low-growing shrub variety are only about 60 centimeters. It has stunning clusters of vivid violet to purple pea-shaped flowers as well as blueish-gray leaves.

Hardenbergia Violacea ‘Mini Haha'

The purple flowers on this variety are compact and shrubby. In comparison to the other cultivars, it also has smaller leaves.

Hardenbergia Violacea ‘Purple Falls'

This variety does not climb and is a robust trailing ground cover. Springtime sees the blooming of purple pea-shaped flowers.

Hardenbergia Violacea ‘Rosea'

This robust little shrub can also be used as a climber. It produces tons of soft-pink flowers in the spring, as suggested by its name. This variety can reach heights and widths of about 1.5 meters.

It looks amazing when mass-planted because the pink variety of flowers can easily brighten up your outdoor spaces with delicate tones of color.

Hardenbergia Violacea ‘Pink Fizz'

Fast-growing and climbing, this variety bears masses of pink flowers from winter to spring. It has leathery, dark green leaves.

Lilac Vine (Hardenbergia Violacea) FAQs

Does Hardenbergia Attract Bees?

It is well known that the flowers draw bees, especially when they are grown with other flowering plants.

Does Hardenbergia Need a Trellis?

Provide a supporting structure, such as a trellis or cages, if you want to grow yours as a climbing plant.

How Tall Does Hardenbergia Grow?

These plants typically grow with a spread of 2 to 5 meters and a height of up to 6 meters, depending on the variety and growing conditions.

Does Happy Wanderer Hardenbergia Have Invasive Roots?

Because the root systems are small and non-invasive, Establishing these plants close to buildings or in rockeries is perfectly acceptable because the roots aren't powerful enough to become in any way invasive.