Categories: Flowers

Plant Pick: Happy Wanderer

By Published On: February 9, 2015
Plant Pick: Happy Wanderer

Plant Pick | Happy Wanderer Vine | Photo by Emily Murphy

Who doesn’t want to be happy? Happy Wanderer, Hardenbergia violacea, brings more than cheer and free spirit to the garden. It’s an enduring, hard to kill vine with striking blooms and a fabulous habit of climbing nearly anything you put in front of it.

It tolerates heavy soil, clay rich but well-draining, needs little water once established and blooms continually in these amazing clusters from winter through spring. Basically, give it a place to grow with a little care to get started and it will take over from there. Happy to grow.

However it’s not as aggressive a climber as Banks Rose, which I’ve seen at the top of more than one power line, or as weighty as Wisteria. A modest support will be enough to give it a home.

Plant Pick | Happy Wanderer |Hardenbergia violacea | Photo by Emily Murphy



Happy Wanderer is an evergreen vine that can be grown, nearly for free, from from tip or soft wood cuttings or seed.

Place 6” to 8” cuttings with 2 to 3 leaf nodes per cutting in a 50/50 blend of vermiculite and perlite or start in water until roots appear. I generally trim leaves to about half their length so maximum effort can be spent rooting and use a rooting hormone or liquid seaweed to jumpstart the process. Wait until your cuttings pass the tug test before planting out.

Seeds need scarification, nick and scratch them before planting. You can do the work of weather and seasons simply by roughing up the seed coat with sandpaper.


Grow in sun to part shade in coastal areas and part shade or filtered sun in inland areas. It appreciates light to heavy pruning after flowering.

Other Characteristics

Hardenbergia is cold hardy to 23 degrees Fahrenheit, growing well in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 15. It can reach 12’ to 16’ in height, is bee pollinated and native to Australia.

It’s a make you smile plant. Grow What You Love. Be happy.

Plant Pick | Happy Wanderer | Photo by Emily Murphy

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About the Author: Emily Murphy

I’ve learned there’s something wonderfully powerful in the simple act of growing. Here, in our gardens, we can repair ourselves and our plots of earth with our own two hands. GROW WHAT YOU LOVE and GROW NOW!

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  1. Brian April 18, 2017 at 7:05 pm - Reply

    Hi Emily,

    I live in San Pedro, CA., right at the LA Harbor. While we are adjacent to the ocean, the weather in San Pedro is not typical of a coastal city. San Pedro is a pocket that contains the heat in the summer. It can get extremely hot here. Will the Happy Wanderer handle the heat? I already have one in a pot on the porch but I would love to use it out in the yard to climb up and cover a short a chain link fence.

    • Emily Murphy April 19, 2017 at 2:04 pm - Reply

      Hi Brian, thanks for writing! Yes, it will take the heat. It’s durable plant that likes warmer climates. Sounds perfect for you. All my best, Emily

  2. Sarah Perry February 24, 2016 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    So many clients who’d love this…what do you think about planting it in VT?

    • Emily Murphy February 25, 2016 at 5:12 pm - Reply

      Hi Sarah! This is such a fab plant, but I’m afraid it’s hardy only to zone 9 – though maybe we could squeak out zone 8 if planted near a building and mulched it well. But still this wouldn’t beat a VT winter. I bet we could find a more cold hardy alternative. Let me see what I can find. :)

  3. Julie Brown February 15, 2015 at 10:07 am - Reply

    Bravo!! So pleased to see the pistil in my inbox. Looking forward to more!

    • Emily Murphy February 15, 2015 at 1:00 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Julie! Hope to see you soon and catch up on all things life and garden. :)