Swainsona formosa – Sturt’s Desert Pea


An iconic flower from arid desert regions in central Australia, with distinctive red flowers highlighted by the deep black centres. It has pinnate grey green leaves, and it is mostly sprawling and low growing in habit. There are different coloured forms, from cream to pink to all red without the black centre.
To grow the Sturt’s desert pea, it needs perfect drainage, full sun, and minimal watering once the seedling becomes established. A good way to grow in the garden, is in a large tub or a terracotta drainage pipe stood upright and filled with gritty free draining soil. Hanging baskets are also a great way to grow them. It is usually treated as an annual, and should flower 4 months after sowing from seed.
It was formerly known as Clianthus formosus, and is a protected plant in South Australia.

Scientific Name:Swainsona formosa
Common Name:Sturt's Desert Pea
Plant Type:Small shrub, Ground cover
Height:0.5 ~ 2 metres
Width:1 ~ 3 metre
Flower Colour:Cream, Red, Pink, Black
Flowering Time:Spring, Summer
Ph Level:Acid, Neutral, Alkaline
Soil Type:Sandy, Sandy loam
Plant Environment:Container growing, Cottage garden, Flower garden, Drought resistant
Climate Zone:Warm temperate, Mediterranean, Semi-arid, Arid
Growth Habit:Evergreen, Spreading, Mound-shaped, Weeping
Soil Moisture:Well-drained
Propagation Method:Seed
Frost Tolerance:Tolerates light frost
Plant Usage:Groundcover, Feature plant, Attractive foliage, Wow factor
Special Uses:
Attracts Wildlife:Other insects



Angus recommends Bush Tucker fertiliser for native plants