Sturt’s Desert Pea (Swainsonia formosa)can be grown from seed if it is planted at the right time of the year and in the right conditions.
You need to try to recreate the soil conditions so if planting in the garden, a sandy well drained soil and a position in full sun.
The seeds of the desert pea are hard, and the surface needs to be broken down to allow for germination. In nature this is by the heat of the sun and the abrasion of sandy soils. So you need to treat the seeds with hot water before sowing them.
Sow the seeds in spring to summer depending on climate. Desert peas need warm weather to thrive. You must plant them in hot weather.
Where to plant seeds
It is best to sow Desert Pea seeds where they will grow as this is a plant that has a long tap root and does not like being transplanted. If the tap root is disturbed the plant will generally not survive.
If you are growing them in pots, an unglazed terracotta pot it best as it will drain well and the terracotta is porous which assists with draining.
How to grow Sturt’s Desert Pea from Seed – Step By Step
- Drop seed into hot / water boiled 5 minutes before – so cooled just a little.
- Soak and for 3 – 24 hours.
- The seed should expand to 3 – 4 times their size.
- Seeds that float will not usually germinate.
- Sow seed in a seed raising mix. Try Sand/Perlite, Sieved potting mix, Pine bark. 1:1:1:1
- Keep moist and protect from snails and slugs
- Seedlings will quickly reach 2 – 3 cms in height.
If you really have to transplant them do this when they reach 2 – 3cm in height and do it very carefully, remove and place in deep pots using a sandy potting mix with 30 % perlite mixed through or into the garden
Top Tips on – How to grow Sturt’s Desert Pea from Seed
- Don’t plant the seeds until spring to late spring.
- Use a potting mix with not fertiliser in it.
- Add sand and perlite to the potting mix to improve drainage.
- Never over water.
- Never over fertilise. In fact don’t fertilise at all except with a specialist native plant fertiliser.