The Running Postman – Kennedia prostrata
Commonly called Running Postman, Kennedia prostrata is a rambling ground cover plant originally from Western Australia but widely used in landscaping and native gardens across Australia.
This is one West Australian plant that seems to cope well with moist positions as long as the soil is free draining. Its wonderful bright red pea shaped flowers in spring remind us of the red of the post box, pretty yellow centres as well. seed pods follow and seeds can be collected as they dry.
Care and growing conditions
Best in full sun, but tolerant of part shade. In very dry years the plant may go ‘underground’ but will reappear with autumn rains. Mild frosts are OK heavy frosts will ‘knock the plant back a little’.
Propagation is from seed, try pouring boiling water over the seeds to speed up germination, or a light rub with a fine sandpaper. Running Postman or Kennedia prostrata can also be grown from cuttings of new growth.
Care is minimal although judicial pruning can help these ground covers form a denser matt if required. Can also be grown in hanging baskets and allowed to trail over rock walls.
A denser cover is also obtained if moisture is increased a little.
Kennedia prostrata – Summary Information
- Position – Full sun to part shade.
- Soil – Humus rich and well drained with some moisture over summer.
- Height – This is a low growing plant that unsupported will form a mound to 1 m in height. With support it can scramble to 2 metres.
- Spread – Generally spreads to around 2 metres, sometimes more in ideal conditions.
- Flower Colour – Red
- Flowering Period – Spring to summmer with some flowers in winter depending on the climate.
Summary Information and other Kennedia Species
Kennedia are a group of climbing or trailing plants found in coastal New South Wales, Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria. The three best know species being
- Kennedia prostrata or the ‘Running postman’ with bright red flowers,
- Kennedia nigricans or ‘Black Coral Pea’ with its distinctive black and yellow flowers is an interesting species
- Kennedia beckxiana or ‘Cape Arid kennedia’
- Kennedia rubicunda or ‘ Dusky coral pea’.
All are vigorous growers, hardy and drought tolerant, and all need space, suitable for covering up old fences or walls. Kennedia eximia is one other worth looking at.
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