Growing Sturt Desert Pea from seed is very challenging, but very rewarding when you have your own crop of bright red blooms with the distinctive glossy black boss!
People have asked me if there is a trick to growing Sturt Desert Pea. Here are the 7 steps I use to grow them in my garden.
- Wake them up! Sturt Desert Pea seeds are dormant. Putting them in temperatures at 4C simulates cool desert evenings (before very hot day time temperatures). So, place your seeds in the fridge for a couple of days.
- Give them a hot bath. Remove from the fridge and soak the seeds in very hot water (not boiling). Soak your seeds for a full 24 hours. Any seeds floating after 24 hours should be discarded. Karrikins seed kits come with ‘smoke’ granules. These simulate a bushfire and act as a catalyst for germination.
- Give them a moist bed. Sturt Desert Peas need a loose, well-draining mixture. Place the seeds on the surface of the mixture. Karrikins growing kits include biodegradable soil discs and germination pots that are the perfect starting environment for your seeds.
- Water them gently. Keep the surface moist with a gentle spray of water. Do not disturb the seeds with flowing water. Keep spraying the seeds until they shoot. Karrikins water atomiser provides a fine, wide mist that’s perfect for gentle watering.
- Do not disturb the tap root. Seedlings can be placed into a larger pot or the ground at about 5cm. Be extremely careful with the taproot. If you damage it, bruise it or disturb it, the plant will die. Karrikins biodegradable germination pots allow you to transplant your seedlings because the entire pot can be moved (no risk of disturbing the fragile young roots).
- Keep them in the sun but away from bugs. Place your seedlings in a sunny position, and protect them from snails, slugs and caterpillars. Young plants can get devoured overnight! The best way to protect your plants without chemicals is to check them each morning and pick off any grubs you see.
- Feed them. Apply a low phosphorus soluble fertiliser once a week. Karrikins fertilisers are perfect for native plants. The plants will take 4 months to develop and flower.
Here are some things to avoid:
- Compost, worm castings, manure and clayey soils are too heavy for Sturt Desert Pea. They prefer free draining, loose, sandy soil.
- Shady positions. They need sunny, hot environments.
- Over crowding with other plants. They are creepers and need space to spread out; and they don’t like to compete at the root zone.
- Over fertilising will cause ‘toxic shock’ from too much phosphorus.
Give this unique native Australian flower a try. The Karrikins Sturt Desert Pea growing kit has everything you need to get started.
p.s. The same steps will work on the Coral Vine too!