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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sturt's Desert Pea: Clianthus formosus

I've only ever grown this wonderful plant once, raising it from seed and coaxing it to produce this single cluster of fabulous flowers before making the mistake of giving it too much water. It's not called a desert pea for nothing - wet roots and humid conditions are death to it. Trouble is, if you keep it hot and dry (as I did with the two other seedlings I raised) it succumbs to attacks of red spider mite very easily in greenhouses in England. So, when it comes to watering it, you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't. The only solution is to move to South Australia, where it's the state flower and is perfectly at home. I gather that this plant also now goes under the name of Swainsona formosa.