All it takes to grow Sturt Desert Peas successfully is sunshine, heat and sandy soil, something that the majority of Australia has in abundance. Sturt Desert Peas are striking when grown in pots and October is the perfect time to plant them as they require warm temperatures to thrive.
If growing in the ground select a sunny position and mix a small amount (about a ½ litre) of sheep manure and coarse sand into the soil. Plant seedlings with a teaspoon of native controlled release fertiliser such as PowerFeed Controlled Release All Purpose including Natives under the root system, being careful to not place in the soil deeper than the level they were in the pots. Mulch with gravel or stones.
If growing in pots select a unglazed terracotta or clay pot or large bowl and mix coarse sand with premium potting mix at a ratio of 2:1. In the top 15cm mix through controlled release fertiliser for native plants such as PowerFeed Controlled Release All Purpose including Natives and plant seedlings at 20-30cm spacing. Plant at least three seedlings in a large pot and mulch with gravel or small stones. Water in with Seasol and apply every 2 to 4 week. Ensure the pot is up off the ground and is draining freely as Sturt Desert Peas are prone to rotting. Place in a sunny hot position. As the runner develop the tips can be removed to encourage bushy growth and multiple flower stems.
If planning to germinate Sturt Desert Peas rather than buying seedlings the seeds can be treated one of two ways to soften the seed coat.
- Soak seed in boiling water and leave over night. Drain and place in a tray of sand and seed raising mix 2:1 ratio or
- Place seeds on a flat tray and pile a couple of handfuls of dry grass over the top. Set alight and when the flames have gone out sprinkle the remaining ash (which contains the seeds) over soil/seed raising mix.
Place seed raising trays in a morning sun, afternoon shaded position. Once the plants are about 2cm tall they can be transferred into individual pots. Apply Seasol every couple of weeks to build a strong root system and promote healthy growth.