Friday, August 13, 2010

Red Kennedy Pea

Kennedia rubicunda
August - September is flowering time for this pretty climber - and the flowers are appreciated by little honeyeaters.
It’s a plant that some hesitate to grow because of its reputation for being rather too vigorous, swallowing shed-sized buildings whole. Perhaps it does indeed grow like this in well-watered sites, but I have found that in a situation where it receives no supplementary watering it would restrict itself to a trellis 2-3 metres square.
I cut mine back each year after flowering, to a network of major stems, to ensure that its new leaves are well-distributed, rather than restricting themselves to the top of the trellis.
In the wild, these are among the first plants to regrow from seed after bushfires. They grow on most kinds of soil, including heavy clay.
Mine is in a frost-free situation under eaves. Frost is said to cut them back. Although they regrow from the root, a winter cut-back would prevent a year’s worth of flowers, so the plants are best grown where this wouldn’t happen to them.

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