What is a Lilac Vine?

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  • Written By: J.M. Densing
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2019
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A lilac vine, scientific name Hardenbergia violacea, is a climbing perennial vine with light violet blossoms. It's also known by other common names including Happy Wanderer, Australian Sarsparilla, and Coral Pea. It is native to areas of Australia and is grown in cultivation as a decorative plant in parts of the world with a warm climate. The vine relatively easy to grow from seeds or cuttings and has low maintenance needs once it's established.

The lilac vine can grow as long as 16 feet (4.9 m) with appropriate support, and it has multiple flexible woody stems. It grows using other plants for support in the wild or can be trained to grow on trellises or other structures when cultivated. It spreads fairly easily, but it doesn't tend to overwhelm its host plant. If there is nothing available for it to climb, the lilac vine will thrive as a loosely spreading groundcover plant.

The deep green leaves of the lilac vine are evergreen with an elongated oval shape that comes to a point at the end. They have a tough, leather-like texture with prominent thick veins. The flowers bloom in large clusters on short hanging stems. They typically have four petals with two large oversized ones near the top of the blossom and two much smaller petals on the bottom part. They have a yellow center, and the petals are available in a range of colors including white and pink; pale violet is the most common hue.


Native to Australia, the lilac vine is found growing in the wild in areas including South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland. It is usually found in a variety of habitats from the coast to the mountains, including coastal heath, forests, open woodlands, and areas with rocky terrain. It thrives in an extremely warm climate and can tolerate relatively dry conditions. It's also popular as a decorative garden plant and is able to be grown successfully in cultivation in many parts of the world that have warm climates.

The lilac vine can be propagated using seeds or cuttings and is relatively easy to grow. The ideal planting location has well drained soil with full sun; it will tolerate partial shade but it may not bloom as abundantly. It can grow well in a variety of soil conditions, such as loam, clay, or sandy. During the growing season, it should be watered on a regular basis, but it can be watered less often during the winter. After the lilac vine flowers, the stems should be cut back to encourage renewed growth.


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