Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Glory Pea, Sturt's Desert Pea
Swainsona formosa

Family: Papilionaceae (pa-pil-ee-uh-NAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Swainsona (SWAIN-soh-nuh) (Info)
Species: formosa (for-MOH-suh) (Info)

Synonym:Clianthus formosus
Synonym:Clianthus speciosus

19 members have or want this plant for trade.


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Scarlet (Dark Red)
Dark Purple/Black

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer


Other details:
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
Scarify seed before sowing

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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Thumbnail #1 of Swainsona formosa by lmfclcl

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By mystic
Thumbnail #3 of Swainsona formosa by mystic

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Thumbnail #4 of Swainsona formosa by Evert

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Thumbnail #6 of Swainsona formosa by kennedyh

By kennedyh
Thumbnail #7 of Swainsona formosa by kennedyh

There are a total of 14 photos.
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3 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive weatherguesser On Aug 15, 2014, weatherguesser from Salinas, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Grew this from seed bought while visiting our son in the Sydney area. Planted several in small coir pots in cactus soil with some smoke stuff. Managed to keep one alive and planted it in May in the front yard where it gets pretty much full sun most of the day. Soil is topsoil mixed with sand. It gets watered lightly about once a week and is thriving -- currently has 5 flower heads fully open and another 2 in bud. Flowers seem to last quite a while (my first ones are 3 weeks old and still look great). Beautiful, unusual, and pretty easy to grow. Now if it'll just make it through the Zone 9B winter..... I'll be collecting seeds from it, too -- want to get several more growing.

Neutral indoorgardens On Apr 20, 2009, indoorgardens from Columbus, OH wrote:

Can you eat the peas / pods off this plant?

Positive mocjack On Nov 3, 2008, mocjack from Richmond, TX wrote:

Holy cow... Two days to germinate? I heard this was a tough one to SOW...

Soaked seeds in CAPE smoke primer for 24 hours. Planted in a mix of WonderGrow Reground and River Sand - just barely damp.

48 hours later and I have 15+ sprouting! I will update more later! =)

UPDATE: The CAPE smoke primer makes a huge difference. I now have about 22 of these guys growing under light... Will be transplanted to a very sunny but rain-sheltered area outside after the final frost. WOOT!!

Neutral Crimson On Feb 21, 2003, Crimson from Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b) wrote:

Tender Perennial for zones 9-10. Prefers a full sun, sheltered from strong winds site and very deeply dug, dry, sandy soil (wet kills it!). Before sowing, soak the seed for 24 hours, then sow žin deep and protect from excess wet by covering the area with a plastic sheet. Ground temp. should be around 65-70F when sowing. It did not survive being dug up and moved inside for the winter.... perhaps not enough sun. I had to protect it during the rainy season and and any time it started to get too damp it immediately got sickly looking, it was definately a desert plant.

Positive mystic On Aug 31, 2002, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

I have really enjoyed this plant this year. I have tried to grow it for 2 years this year I experimented with the seeds and mixed some sand in my starter mix. The ones I planted in the starter mix and sand germintated the ones in just starter mix didn't. I think to since we have had such a hot dry summer has helped it to bloom too.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Tonopah, Arizona
Salinas, California
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Richmond, Texas

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