Scarlet Pea

Scarlet Pea

Neda Smith spotted this gorgeous native groundcover in Jonestown. She reports that this low-growing, ground cover vine gets full sun and seems to be immune to heat and lack of water. Upon investigation, she learned that this is native scarlet pea, Indigofera miniata, a tender perennial, sometimes deciduous, mounding groundcover that bears salmon pink flowers from spring through fall.

Scarlet pea is hardy to zone 8, so it will need protection if we have any unusually harsh winter days, and in colder climates; or, you could treat it as annual, replacing it every year.

It tolerates many different soil types, from well-drained sandy to clay, and isn’t sensitive to be being either overwatered or kept a little on the dry side.

Plant scarlet pea in full sun or part shade, and give it about 18 to 24 inches of space to spread.

Although it’s listed to get up to 36 inches tall, it more often trails on the ground and mounds up on itself, to maybe about 12 inches. The salmon/coral flowers attract butterflies all summer long. You can shear to remove spent blooms, but it isn’t usually necessary. And a light pruning in late winter will encourage healthy new growth in spring.