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How to Grow Cleome - The Spider Flower

Annual, Cleome Hassleana, Spinosa

Often called the "Spider Flower", Cleomes are an easy to grow annual. This plant produces an elegant display of spider-like flowers.  Long seed pods develop, as the upright flower blooms grow, progressing up the stem and giving it the appearance of spider legs. They are right at home in your flower garden, or grown as a wildflower. Cleome plants are native to South America, with 19 species.

Spider Flowers have long, strong stems. As the stems grow, wispy flower blooms develop upward along the stem in colors of pink, magenta and ivory. The large blooms are 6-8 inches across.

Cleome looks best planted and growing in mass along the back of your flower garden. These tall plants are also good as borders and fence lines.

While Spider Flowers make good cut flowers, they have a musky scent that some people do not like.

Cleome attracts birds, butterflies, hummingbirds, and bats. Bats are frequent pollinators.

Cleome plants  are drought and heat tolerant.

Plant Height: Plants grow 2-6 feet, depending upon variety.

Other Names: Spider Flower

Cleome Propagation:

Cleome are grown from seed. They are prolific reseeders.

Sow seeds outdoors in the spring, after the last frost in your area, and after the soil has warmed up.

You can also start plants indoors, 4-6 weeks before the last frost.

Days to Germination: 10 - 14 days

How to Grow Cleome - Spider Flowers:

Fast growing Cleome is easy to grow.

Select a location with full sunlight to light shade.

The plants grow well in average to good soil that is well draining.

Ideal soil pH: 6.0 - 7.0

Mix in a little compost into the soil at planting time. Fertilize plants once a month, with a general purpose fertilizer.

Plants tolerate a little crowding. Weed young plants to help them get off to a good start.

Water plants evenly throughout the growing period. Plants are somewhat heat and drought tolerant. They should be fine during mid-summer.

Mulch around plants to maintain a neat and tidy appearance.

Pruning plants is helpful to maintain appearance, create bushier plants, and to prolong blooms. Pinch growing tips of young plants. Prune away any dead leaves, stems and branches. You can also remove seed pods, but that will take away from the "Spider Flower" look. 

Flowers Bloom: Summer to Fall

Insect and Disease:

Insect and disease problems are infrequent.

Keep an eye out for aphids, spider mites and whiteflies.

Apply an insecticide, only if needed.


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