Q. Is Cleome easy to grow?
Spider flower, botanical name Cleome, is easy to grow. This pretty plant can self-seed easily. It is Native to South America. It is a fast-growing annual that typically rises to 3-6’ tall on rigid stems. Dense elongated terminal racemes of pink, purple or white spider-like flowers with protruding stamens bloom from summer to frost. Flowers are sweetly fragrant. Flowers are followed by thin seedpods that ripen to brown before splitting open and dispersing the seed within. Aromatic, sticky, palmate green leaves with 5-7 lance-shaped leaflets have sharp spines at the base of each leaf stalk. Attractive to hummingbirds (nectar), birds (seed) and butterflies.
Cleome is best grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun, and tolerates light shade. Give consistent watering during the growing season, but once established, plants will tolerate some drought. Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date or plant seed directly in the garden after last frost date. Collect seedpods from favorite plants in fall for planting the following spring. If seedpods are not promptly removed, plants will self-seed, often aggressively. Hybrids may not come true from seed.
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