Cleome, or spider flower, is an annual known for its exceedingly long seedpods. They develop below the flowers as bloom progresses upward on the stalk to give the plants a spidery look, as do the projecting stamens of the flowers.
Description: Cleome flowers, with many opening at once, grow in airy racemes, or clusters of flowers, six to eight inches in diameter. Cleome flowers come in white, pink, or lavender. They perch atop stems that grow up to six feet high.
How to grow: Cleome grows well in average soil located in full or nearly full sun. It is very drought-tolerant, though it will look and grow better if it is watered well. Space spider flower plants one to three feet apart.
Propagation: Sow after the last frost when the ground is warm. Cleomes may also be started indoors four to six weeks earlier at a temperature of at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Germination time is 10 to 14 days. In the garden, it reseeds prolifically and should be thinned.
Uses: Plant cleome for its height, to back up borders, in the center of island beds, or in any spot where its dramatic quality stands out.
Related varieties: Helen Campbell is a popular white variety. Rose Queen is salmon-pink, and Ruby Queen is rose colored. Sparkler is a newer strain that grows three to four feet tall, not six.
Scientific name: Cleome hasslerana
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