This pretty annual is called the spider flower or spider plant because of its long stamens that resemble spider legs. If you like unusual or exotic plants, this beauty is a must for your garden! But do be careful, if you live in a warm climate this plant has a reputation for self sowing and overtaking the garden. However as the roots are fairly shallow any rogue plants are easy to pull out, just wear gloves!
Native to South America, cleome will grow 3-5 ft tall and is quite bushy. A perfect filler for gaps between perennials or as a “stand alone” plant.
This somewhat stinky plant is deer resistant but can be difficult to work with due to its sharp edged spines. They will attract many butterflies, honeybees, bumblebees, humming birds & other nectar lovers.
You can easily sow these plants from seed straight to the ground, or if you prefer you can start them off indoors and plant in early spring. Just be sure to plant cleomes in full sun and water regularly, do not over-water.
Cleome blooms from late spring to early fall and comes in a gorgeous deep purple, pink or white. It’s important to note that if you mix the colours with your original planting, when they self seed the colours tend to fade over the years. For this reason most gardeners prefer to stick to one colour to keep it “true”.
Once you have cleomes in your garden you can easily collect your own seeds! Just wait for the seed pods to dry out while still on the plant then pick them, carefully! You’ll find the pods open easily and will spill their seeds into your hand.
Oh & don’t be shocked when looking at the foliage of the cleome as it highly resembles the marijuana plant!