Cleome serrulata. Sow some Rocky Mountain Bee Plant seeds around the edge of your organic vegetable garden for dramatically improved pollination. This native of BC (and the Rockies southward) is highly attractive to bees, and has been used by First Nations people as a food, medicine, and dye plant. The seeds can be eaten raw or cooked. This is a wonderfully architectural, tall Cleome has large flower clusters from purple to pink to white. This elegant annual grows to a height of 150cm (60"), and is suited for Zones 3-10. Rocky Mountain Bee Plant blooms from July to August, and will die back at first frost.
Cleome is very easy to grow once established, and may work best from direct-sown seeds. Any ordinary garden soil will work, including dry areas once plants are established. Cleome self-sows with gusto, so if you want to avoid this, remove flower heads before seeds ripen. Excellent for xeriscaping. Annual flowers native to South America.
Season & Zone
Exposure: Full sun or very light shade
Start indoors from mid-February to late March for transplanting (or direct sow) 3-4 weeks after last frost – around late-April. Continue direct sowing outdoors into May. Seeds will sprout in 10-14 days.
Sow on the surface of the soil. If starting indoors, seeds benefit from vernalization: Place seeds on the surface of moistened, sterilized seed starting mix in pots, and place pots in zip-top plastic bags inside the refrigerator for 2 weeks. Then move pots to bottom heat and maintain soil temperature at 21-25°C (70-75°F) until germination. Provide bright light.