Cleome hassleriana. Big clusters of light pink flowers with reddish highlights and very long stamens appear above erect stems with spirally arranged leaves. You might not even notice the plant until the first flowers open - like roman candles in the garden! The flowers are very exotic looking, with quite a unique structure. Plants from Spider Flower Cleome seeds grow as tall as 150cm (60"), but usually a bit shorter on the coast. Spider Flowers are attractive to hummingbirds and beneficial insects. This native of southern South America is too tall for most containers, but it sure looks good planted in small groups in the garden.
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.