Cleome (syn. Peritoma serrulata) is a member of the spider flower family and should be grown as such. It is a perennial plant that should be grown as an annual. They grow well in both sun and shade, although they will need to be fertilized with compost.
Planning what to plant in your garden takes some consideration. There are many factors that may influence what you plant and where. If you’re creating a flower garden you need to think about low maintenance plants and preferably those that self-seed and grow easily. Colour and foliage are also important if you want to have a beautiful display, and it helps if you can stagger blooming seasons across the year.
One plant that is commonly found in gardens across the USA is the Cleome. There are many different species of cleome – often called the spider flower or spider leg because of its spindly nature – and the choice of colours ranges from white through to deep purples and more. With attractive foliage and beautiful blooms, the cleome should be high on your list for any flower bed.
So, is cleome easy to grow? Where is it native to, and what level of maintenance does the cleome plant requires? These are all questions that we will answer in the article that follows, and we’ll begin by looking at where the plant grows in the wild.
Where Does Cleome Come From?
Cleome species are found native in the USA, in South America and in the West Indies. Furthermore, a popular species named Cleome Serrulata is native to southern Canada as well as Northern and Western parts of the USA. This plant is perhaps the most popular variety as it grows easily and strongly in most parts of the USA and Canada. Put simply, there are few plants that you can grow in your garden that give as much pleasure for little effort as the cleome, so let’s see how best to grow this charming and very pretty plant.
How to Grow Cleome
We recommend you check out other sources of gardening and plant care advice to get to know more about the cleome and how best to cultivate it. Most authority sources will recommend sowing seeds in the place you want to grow your cleome spider flowers. Where is best for the plant?
The great thing about this wonderful plant is that it will grow just about anywhere. It can tolerate full sunlight or shade, and as long as the soil you plant it in is well drained the seeds should thrive. We recommend you ensure that seeds are pushed into the soil rather than sprinkled on top, and that a bird scarer is put in place to deter our feathered friends from making a meal of your new seeds!
Can you start cleome seeds indoors? It is possible but the fact the seeds germinate readily outdoors makes the complex and labour-intensive method of indoor cultivation one that is not worth the time and effort expended. Look for a good spot to populate with cleome seeds, put them in the ground and keep them watered, and you’ll soon see the shoots appearing and the flowers will follow.
Best planted in a large group, growing from seed will give you a fantastic and vibrant display of these tall and slender plants and a flash of wonderful colour throughout the summer and lasting until the first frosts set in.
Is Cleome High Maintenance?
Put simply, no! This is one plant that is best left alone to do its own thing apart from keeping it watered in hotter climates and where there is regular full sunlight. These are drought-tolerant plants once they become established and will put up with even the harshest of US summers. As the cleome self-seeds, once you have an established patch it will reappear each year, making this a value for money investment that will cost you next to nothing when buying the seeds.
Cleome Care Tips
If you have a cleome patch and are looking for further advice here are a few tips that might help you care for these beautiful spider flowers more easily:
- Transplanting older cleome plants is often unsuccessful. They like to remain where they are established and like many garden plants to not react well to a change of location.
- The cleome will self-seed and produce another crop unless you have seeds for one of the later dwarf varieties. If you’re looking for the beauty of cleome and its fragrant scent – and a repeat crop – avoid these dwarf options as the seeds are sterile and they have no scent.
- The only real maintenance we do recommend for the cleome is deadheading spent flowers. As every gardener knows, with just about all species of flowering plant this will encourage further blooms and lengthen the flowering season of the cleome.
- If you have a vegetable patch it is worth planting cleome among the food plants you are growing. The cleome attracts insects that are beneficial to the garden and that eat regular vegetable plant pests with vigour.
- The cleome may be the lowest maintenance flower of all in US gardens and remains a favourite its mix of glorious colour, attractive foliage, and a spectacular display when planted as a group.
What other reasons are there for growing cleome? There’s one important benefit we’d like to mention before we finish.
Some Varities of Cleome flowers
Cleome is a genus of flowering plants in the family Cleomaceae. The genus includes about 170 species, most of which are native to the Americas; one species is native to Africa and one to Eurasia. One-third of the species are found in south-west China and many others in Europe and North America.
Some varieties and Cleome hybrid flowers:
- Common cleome (Cleome hassleriana)
- Wavy petal cleome (C. crispula)
- Lanceleaf cleome (C. lanceolata)
- Cleome Gynandra
- Senorita Blanca Cleome
- Cleome Rutidosperma
- Cleome Viscosa
- Cleome Spinosa Jacq
- Cleome Isomeris
Gardening is Good for You
It has been scientifically proven that enjoying your garden is good for you especially in terms of mental health issues. Indeed, doctors recommend that persons suffering depression take up a hobby and gardening is high among those suggested. The combination of getting outside in the sunlight and fresh as well as watching plants grow from seed to bloom is both invigorating and satisfying, and few things can make you smile as much as knowing the beautiful plants you are admiring and tending have been grown by your own hand.
Whether you are an experienced gardener or are a novice the cleome comes highly recommended for all the reasons mentioned above. It’s cheap to buy the seeds, simple to sow them, and the maintenance level is pretty much negligible, so start looking for your cleome seeds and choose a patch for a beautiful display of colour.