Plant Feature Friday: Cleome

Also known as Spider Flower, this plant is SO easy to grow. If you have a brown thumb, this is a plant for you!

2012 photo of Cleome in a friend's garden
2012 photo of Cleome in a friend’s garden

Scientific name: Cleome hassleriana – Common Name: Spider Flower

Appearance:  Tall flowering plant with a single pink, rose, and/or white flower cluster and green leaves growing close to stalk. Long seed pods grow grow out from below blooms. Does not become bushy unless multiple plants are grown together.

Height & Purpose: This annual tends to grow to about 4 ft tall by mid-summer and works very well for the back and center of beds. It can be used to encourage pollinators to visit your garden.

Planting: It reseeds prolifically – throw seeds down in the fall or early spring and you won’t have to think twice. Cleome can tolerate hot & dry weather, full sun, and poor soil. To encourage healthier plants, water occasionally and plant with compost. Does not require fertilizer. If too many start to grow in your bed, they are easy to pull and remove for disposal (just be careful of the thorns). When transplanting to encourage new batches, dig deep to get all of the taproot.

Habits: Besides reseeding, the lower leaves fade near the end of summer and can be hidden with other plants. Does not require deadheading. It also tends to lean over somewhat due to its height and weight. Once expired, flower petals and seeds quickly fall off.

Key points: Carefree, tall flowering annual, reseeds, heat & drought tolerant, pest/deer resistant!

I realized that I do not have any good photos of Cleome! I will have to take a few this summer and share one that adequately showcases their color and appearance.

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In other news, I have been thinking about how I would like to blog this spring. My blogging is always a bit sporadic due to my work schedule, but my ideal blogging schedule would be:

Tuesday: Tips for the Garden

Thursday: Try This!

Friday: Plant Feature

Saturday: Miscellaneous Photography

Tuesday and Saturday will be the most content variable depending on weekend trips. And blogging consistency will depend on my work schedule.

Some of the resources I use to educate myself are gardening periodicals and websites, personal experience, knowledge shared by a Master Gardener friend, and plant tags. One resource that is free and provided by our government are the US National Arboretum’s Gardening Questions and Answers pages. If you are in the Virginia Piedmont region and have questions, one free resource available is the Piedmont Master Gardeners’ website and help desk. One of these days I may go through their program to become a certified Master Gardener… my main interests are horticulture and photojournalism. While I would love to travel for a renown photojournalism periodical (such as National Geographic and LIFE), I also have a strong interest in the environment and knowing all I can about the natural world around me.

Anyway, thank you for visiting today! I hope you will come again.

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