Growing and caring for the Cleome, also known as spider flower, is worth all the beauty that this long-stalked flower will bring to your garden. White, pink, or lavender flowers perch above stalks that can grow up to six feet long. It is highly attractive to hummingbirds.
Cleome likes full sun although it can tolerate some shade. Although it are drought-tolerant, Cleome should be watered regularly for best results. Plant cleome spider flower in a sunny location in average soil, and place plants one to three feet apart. Work in a slow-release fertilizer or compost when planting. Plant seeds after the last frost, or start inside four to six weeks before frost free date and germinate in temperatures of at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Seeds take up to two weeks to germinate. Once established, this plant will self-seed and should be thinned to avoid overcrowding.
If you plant cleome spider flowers in windy locations, or in shade, stake the plants to prevent them from flopping.
If you choose to fertilize your cleome, do so every six to eight weeks with a general purpose fertilizer. Provide extra water during hot weather.
Lower leaves will fall off in the fall. Fill in with companion plantings. After the first frost, when the plants die, pull up and discard the old plants. Be aware that cleome has spines and sharp edges so wear gloves when handling.
Grow cleome at the back of the garden and use geraniums or bachelor buttons as companion plants. Cleome is the most dramatic if several are planted together.