How to Grow Cleome (Spider Flower)

How to grow cleome


Cleome, commonly known as the Spider Flower, is an annual plant that adds elegance to any garden landscape. For those looking to grow Cleome in their own gardens, rest assured that this plant thrives in a variety of conditions. From full sun to partial shade, and is adaptable to various soil types. Belonging to the Cleomaceae family, this resilient flowering plant is cherished for its unique appearance, characterized by long, slender stems adorned with clusters of delicate, spider-like blooms. With its vibrant hues ranging from white and pink to lavender and deep purple, Cleome effortlessly captivates the attention of both seasoned gardeners and novices alike. Whether planted in beds, borders, or containers, Cleome’s graceful silhouette and eye-catching flowers bring a sense of charm and allure to outdoor spaces.

With proper care and maintenance, Cleome can flourish and bloom abundantly throughout the growing season, attracting pollinators such as bees and butterflies to the garden. Whether you’re seeking to create a vibrant floral display or simply add a touch of whimsy to your outdoor oasis, incorporating Cleome into your landscape is sure to elevate its beauty and enchantment. So, roll up your sleeves, get your gardening tools ready, and let the magic of Cleome transform your outdoor space into a haven of natural splendor. Grow Cleome, and watch as your garden blossoms with charm and grace.

Different Cleome Varieties

There is a diverse range of varieties for gardeners:

  • Cleome Hassleriana, also known as the spider flower, is a beloved annual with delicate clusters of pink, purple, or white flowers, adding a touch of elegance to any garden.
  • On the other hand, Cleome Spinosa, or prickly spiderflower, boasts spiky seed pods and vibrant pink or purple blooms, bringing a unique texture to the landscape.
  • As for Cleome Gynandra, also known as African cabbage, it provides not only ornamental value with its small white or pink flowers but also a culinary appeal with its edible nature.
  • Lastly, Cleome Serrulata, the Rocky Mountain bee plant, stands out with its attractive pale pink to lavender flowers and is adaptable to a wide range of habitats, making it a versatile choice for various gardening environments.
  • Cleome ‘Senorita Rosalita’: A compact hybrid variety with vibrant pink flowers and improved heat tolerance, making it ideal for containers and smaller garden spaces.
  • Cleome ‘Sparkler Mix’: This variety offers a mix of colors, including shades of pink, white, and lavender, creating a dazzling display of blooms that lasts throughout the summer season.

Whether you prefer the classic appeal of Cleome hassleriana or the compact size and vibrant colors of hybrid varieties like ‘Senorita Rosalita’ and ‘Sparkler Mix,’ there’s a Cleome variety suited to enhance any garden with its beauty and charm.

Choosing the Right Location

To grow cleome plants efficiently, it’s essential to select a sun-drenched location, ensuring they receive 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Additionally, opting for well-draining soil is crucial to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot and other problems. For structural support and visual appeal, consider planting cleome near a fence or trellis, as their height may benefit from the assistance. It’s also important to avoid windy areas. Cleome plants have delicate stems that can be easily damaged in strong winds.

Understanding Sunlight Needs

Cleome, commonly known as spider flowers, thrive in sunny locations, relying on ample sunlight to blossom abundantly and retain their vivid hues. It’s important to carefully assess the chosen spot for your cleome, making sure it basks in consistent sunlight without any hindrances like shadows or tall structures. Without adequate sunlight, cleome plants may exhibit spindly growth and diminished flowering, underscoring the necessity of providing them with optimal sun exposure. In colder regions, planting cleome in south-facing areas can optimize their access to sunlight and warmth, fostering their growth and overall health.

Considering Soil Conditions and Drainage

To grow cleome successfully, it’s crucial to carefully assess the soil in the chosen location. Well-draining soil is essential to prevent water accumulation around the roots, which can potentially lead to root diseases. To grow cleome, loamy soil with good organic content promotes healthy root development and overall plant vitality. Incorporating organic matter such as compost into the soil serves to improve drainage and fertility, creating the optimal growing environment for your cleome plants. It’s important to steer clear of waterlogged or compacted soils, as they can hinder root growth and lead to stunted development in your beautiful cleome plants.

Planting and Watering Tips

When learning to grow Cleome, or spider flowers, it’s crucial to select a sun-drenched location with well-drained soil to ensure optimal growth. These stunning flowers thrive in full sunlight, so it’s important to provide them with the necessary light to blossom abundantly. Additionally, regular watering is essential to keep the soil consistently moist without waterlogging, promoting healthy growth and vibrant blooms. For a head start in growing these beautiful flowers, consider starting Cleome from seeds indoors before the last frost date, or opt for transplants to kickstart the process. To create a favorable environment for growth, mulch around the base of the Cleome plants to retain moisture and suppress weed growth, allowing them to flourish beautifully.

Starting from Seeds or Transplants

When starting to grow Cleome from seeds, it’s best to sow them directly into the garden bed once all danger of frost has passed, as they don’t transplant well. If you opt for transplants, be sure to gently loosen the root ball before planting them in prepared soil, allowing sufficient spacing between each plant for proper air circulation. After planting seeds or transplants, it’s crucial to provide consistent watering to establish strong root systems and encourage vigorous growth in the initial stages. Also, protecting young seedlings from harsh sun exposure and strong winds is essential, which can be done by providing temporary shade or using row covers until they are more established. This careful approach sets the stage for healthy, thriving Cleome plants in your garden.

Maintaining Adequate Moisture Levels

To ensure the optimal growth of your Cleome plants, it’s essential to monitor the soil moisture levels consistently. You can do this by gently inserting your finger into the soil; if it feels dry at a depth of about an inch, it’s time to water the plants. When watering, apply water at the base of the plants in the morning, allowing the foliage to dry during daylight hours, which helps reduce the risk of fungal diseases. During hot and dry periods, it’s crucial to increase the frequency of watering to ensure that the Cleome plants receive sufficient moisture to support their vibrant blooms and lush foliage. To avoid leaf spot diseases, refrain from using overhead watering methods and opt for soaker hoses or drip irrigation to deliver water directly to the root zone, ensuring the overall health and vitality of your stunning Cleome plants.

Maintenance and Care

Regular deadheading of spent flowers is a key practice that not only encourages continuous blooming but also keeps the cleome plants looking tidy. Because these plants thrive in well-draining soil, it’s crucial to avoid overwatering to prevent the onset of root rot, ensuring their health and vitality. Mulching around cleome plants is highly beneficial as it helps retain moisture, suppresses weeds, and maintains a consistent soil temperature, providing an optimal environment for growth. Additionally, inspecting the plants regularly for signs of pests or disease is crucial for early detection and effective treatment, safeguarding the stunning cleome plants from potential harm.

Pruning for Health and Aesthetics

Removing spent flower heads and leggy stems is a beneficial practice, as it not only promotes new growth but also enhances the overall appearance of the cleome plant. Additionally, trimming back one-third of the plant’s height in midsummer can prevent flopping and encourage bushier growth, creating a more robust and attractive display in the garden. It’s also essential to prune any yellowing or diseased foliage to maintain plant health and prevent the spread of infections within the garden. Regularly sanitizing pruning tools with rubbing alcohol further helps prevent the transmission of diseases between plants during pruning, ensuring the overall well-being of your cleome plants.

Fertilization and Pest Control

Applying a balanced fertilizer in early spring is a crucial step in providing essential nutrients for robust cleome growth and profuse flowering. This proactive approach ensures that the plants have the necessary resources to thrive and produce stunning blooms throughout the season. Additionally, opting for organic pest control methods, such as introducing beneficial insects like ladybugs, can effectively manage aphid infestations on cleome plants, safeguarding their health and vitality. Moreover, it’s important to avoid excessive use of nitrogen-rich fertilizers, as this can reduce the attractiveness of cleome plants to pests like spider mites and aphids, contributing to a more balanced and resilient garden ecosystem. To further enhance pest management, utilizing neem oil spray serves as an eco-friendly solution to control common pests like whiteflies while also protecting the population of beneficial insects in the garden, thus maintaining a natural balance and promoting overall plant health.

Harvesting and Seed Saving

To ensure the maximum freshness and longevity of your cleome flowers, it’s best to harvest them early in the morning when the dew has dried. When it comes to collecting cleome seeds, patience is key – wait until the seed pods are brown and dry before harvesting to ensure their maturity and viability. After the harvest, it’s important to store cleome seeds in a cool, dry place to maintain their quality for future planting seasons. Additionally, to save cleome seeds for the next planting cycle, allow the pods to fully mature on the plant before carefully removing them and storing them in a breathable container. These practices will help you preserve the quality and viability of your cleome seeds for successful future plantings.

Timing for Harvesting

When it comes to harvesting cleome flowers, timing is crucial for preserving their freshness and longevity. The best time to harvest these stunning blooms is when they are in full bloom, ideally early in the morning before the heat of the day causes them to wilt. However, it’s important to avoid harvesting them during rainy or overly humid days, as these conditions can compromise their quality. Similarly, for seed harvesting, it’s recommended to wait until late summer or early fall when the seed pods have turned brown and crispy on the plant. This ensures the maturity and viability of the seeds for successful seed saving, preventing loss and ensuring a bountiful harvest for future plantings.

Tips for Successful Seed Saving

When saving cleome seeds, it’s important to label the storage containers with the date of collection and any relevant details to track their viability. Keeping stored cleome seeds away from moisture and extreme temperatures is crucial to maintain their germination potential. Additionally, inspecting stored cleome seeds periodically for signs of mold or pests is essential. Discard any compromised seeds to preserve quality. Moreover, considering sharing saved cleome seeds with other gardeners or participating in seed exchange programs can promote biodiversity and community engagement, contributing to a more vibrant and connected gardening community.


In conclusion, when learning to grow cleome (spider flowers), choosing the right location with adequate sunlight and considering soil conditions and drainage is crucial for their thriving. Whether starting from seeds or transplants, maintaining adequate moisture levels and ensuring proper pruning, fertilization, and pest control practices are essential for their health and vitality. Harvesting and saving cleome seeds require careful timing and storage to maintain their quality for future plantings. By following these tips and practices, you can enjoy the beauty of cleome blooms while contributing to a vibrant and connected gardening community. Happy gardening!

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