Growing Guide
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Annual Flower

Also known as Spider Flower
Cleome hasslerana
Capparidaceae Family
Synonym: Cleome pungens, Cleome spinosa

A tall annual that fills space rapidly, the delicate, spidery blooms and lacy foliage of Cleome provide a natural backdrop for annual gardens and building structures.

Site Characteristics
  • full sun
  • part shade

Soil conditions:

  • tolerates droughty soil
  • tolerates low fertility

Special locations:

  • outdoor containers
  • xeriscapes
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: annual

Ease-of-care: easy

Height: 3 to 5 feet

Spread: 2 to 4 feet

Bloom time:

  • mid-summer
  • late summer
  • early fall

Flower color:

  • yellow
  • violet
  • white
  • pink

Foliage color: medium green

Foliage texture: fine

Shape: upright

Shape in flower: same as above

Special Considerations
  • heat
Special characteristics:
  • deer resistant
  • aggressive - Self-seeds readily.
  • non-invasive
  • not native to North America - Caribbean
  • fragrant - Has a strong fragrance, which some people find offensive. Plant away from living areas. Aroma may be too strong to use as a cut flower in closed rooms.
  • beneficial insects
  • butterflies
  • hummingbirds
Special uses:
  • cut flowers
  • direct-seeding
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by seed - Plants seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost, or outdoors after danger of frost is passed. Self-seeds readily.

Germination temperature: 70 F to 75 F

Days to emergence: 7 to 14

Maintenance and care:
May require staking. Deadhead to prevent self-seeding. It tends to get leggy on its lower stems, and other plants should be planted near its base to hide this. The stems are often covered with spines.

Plants purchased in cell-packs with crowded roots may develop slowly or may not grow at all if the crowded roots stop growing.

More growing information: How to Grow Annuals

Look for varieties with different colors, later blooming

‘Queen’ Series: variety of flower colors on 3 to 4’ plants. Dense plants will make hedge if planted together in a row.

‘Serrulato Solo’: the only thornless Cleome, this plant is friendly to human and animal garden visitors alike. Pinkish white flowers.

‘Helen Campbell’: Large, pure white flowers on 4’ tall plants. Very stately and showy.