Danger: Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling
Bloom Color: Pink Violet/Lavender White/Near White
Bloom Time: Late Spring/Early Summer Mid Summer Late Summer/Early Fall
Foliage: Dark/Black Bronze-Green Aromatic
Other details: Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Soil pH requirements: 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral) 7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
Patent Information: Non-patented
Propagation Methods: From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse From seed; stratify if sowing indoors From seed; sow indoors before last frost From seed; direct sow after last frost
Seed Collecting: Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored
On Jul 13, 2012, Lysander from East Bridgewater, MA wrote:
Two years ago I purchased three deep purple cleomes, and planted them in my flower garden (mildly formal style with a hybrid tea rose bush in the middle). The rose was supposed to be the large, outstanding star of the garden, but the cleomes grew huge–5’ high and 4’ wide–and took over the south end. They attracted plenty of “good” pollinating insects, mainly butterflies, honeybees, and bumblebees. They looked great near the yellow rocket snapdragons, which were about the same height. Passersby commented on the deep purple color, and a plumber who came to repair our tub faucet asked us if he could have a seed pod, so he could plant a deep purple among his “washed out pink” plants. I gave him handfuls and he’s very happy with them. I’m amused at how the pods just pop open into your hands to release their seeds.
We don’t mind the skunky smell, which often smells more flowery than skunky. My husband thinks they smell like his favorite beer.
Last year their “babies” started coming up in nearly every inch of the garden, including the paths, so I had to remove them. First I started by potting them to be transplanted, but then I had full pots everywhere, so I sadly had to yank them like weeds. They still kept popping up everywhere. I finally gave in to a few beauties and let them stay, but I removed seed pods immediately when they appeared—a successful idea.
I then created a new garden specifically for cleomes, where I planted the largest of the potted ones, leaving loads of others to give away. The transplants looked great last year and retained their deep purple color, although a couple of them had very few sporadic pink and white blossoms mixed in with the purple. When transplanting, you need to dig deep to get the taproot.
This year’s cleome garden is loaded, in spite of having saved more than half of last year’s seed pods to give away, so I put some in pots and transplanted others to make the garden more uniformly populated, but more and more plants keep coming up, so now I can’t even reach in to weed a few areas. I’ll probably end up yanking some, but they look so gorgeous I don’t know how I’ll have the heart to do it.
I love the cleome flowers! I see there is only the lavender, white and pink listed as the colors they come in but, I have them in a rose pink and a light pink, also there are 2 shades of the lavender, one light and one dark, and the white but, I also have them in red and yellow, are they common in the red and yellow also or do I have a rareity here? Can anyone answer this as to their knowledge of them? Maybe you, Dave!
On May 29, 2011, genel from Avondale Estates, GA wrote:
I have been growing cleomes every year since 1974, in Connecticut and the Atlanta area. Always had great luck with them and have seen the whole color range from white to dark purple. They are among the easiest flowers to grow and I give them away to friends and neighbors every year. It's always fun to see what colors show up every summer. The smell is really not unpleasant, kind of spicey and I do get the hummingbirds.
On May 18, 2011, sunkissed from Winter Springs, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:
I've never seen this plant before until this spring when a local nursery had it. I loved the flowers and bought a white one and put it in my sandy garden soil. It just stands out with its tall erect white spider flowers. I then found some pale pink ones at Lowe's and debated whether I wanted to spend six bucks for one. But they were full and beautiful and I gave in and not only bought one but two. I planted both of those in a mid day sunny spot in my garden back in late March. They have never not had flowers on them and are one of my favorite blooms. They have developed many seeds which for now I'm letting them do their own thing and fall to the ground. I don't know if they'll reseed and come back next year, I sure hope so. But if they don't I won't hesitate to spend six bucks on one and plant it in my garden. We see hummers and bees visit them daily.
On Aug 16, 2010, JudyMorgan from Greenbush on Virginia's Eastern Shore, VA (Zone 7b) wrote:
I have lots of pink cleome seeds to give if any one will send me their address and 50 cents for mailing. I guess you have to trust me to send the seed; don't know how else to do it. I'm on the eastern shore of Virginia. email@example.com
On Aug 16, 2010, Lindablu99 from Woodstock, NY wrote:
I love cleomes! I've planted them for years as they are not on the deer's list of edibles! I wouldn't say they deter the deer, but they pass up the cleomes and move on to something they like. Around here in the Hudson Valley, the deer seem to have a very wide palate and eat many things I've been told they won't touch.
I love the flowers and the skunky smell they emit, and those thorns don't bother me at all. They do pop up almost anywhere but I love the random appearance in my gardens. This is one of my most beloved plants every year!
On Aug 5, 2010, melrosemiss from Hatboro, PA wrote:
Grows like crazy, reseeds itself voraciously. Alive and well in Hatboro, PA. Before we knew what it was, we all (In this senior community) wondered why it looked so much like marijuana! None of us has detected any skunkish odor. We started with one plant about three years ago. There has been no intentional reseeding. We now have about 3 dozen separate plants from deep to pale pink.
On Apr 11, 2010, muttlover from Quincy, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:
I moved into a house where the garden had been kept immaculately by the prior owner. I like mine to have a taste of chaos. The Cleomes were there when I moved in. They suited both the prior garden and my own. I didn't know what they were for years - called them my fake marijuana - and somehow wasn't surprised to find them growing at Jefferson's Monticello. They did fine the 18 years I lived in my house, self-seeded readily, and provided color in hard to please places - even moving several yards away on their own to screen the garbage can. They didn't mind clay. I never had hummingbirds, but they attracted one of my favorite bugs - hummingbird moths. They had very small thorns on their stems, which aren't bad if you are pulling them up while little. But they would get 4-5 feet high and those stalks were tough and ouchy. Always had to wear gloves to pull those out. This year I'm trying to start them again - seeds from a friend to whom I'd given seeds originally. They are beautiful flowers and great for sharing with friends.
On Oct 13, 2009, RussS from Saint Louis, MO wrote:
I purchased some mixed Cleome seeds a few years ago. They have re-seeded themselves every year and can be invasive. This should not be a problem because the roots are not very deep and they are very easy to pull out if you wish to thin them out or remove them completely. This fall I have collected the seed pods and am able to give them away to friends and co-workers. I live on the corner at the entrance way to our subdivision and have them growing in a bed behind a rock wall that is about 3 1/2 feet tall. I get all kinds of positive comments about the attractiveness of flowers. Nothing could be any easier to grow.
On Oct 4, 2009, bustedbygma from Fenton, MO wrote:
Well.....thanks to my grandmas garden in her front yard, she now knows everyone in my friends/family that smoke pot.....everyone always has their nose in the garden! That being said, they are a gorgeous flower, but grandma says that they spread like wild fire...
On Jun 19, 2008, Sabrina1978 from Gibsonburg, OH wrote:
I've grown this for seven years now. My mother started a wild flower seed garden and these did well and gave me some seeds. I love it! It does self sow quite easily....many years after the fist planting. I do pull quite a lot, but that means much less moving of plants for me! Example, I grew three along a nothern wall of my garage in 02. I did not have a bed there......Just kept mowing year after year.....I put a bed in this location (2008) and have noticed seedlings there. Also I have noticed seedlings as far as 60 yards plus in other areas. I also cut mine down each fall and throw them in a corner of a field...that corner is completely fillied whith cleome. For someone that has clay soil, I find this a blessing in my 'english' garden.
I've successfully transplanted many seedlings. Only have lost a few out of dozens. They need some special care at first, but once they take off...boy do they! I will mention that they do look wilty for a week or two, but as long as you see green....you WILL get more cleome.
I have purple, pink, and white. Purple I have the most of, and the pink seeds I save because it is rare in my garden..and my favorite color. However the white is the rarest and since I have white house I let those be. Sometimes have a mix of pink and white (in the whole flower iteself).
I've had them be scrawny or bushy, depending on space and care. Topping does help with "bushiness". I love them....not for the no maintenence gardener in the spring. You can rake them when small instead of pulling.
Also, in my zone 5 area, it does take quite awhile to get to the flowering stage....can be annoying if you want a full garden NOW. This is a great annual to fill in those emply spots.
On Jun 2, 2008, patrice10 from Aquebogue, NY wrote:
I have tried time and again to get cleomes to "take" for me; I've collected seeds and scattered them in the fall, this year bought seed and planted them; nothing!! I will keep trying, as I love to see them in gardens.
On Jun 27, 2007, canalove from Niagara Falls Canada wrote:
This plant is Beautiful, it's not for everyone, it does look and smell kinda like a canabis plant. But Cannabis plants are beautiful too. It's grows nice indoors beside a window. But it can go wild on you. So take care of your friend and trim it during the end of blooming. I've had no problems!
On Mar 13, 2007, WUVIE from Hulbert, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:
While Cleome has a minty smell, it is not one you
would delight in smelling as you would a rose.
Instead, it has a scent of 'presence', if you will.
It would be best to get an early start with this one,
as it seems even in long growing seasons it takes
a while to get going. If you don't want additional plants
the next year, you would be best to watch the skinny
pea-like pods before they pop open, releasing hundreds
A very nice plant with interesting foliage. Always
welcome in my garden.
On Jul 20, 2006, pleasing from Mansfield, AR (Zone 7a) wrote:
cleome grows very well in western ar, it seems to thrive on the humidity that we have here, growing fast and producing flowers early. Mine has come up in a crack in my rock bed and is spitting it out, very hardy! Although it is plesent to look at, it does have a airomatic smell of a skunk,producing seed that spread profusily. These seed can spread in a very large area, very quickly. They do need management and controll. Seed appear to not propogate every year, perhaps a hardiness that will continue the success of this species. A good icon in any garden.
On Feb 25, 2006, catcollins from West Friendship, MD (Zone 6b) wrote:
This plant can easily become invasive in central Maryland. When we moved into this house the entire north side was a thick field of spider flowers that had apparently been allowed to self seed for several years. They were lovely, but we soon discovered they were choking out some very nice plants, including azalea, hosta, liriope, butterfly weed, allium, and lillies. Since we moved in during late summer and the plants were already seeding out, we had no choice but to try to cut and individually bag this field of flowers to prevent another thicket next year. The thorns and foul smelling foliage made this a very unpleasant task. The following spring through summer, I ripped out hundreds of seedlings. The flowers are truly striking on bouquets, but I'm all done with these.
On Apr 5, 2004, JenniesWorld from Spencer, WV wrote:
This exotic looking plant is very hardy in this part of West Virginia (West Central). It appeared the summer after we bought our house, in of all places, the dog pen! The tall flower spikes beautified the area and provided shade for the Poodles during the hot summer days. Even with five Standard Poodles (the great big ones), these flowers did not get crushed down. The next year they came up in the front yard in the flower beds and we watched the relatively rare Hummingbird Moths feed on them. The carpenter bees, Orchard Bees, Honey Bees, etc. all fed on them as well. These are in clay soil which is very often soggy from all our rains, or dried out hard in the heat of the summer droughts (usually July-August). They grow well with the Evening Primrose and attract the same type of pollenators. Jennie
On Mar 28, 2004, DavidPat5 from Chicago, IL wrote:
For the first 3 years I just let the seeds fall where they may and thinned them a bit. The plants only got about 1 1/2 to 2 foot tall with one main flower. Last year I started them inside and planted them 2 foot apart. I could'nt believe how tall and bushy they got! I did'nt know they could get so many flowers. :)
On Sep 20, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:
I have tried for several years to grow Cleome from seed, without any success. I really want this plant in my yard, as I saw some really huge plants in the Atlanta, Georgia, area some years ago and fell in love with them.
I now have several packets of seed of the "Rose Queen" variety stored loose in a plastic bag all mixed with some potting soil taking up space in my refrigerator, and early next Spring I will try again with some properly "stratified" seed. I have never seen these plants offered at a nursery, so perhaps at first they are difficult to germinate, even though once established they seem to thrive and self sow every year.
On Sep 14, 2003, woodspirit1 from Lake Toxaway, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:
If you don't pinch them back too much in the early growing stages, they tend to be upright and shouldn't take up too much space. Cleome can cross-pollinate and eventually you get rather washed-out, boring pink blossoms.
I favor the dark purple ones and do not grow others because I don't want to lose that color. I suppose that you could raise others some distance away.
On Sep 7, 2003, littlematchgirl from Darby, PA wrote:
The lovely "Spider Flower" appeared mysteriously in our backyard also (we live southwest of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.) Since I assumed it was a wildflower, my homeschooled son and I went out with A Field Guide To Wildflowers. Amazingly (read: much maternal pride), he found it, and that's how we discovered it was a "Spider Flower". The field guide describes it as "alien" and "a garden escape" which I guess is a clue as to how it arrived in our backyard. Since we identified it in a wildflower guide I was astonished to find its seeds for sale on eBay and garden sites raving about it.
Since our property is very small, (I'm looking for a proper name for my garden; does anyone know how to say "postage stamp" - as in "no bigger than" - in French?) I'm concerned, since I have also learned it grows quite large and multiplies rapidly. Must decide what to do with this fabulous little beauty.
This plant was growing in the yard when we bought our house 13 years ago. I had never seen it before and thought it must be some tropical flower. I love this annual, which comes back every year and needs to be thinned, in order for the plants to become tall and bloom to their fullest capacity.
I have seen them grow to 5 and 6 foot tall, when given enough sunshine and space! I have all colors, but the deep purple are my favorite. They need average watering and seem to enjoy Miracle-Gro (water soluble fertilizer) or something similiar. I have given seed to all my friends and nieghbors who love these plants too!
On Jul 17, 2003, thelaughingkoi from Mapleton, IL wrote:
This is a great plant! Extremely easy to cultivate. I even had Cleome hasslerana seedlings sprout after heavily tilling a nursery bed where they had been started and a month after young plants moved. Terrific background planting. Mine show wide variety of colors including a deep maroon flower. Self-seeds prolifically.
On Jul 14, 2003, judiartist from Phoenixville, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:
I've also heard cleome called "sparklers." I grew some very successfully in planter boxes in a roof garden a couple of years ago. Neglecting to thin what self-seeded produced weak plants following year. I found seeds I'd saved from 2 years ago after moving and sowed them in a cold frame. They are doing beautifully in my new yard in spite of age of the seeds!
I had no idea what kind of flower this was until I found this site and saw the pictures here. I live in Kentucky and noticed this plant growing in my flower bed, so I let it grow to see what it was; I'm glad I did, it is so pretty. Could have a bird dropped the seed? I never planted it myself. However it got there, I'm glad it did!
On Mar 22, 2003, debi_z from Springfield, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:
What a joy this annual is. I bought a mix of 12 at a local nursery, planted them and was surprised at how beautiful they are - the flowers are just so delicate and airy.
Then they grew and grew and grew. By first frost (October 15 here in Massachusettes, U.S.), mine had grown to six feet in full sun, in full sun; however, those I planted in another bed in a part-sun location never got over 2 feet tall and died over the course of the summer.
I've read that they don't like to be transplanted, but that would only explain half of them dying. (There was an unidentified bug near my trellis and the cleome...)
They are the easiest seeds to collect - I went out with a business-size white envelope and just touched the seed pods and the seeds fell right into the envelope.
On Aug 1, 2002, haighr from Hagerstown, MD (Zone 6a) wrote:
I adore having these in the garden every year. I find they add quite a bit of interest as mine have always gotten quite tall (up to 5'). I don't recommend them for floral arrangements as they do not last long once cut. I keep the seed over winter and sow in the spring, as I have never had much luck in them reseeding themselves.
On Jul 29, 2002, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:
Definitely a plant for the far rear of the border. Tall, well branched, very stinky, extra-large, globular flowerheads that bloom for months, beginning soon after germination.
Some varieties are thornier than others; all have sticky sap covering the plant. Seeds must be thorougly dried before storing, they mold quickly otherwise. Removing seedpods before ripening will help control self-sown seedlings the following years.
I planted Cleome hasslerana for the first time this year and the the results have been fantastic. The only downside is I live in the hot and humid southern U.S., and the plants seem to need watering every day when the temperature is high.
I have seen many bumblebees and butterflies visiting these plants, but I have yet to see a hummingbird go to it. I am hoping the plants will self-seed as I have read they do. I planted them in the back of my garden and they look absolutely beautiful. I am not sure of the kind I purchased, but I think it was the 'Royal Mix'.
On Nov 5, 2000, poppysue from Westbrook, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:
Definitely eye-catching, this self-seeding annual will form a shrub when content. The unusual flowers have 5 or 6 thread-like stamens that grow to 3-inches long and give it a spidery appearance. Plants grow 4 feet tall and can branch out to 4 feet wide. It's tolerant of drought conditions and poor soils and it continues to flower until a killing frost.
The foliage is slightly sticky and the thick stems have spines - so beware if you use it for cut flowers. It comes in colors of rose, violet, and white - the "Queen" series is popular in the gardening catalogs.
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
, (2 reports) Bass River, Arab, Alabama Auburn, Alabama Jones, Alabama Madison, Alabama Vincent, Alabama Mesa, Arizona Mansfield, Arkansas Castro Valley, California Merced, California Perris, California San Diego, California Bartow, Florida Ferry Pass, Florida Fountain, Florida Jacksonville, Florida Macgregor, Florida Micanopy, Florida Samoset, Florida Athens, Georgia Atlanta, Georgia Avondale Estates, Georgia Braselton, Georgia Carrollton, Georgia Colbert, Georgia Ellijay, Georgia Hawkinsville, Georgia La Grange, Georgia Roswell, Georgia Winterville, Georgia Woodstock, Georgia Pepeekeo, Hawaii Carbon Hill, Illinois Chicago, Illinois Crestwood, Illinois East Peoria, Illinois Galva, Illinois Jacksonville, Illinois Lincoln, Illinois Mapleton, Illinois Olney, Illinois Quincy, Illinois Washington, Illinois Paragon, Indiana Mason City, Iowa Shelby, Iowa Manhattan, Kansas Olathe, Kansas Wichita, Kansas Ewing, Kentucky Farmington, Kentucky Flemingsburg, Kentucky Gray, Kentucky Symsonia, Kentucky Upton, Kentucky Van Lear, Kentucky Baton Rouge, Louisiana Covington, Louisiana Zachary, Louisiana Whiting, Maine Arnold, Maryland Kemp Mill, Maryland Pikesville, Maryland Severna Park, Maryland Takoma Park, Maryland West Friendship, Maryland Cordaville, Massachusetts Peabody, Massachusetts Reading, Massachusetts Worcester, Massachusetts Laingsburg, Michigan Mason, Michigan Port Sanilac, Michigan Sterling Heights, Michigan Sunfield, Michigan Detroit Lakes, Minnesota La Crescent, Minnesota Minneapolis, Minnesota St Cloud, Minnesota Woodland, Minnesota Byhalia, Mississippi Mathiston, Mississippi Ovett, Mississippi Blue Springs, Missouri Country Life Acres, Missouri Murphy, Missouri Springfield, Missouri Lincoln, Nebraska Folsom, New Jersey Jersey City, New Jersey Lanoka Harbor, New Jersey Leisuretowne, New Jersey Clinton, New York Yonkers, New York Zena, New York Brevard, North Carolina Greensboro, North Carolina High Point, North Carolina Raleigh, North Carolina Ashville, Ohio Bay View, Ohio Gibsonburg, Ohio Glenmont, Ohio Mantua, Ohio Orrville, Ohio Hulbert, Oklahoma Justice, Oklahoma Midwest City, Oklahoma Newalla, Oklahoma Tulsa, Oklahoma Yukon, Oklahoma Ashley, Pennsylvania Collingdale, Pennsylvania Falls Creek, Pennsylvania Greensburg, Pennsylvania (2 reports) Hatboro, Pennsylvania Mercer, Pennsylvania Millersburg, Pennsylvania Phoenixville, Pennsylvania Willow Grove, Pennsylvania West Warwick, Rhode Island Conway, South Carolina Spartanburg, South Carolina Summerville, South Carolina Elizabethton, Tennessee Ellendale, Tennessee Hendersonville, Tennessee Jackson, Tennessee Johnson City, Tennessee Knoxville, Tennessee Morrison, Tennessee Moscow, Tennessee Murfreesboro, Tennessee Appleby, Texas Austin, Texas (2 reports) Broaddus, Texas Dallas, Texas Dalworthington Gardens, Texas Houston, Texas Oakhurst, Texas San Antonio, Texas West Valley City, Utah East Barre, Vermont Charlottesville, Virginia Chincoteague, Virginia Colonial Heights, Virginia Danville, Virginia East Highland Park, Virginia Greenbush, Virginia Leesburg, Virginia (2 reports) Norfolk, Virginia