Monday, July 28, 2008

I think my flower is a Spider Flower, not Granpa Whiskers

Cleome gets it's nickname "Spider Flower" from the spidery-like flowers with long, waving stamen which are held on tall, strong leafy stems. It is one of the few annuals that looks at home among shrubs and perennials. Planted in mass, they look like blooming shrubbery with 8-inch balls of blossoms. They will reach a height of 6 feet in a good season. Violet Queen (pictured), Cherry Queen, Pink Queen and Helen Campbell (white) are among the most popular cultivars.
Start seeds indoors four weeks before the last frost or plant them directly outdoors in spring after danger of frost has passed. Germination takes about 10 days. Space the plants about 1 foot apart. They will often reseed themselves. The seeds will lie dormant until spring. Hybrids will not breed true.
Cleome tolerates heat and dry weather well, and continue to look good well into the summer. Lower leaves tend to fall at the end of summer, and this can be covered by companion plants.
They make excellent cut flowers if conditioned by soaking them in very warm water, but their musky scent is sometimes not pleasant. For the same reason, you may not want to plant them near windows and doors.
Staking is usually not necessary, and they are not bothered by pests and disease. Protection from strong winds is advisable. They are a favorite of hummingbirds.
What do you think?


Debs said...

Oh I need these. I love the way they look and for my hummingbirds! :)

Pamela said...

I looked at various sites and saw many different colors and blossoms.

I'm going to check them out -- maybe I have grown them before - the way they bloom looks familiar.

Ami said...

I asked hubby about your flowers and for the first time I can remember, he did not know what they were!!

But although the information says they'll grow in all zones, it's possible that they haven't found their way to Oregon yet.

I will try to order seeds for them next spring, though. They're really beautiful.

karisma said...

Very pretty!

dawn said...

They look very nice. Nice write up you did on them. I think I will try to find some for here for next summer.