To add interest, height, and variety, plant the Cleome hassleriana, also commonly known as spider flower or spider plant. It’s a very attractive annual with a long flowering season.
I discovered cleome, also known as “spider flower” while visiting the gardens at Temple Square and fell in love with it’s feathery, airy appeal. Because of its originality, I decided to show case this lovely plant in my own garden, which sparks a lot of discussion by passersby.
Native to Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and southeast Brazil, Cleome hassleriana is commonly known as the spider flower or spider plant because of its spidery-like flowers with long-stemmed stamens and wavy seed pods. The blossoms look more like a feathery, airy snowball with a 6 to 8-inch span on long, sturdy stems that do not need staking. Like sweet alyssum, the cleome will often reseed itself and will lie dormant until spring. Although the plant is not invasive, it can overtake other plants if it is allowed to go to seed.
As it grows taller, the plant can look leggy and leafless, so try planting it en masse or with other flowers placed in front of it.
Cleome is a very drought-tolerant, heat-tolerant plant, so it does well in my Utah environment; however it looks more attractive if it is watered regularly.
To deadhead cleome, use pruning shears to cut off the flower head down to where another bud appears as a small bump along the stem.
Genus: Cleome (klee-HO-me)
Species: Cleome hassleriana
Height: 24-48 inches (61-122 cm) some can get as tall as 5 feet!
Spacing: 20-24 inches (51-61 cm)
Bloom Color: Pink, Lavender, White
Bloom Time: June to October
Hardiness: USDA Zones 8-11. Hardy to 25 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 Celcius)
Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
Foliage: Herbaceous, Smooth-textured
Soil: 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
Propagation Method: From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall after last frost
Seed Collecting: Allow seed heads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Watering: Average water; water regularly; do not over water