I need your help. I am looking for a wow plant to put into some of the mass beds in one of the parks in Mason City Iowa. Have any of you planted cleome for a landscape look in mass? Please let me know.
Cleome flowers offer an irresistible combination of height and an exotic appearance that make them a welcome addition to any sunny garden border. Planting is a breeze, just sow them in late fall on top of the soil, and allow winter temperatures to provide them with the necessary cold treatment that will trigger germination at just the right time for your climate. Try the 'Sparkler' series, the only hybrid cleomes available, which have a bushier habit than open-pollinated types.
Spider flowers don’t emit a noticeable fragrance, but hummingbirds and butterflies didn’t get the memo, because they are drawn to these flowers all summer long. An additional unusual, but welcome visitor to these flower clusters is the hummingbird moth, which looks so much like a hummingbird as it darts about at twilight you’ll do a double-take.
A member of the Capparaceae family, the genus Cleome is often referred to by the common names of spider flower, rocky mountain bee plant, and stinking clover. As an annual you can grow this in all climates; the tropical plant is perennial only in zones 10 and 11.
Averaging three to four feet in height, cleomes provide a welcome focal point in the annual garden where compact bedding plants tend to rule. What's more, the upright plants need no staking. The pink, purple, white, and lavender flowers complement many garden designs while pleasing visiting pollinators as well.
Cleome flowers look like few others. Many petals radiate from a central point, forming an umbel, or cluster, which tends to be softball-sized. Long stamens give flowers a spiky look. Even the foliage is attractive, being fern-like and delicate.
Cleome flowers are easy to start in the garden from seed. Perhaps too easy, as the plants can self-seed to the point of being a nuisance. The seeds need light to germinate, so you can just sprinkle them in the garden after the danger of frost is past, and look for seedlings after 10 days. Alternatively, sow them in the autumn, and they’ll germinate when conditions are just right in your area. I have had the plants in the past so I am thinking of transplanting them into the flower beds.
Cleome flowers grow best in full sun, as shady conditions can make them grow so tall as to topple over. If you start with transplants, you’ll see blossoms from early summer until first frost. Gardeners growing cleome flowers from seed usually see their first flowers in mid to late June, depending on the climate. That I am seeing as a problem as the first flowers will be later in the summer, and the mass plantings want to see color earlier.
Cleome plants are drought tolerant, making them a welcome addition to the xeriscape garden. Add a 3-inch layer of organic mulch to their planting bed, and you’ll decrease your watering chores even further. Unlike some annuals, spider flowers are light feeders, and giving them too much nitrogen results in leggy plants. Cleome flowers thrive in average garden soil, and shrug off flower insect pests and diseases. If you want to limit cleome’s self-seeding habit, spend time each week plucking the long seed pods that form under the flowers throughout the season.
Taken from http://flowers.about.com/od/Annual-Flowers/p/Growing-The-Cleome-Flower
Till next time this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty, Iowa