Many of you might have question about cleome (Spider flower) and also what is it? I’ll explain some of my experiences to you.
About five years ago, I became acquainted with Cleome. This powerful annual shrubby plant attracted everyone’s attention, impressing me with the singularity of its inflorescences.
I wanted to grow these unusual flowers, which I have successfully done, and for several years in a row, I have had thorny Cleoma growing in my garden every year.
During this time, I have accumulated some experience, which I would like to share with you.
Cleome is unusual in everything. Thick – up to 1inch (2.54 cm) in diameter thin pubescent stems up to 5 foot (1.5 m) tall.
Large leaves on long petioles, similar to those of horse chestnut, dissected into 5-7 lobes, with spines near the petiole and on the veins (hence the name Cleoma is spiny).
The many flowers on long peduncles are particularly interesting – elegant, large – up to 3.1inch (8cm) in diameter, unusual in shape, resembling spiders because of the long stamens.
Both Germans and English call Cleoma “spider flower”. The flowers are clustered in loose apical inflorescences up to 8inch (20cm) in diameter and have a pleasant spicy aroma.
Cleome blooms in early July and the flowers bloom profusely until frost. When the lower flowers fade, seed pods form on the long stems, which make it more like a spider, and new flowers are produced in the upper part of the inflorescence.
Varieties of this plant, with flowers of different intensities such as white, lilac, pink, and purple, are already known. Seeds of mixed colors are mostly sold.
Since Cleoma takes a long time from sowing to flowering, it must be grown in sprouts. I sowed the seeds in a small container with potting soil in mid-March.
The shoots appeared unfriendly, 10-18 days later. Soaking the seeds in a growth regulator solution (2 drops per 200 ml of warm boiling water) for 12 hours greatly accelerates the germination process.
When one or two complete leaves appear, the seedlings are submerged separately in a cup of not less than 0.3 liters and deepened almost to the cotyledons.
Seedlings usually grow quickly. If the plant is stunted, with weak, light green leaves, the seedlings can be fed 1-2 times with a complex water-soluble fertilizer (1 teaspoon per 3 liters of water).
I water the crop regularly to avoid excessive dryness and excessive flooding. Sometimes, to prevent root diseases, a weak solution of potassium permanganate is used for watering.
Cleome is heat tolerant, light tolerant, and drought-tolerant enough, and since she comes from South America, I planted her in open ground at the end of May when the threat of frost passed.
I chose a location that was sunny, bright, and in a high place. This plant does not tolerate prolonged rainfall – it loses its decorative effect.
For strong, fast growth and abundant flowering, Cleoma needs fertile soil, so when digging I bring in 1 bucket of rotting compost and 2 tablespoons of vat.
Compost per 1 sq. scoop. For better rooting, the seeds are sprayed with a stimulating epidermal extra solution before planting, according to the instructions. After planting, I watered under the roots with a humate solution.
Cleome can be planted in mixed flower beds, as solitary plants, or as annual hedges. In my opinion, these flowers look better when planted in small groups.
Usually, I plant 6-8 plants of different colors on an area of about 1 square meter with a distance of 14inch (35 cm) between flowers.
The density of future flower colors can be determined by the shade of the stem: the darker the stem, the darker the flower color. And if the stems are solid green, they will turn white. At the edge of a group planting Cleoma I usually have small low foliage.
Cleome a plant spreads and is quite spiny, so in the corners of the array, I hammer in stakes – at least 3foot (1 meter) high and pull around the restrictive twine.
Beautiful, abundantly flowering plants can be obtained if you regularly, especially before flowering, use a solution of all-mineral fertilizer, preferably with trace elements or solvents, etc., using 1-2 tablespoons.
Weakened plants can be fed directly on the leaves with the same fertilizer, but in a lower concentration (1 teaspoon per 3 liters of water).
To accelerate flowering before bud formation, spray the plants with zircon solution (1 ml per 1 L of water). In stressful situations (frost, heat, lack of light, disease, etc.), I spray with ethylene oxide solution (1 ml per 5 L of water).
Cleome needs moderate watering as the soil dries out, especially in hot weather, as well as weeding and light loosening or mulching.
Seeds are harvested in the fall. If I sow in March, the first seeds of those inflorescences that bloom first will have time to fully mature.
Cleome seeds are dark gray, round, 1-1.5 mm in diameter, located in extra-long pods up to 2inch (5 cm) in length, which are slightly yellow or dark (depending on flower color) and lightly pressed open. When the pods are overripe, they burst and the seeds fall to the ground.
Cleome plants may self-seed after a warm winter, as happened in the spring of 2002.
There is a belief that Cleoma stays in the bouquet for more than a week. Stems with inflorescences should be cut off in the evening, all thorns removed, placed in cold water, and kept in a cool place.
I confess that I have not tried to put Cleome in the water, I prefer to see these exotic flowers directly in the garden.