Spider flower

Cleome or "Spider flower" is one annual that once you have you have forever, at least in my experience. I planted just a couple of these when I first started gardening, and I had volunteers for several years before they finally gave out.

In the last couple of years I've decided that I missed these wonderful, ever-blooming bee magnets and planted a lot of them. Since I'm not the best at thinning seedlings, I ended up with a pretty decent (and overcrowded by some standards) planting this year. No effort, big results -- just how I like it.


These will start looking a little ragged later in the summer if I don't do some pruning on them, but that's not a concern yet.

Most of the petals fade to white, but there are a few that keep their colors. I don't remember what variety of seeds I planted, but I know there were white, pink, and purple ones that seem to have all mixed together now.

Here's a longer shot of the bed:

I simplified this planting area this year while still adding some new plants. From front to back there is a Shibatea kumasaca bamboo, the cleome with some purple fountain grass and Agastache foeniculum mixed in, then some hardy bananas (Musa basjoo) surrounded by elephant ears (Colocasia esculenta). That's it for the entire bed. (There's space for one more plant. I'm thinking of another elephant ear, but might do something else too. In fact, I may plant right after I post this.)

Cleome is the highlight right now I'd say.

There's another small cleome bed across the path. It was cleome last year and I wasn't sure what I wanted to do there this year. The seedlings took longer to germinate than those in the other bed did, so for a while this spring I thought I had an empty bed -- a clean slate to work with.

Since I couldn't make up my mind what to plant and delayed too long, it's now a cleome bed again. They're a bit behind the flowers in the other bed, but will soon start blooming.

This just ensures that the bees will have cleome blooms for a longer time, right? Almost like I planned it.

Cleome flowers all summer long will be fine by me.


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sandy lawrence –   – (June 21, 2012 at 8:46 AM)  

I love the cleomes with the purple spired plants and grass. I don't think there are too many, just a fine-looking drift of them. Funny, I did the same thing myself about postponing, and nature planted the bed with a sea of pink primroses. She (nature) doesn't seem to care for a vacuum!

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (June 21, 2012 at 9:12 AM)  

Wow, beautiful. I've got to add a few of them to our backyard. I know exactly where!

Christine  – (June 21, 2012 at 12:50 PM)  

I love Cleomes - and your photos are beautiful!

Jennifer  – (June 21, 2012 at 9:07 PM)  

I used Cleomes in a large annual container once. Yeah, uh, they don't need Miracle Gro... :/

allison  – (June 27, 2012 at 4:32 PM)  

I thought I would be smart and harvest all their seeds last year. Nope, I still am pulling up seedlings. Mine have prickly bits on them, which my mother swore did not exist on her cleomes. I still love them, and make sure they are behind something to hide the ugly foliage they'll develop.

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