Cleome is a late-summer stalwart that will add pink and white color to the back of a garden border after other annuals have started to flag. Plant it in full sun and well-drained soil and spider flower will thrive.
How to Plant
Seeds or transplants
Late season color
Cleome: A Field Guide
The great gardening writer Henry Mitchell (perhaps you’ve stumbled across a compendium of his “Earthman” newspaper columns) once asked: “I wonder if anybody ever planned a garden to be at its best the first week of September?”
Why not be that gardener? If you plant cleome seedlings in late June, your flower beds will have a riot of pink and white puffballs well beyond Labor Day. Cleome hassleriana is an annual that thrives in hot temperatures (it’s a native of South America and the West Indies) and will reach heights of from three to five feet in the back of the border. Our contributor Jeanne Rostaing notes that cleome “is unfazed by sunstroke-level heat” and in a sunny spot is an excellent companion to zinnias, cosmos, sunflowers, black-eyed Susans, and dahlias.
After it gets established, cleome is drought tolerant (especially if dressed with a layer of organic mulch) and will grow in virtually any type of soil as long as it has good drainage. Grow it as an annual unless you live in USDA zones 10 or 11.