Cleome: Spider flower

Height 60cm-l.2m (2-4ft)

Planting distance 60cm (2ft)

Flowers mid summer until autumn

Well-drained fertile soil

Full sun

Half-hardy annual

The spider flower (Cleome spinosa) is a handsome plant with globe-shaped flower heads and elegant green, divided leaves. The fragrant flowers open from mid summer until autumn and come in white, delicate pink and purple. In a tub the plants rarely exceed 60cm (2ft), but in well-prepared ground in a border they can grow up to 1.2m (4ft) tall.

Popular varieties

Several varieties have been developed from Cleome spinosa. ‘Cherry Queen’ has carmine-pink flowers. ‘Colour Fountain’ has pink, rose, purple, lilac and white flowers. ‘Helen Campbell’ is a white-flowered variety.

Cultivation

Sow the seeds under glass in early spring and keep at a temperature of 18°C (64°F). When the seedlings are large enough to handle prick them out into small pots. Harden off for a few weeks before planting out in late spring. Grow in fertile well-drained soil in full sun.

Pests and diseases

Aphids may infest young growth.

22. February 2012 by Dave Pinkney
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