Cleomes, also known as spider flowers, are beautiful in almost any setting. These hardy annuals can grow to 6 feet in height with huge blossoms that are often 8 inches in diameter. Hummingbirds are attracted to their white, pink or red blossoms. These flowers can be costly if purchased from a nursery. Save money by planting cleome seeds indoors to transplant later, or sow them directly in your flower beds. It's easy to grow cleome plants from seed, and the seeds from the mature plants can be saved for planting next year.
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Decide if you will plant your cleome seeds indoors, to transplant after the danger of frost has passed, or outside. If starting seeds indoors, plant the seeds approximately four to six weeks before transplanting them outside. If you are planting the seeds outdoors, wait until the danger of frost has passed.
Prepare the soil for planting. If planting the seeds outdoors, remove any weeds or debris from the soil. If planting cleome seeds indoors, add soil to your pots. Cleomes thrive in almost any type of soil; no extra preparation is needed.
Sow seeds approximately 1 to 3 inches apart outside, or 1 inch apart indoors in prepared pots. Make indentations in the soil about ¼ inch deep with your finger; use a spade if the soil is hard. Place a seed in the indentation and cover lightly with soil.
Water the sowed seeds. Keep the planted seeds moist, but avoid flooding the soil. If planting indoors, make sure the containers have access to light every day. Cleome plants germinate in approximately 10 days.
Wait until the sprouted cleome plants are 1 to 2 inches tall, then thin them so there is around 1 to 1 1/2 inch of space between the plants.
Transplant any cleome plants you have started indoors to an outdoor location once the danger of frost has passed. Continue to water plants, as needed.
Tips and warnings
- Cleomes rarely need special care, but stake the plants if they are subject to strong wind.
- Cleomes don't smell as beautiful as their blossoms. They give off an earthy or musty smell, so don't plant near an open window if you find the odour unpleasant.