Common Names: spider flower
Family: Capparaceae (caper Family)
Annual Can be Grown in Containers Useful for fresh and/or dried
Spider flower is a tender annual that grows up to 5 ft (1.5 m) in
height. The palmate leaves are composed of 5 leaflets each 5-6 in
(12.7-15 cm) long. The delicate flowers are held in cluster at the
stem tips. Flowers are 1-2 in (2.5-5 cm) wide with long, 2-3 in
(5-7.6 cm) graceful stamens that are the "legs" of this spidery
flower. The buds at the lower end of the flower stem bloom first and
then proceed sequentially toward the tip which continues to grow and
extend over the course of the season. Slender seed pods quickly
follow the flowers, hanging on long stems they are arranged around
the stem like a bottlebush with limp bristles. Selections are
available in a range of colors including white, pink, rose and
lavender. Many varieties are colored when they bloom and then fade,
some to white, over the course of a day. Named cultivars include
'Violet Queen', 'White Queen', 'Rosea', and 'Alba'.
Spider flower is native to an area of South America stretching from
southern Brazil west into Argentina. This plant has naturalized in
scattered areas across the southeastern U.S.
Cleome prefers light, fertile soils but is adaptable to most
conditions (except soggy and persistently moist).
Light: Likes bright sunny situations but will tolerate some shade in
Moisture: Needs well drained soil. Doesn't require a lot of
moisture, water when dry.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 - 11 where it will reseed. Grown as a tender
annual in Zones 4-7.
Propagation: By seed, start indoors in colder zones and plant in
garden when frost has past. Space plants about 1 ft (0.3 m) apart.
Use spider flower as a background plant and in borders. Also good in
mixed shrub plantings to fill in while shrubs mature. Makes a
durable container plant for patio or balcony. Remove spent blossoms
to prolong flowering. You can shape spider flower plant to suit your
tastes and design needs. For tall slender plants remove the side
branches. For shorter, fuller plants remove the central bud when the
plant is about 1 ft (0.3 m) tall to encourage side branching.
Spider flower is not bothered by pests and is easy to grow from
seed. Cleome is a satisfying plant for new gardeners. The flowers
are very attractive and the cleome has a long flowering season(6
months in Florida, 3 months in more northern areas).
You may ocassionally see this plant referred to as Cleome spinosa
especially in older gardening publications.
Spider plant will reseed itself and under some conditions may become