How to Grow Spider Flower in Your Garden

Growing a spider flower has become the preferred choice for gardeners wanting to beautify their garden. Also called a cleome flower, it's popular for having bright-colored, clustered flowers and long stamens. The word ‘spider’ is used because of the characteristic huddled appearance of the flowers. Spider flowers bloom quickly and need minimal care. They are commonly used for creating mixed flower patterns in the garden bed. 

Basic Nomenclature:

  • Botanical Name: Cleome hasslerana
  • Other Names:  Cleomes, Garden spideys and Grandfather's whiskers 

Popular Spider Flower Varieties (common names):

  • Sparkler White
  • Cherry Queen
  • Violet Queen
  • Rose Queen

Growing a spider flower is not difficult but you should take care of the following: 

Spider Flower Seed Preparation

  • You should buy the seeds at least five weeks before you plan to proceed with planting.
  • The seedlings have to be developed in small, indoor pots.
  • The potting soil should be well tilled. Water the pot regularly.
  • The developing seeds need room temperature conditions without any extreme fluctuations.
  • You can transplant the small seedlings when the initial roots start to show. 

Spider Flower Planting Basics

  • Choose a planting site that is away from shaded areas and plants that are prone to growing very tall.
  • Best planting time is the spring season. Young seedlings are vulnerable to harsh winter conditions, particularly frost.
  • Spider flowers are narrow, upward-growing plants that need minimal horizontal space. You can plant the seeds about 1 foot apart.
  • Mulching the spider flower’s soil bed is recommended, especially during the first two months. 

Growth Requirements

  • Sunlight — Spider plants can survive in partially-shaded areas, but a few hours of daily bright sunlight is ideal for getting a full bloom.
  • Soil — The soil should be well drained. Even minimal water stagnation can harm the roots. In fact, slightly dry soils are better for this plant.
  • Nutrition — Fertilization is needed about every six weeks. Ideally, you should add slow-release fertilizers. This can be alternated with using organic compost. Composting at the time of planting is recommended. 

Checking Blooming Pattern

  • The flowers should start blooming during mid or late spring.
  • Flowering usually continues through the middle of fall.
  • Most cleome flowers are pink, purple or white in color.
  • Flowers will grow between 4 and 5 feet but their horizontal growth is barely 1 foot wide.
  • The flower clusters should be between 2 and 3 inches in width. 

Spider Flower Maintenance

  • The stems are prickly but the thorns are needed to deter garden pests. Ensure that you wear gloves when handling cleomes.
  • Some spider flower plants may develop a bushy appearance with split-stem formation. Immediately prune such stems.
  • Spider flowers are naturally immune against most garden pests except for aphids and whiteflies. However, use of chemical pesticides is rarely needed. 

Staking Spider Flowers

  • Cleomes have long stamens and are strong, self-supporting plants. Hence, staking isn't recommended unless the stems have been harmed in some way.
  • In some spider flowers, the lower sections of the stems get thinned out and gain an unusually thin appearance. This disrupts the balance of the plant, making it stoop to one side along with harming the blooming. In such cases, staking is suggested. 

Alternative to Staking:

  • You can simply trim back nearly one-fourth of the stopping stems.
  • This is called partial pruning. It stimulates the growth of thicker branches. 

Spider Flower Propagation Control

Cleomes tend to shed their seeds, having a built-in (natural) propagation system. You need to guard against the development of an over-active, invasive cleome flowerbed.

  • If too many seeds are shed, brush them away with a broom or handpick them.
  • The other alternative is pruning off the seedpods. This helps in controlling the volume of seeds shed.