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The Wonders of Cleome: A Comprehensive Guide

cleome

Cleome: An

If you're a fan of gardening, then you've probably heard of cleome. This stunning flower is also known as spider flower and bee plant, and it's famous for its unique appearance and ability to attract pollinators. In this article, we'll explore the many benefits of cleome, how to grow it, and some fun facts about this fascinating plant.

What is Cleome?

Cleome is a genus of flowering plants that belongs to the Capparaceae family. It includes around 170 species of annuals, perennials, and shrubs. The most popular species is Cleome hassleriana, which is native to South America but can now be found all over the world.

Appearance

Cleome flowers are mesmerizing, with long, spidery petals that come in shades of pink, white, purple, and red. They bloom from summer to fall, and their height can range from 2 to 8 feet tall, depending on the variety. One distinctive feature of cleome is that it has compound leaves with five to seven leaflets, resembling a hand.

Uses of Cleome

Cleome has a wide range of uses, both ornamental and practical. Here are some of them:

  • Ornamental: Cleome is a popular choice among gardeners because of its striking appearance. It adds color and texture to any garden, and it's perfect for attracting bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
  • Medicinal: Some species of cleome have medicinal properties and have been used to treat various ailments such as cough, fever, and skin conditions.
  • Food: In some cultures, cleome seeds are used as a spice, and the leaves and young shoots are eaten as a vegetable.

How to Grow Cleome?

Now that you know what cleome is let's discuss how to grow it. Here are some steps you can follow:

Climate and Soil Requirements

Cleome thrives in warm weather and requires full sun exposure. It grows best in well-drained soil with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5. If your soil is too acidic, add some lime to raise the pH level.

Propagation

You can grow cleome from seeds, which are readily available at garden centers or online. Sow the seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost date, or directly into the garden after the danger of frost has passed.

Planting and Care Tips

Plant cleome in a spot that receives full sun exposure, and space them 12 to 18 inches apart. Water regularly but avoid overwatering, as this can cause root rot. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage more blooms.

Pests and Diseases

Cleome is relatively pest-resistant, but it can be susceptible to spider mites, aphids, and whiteflies. To prevent these pests, keep the plant well-watered and prune diseased leaves. Fungal diseases such as powdery mildew can also affect cleome, so make sure to provide good air circulation.

Fun Facts about Cleome

Here are some fascinating tidbits about cleome:

Name Origin

The name "cleome" comes from the Greek word "kleos," which means "fame." The plant was named after the famous botanist André Thévet, who lived during the 16th century.

Symbolism

In Victorian times, cleome was considered a symbol of ingenuity and creativity. It was also associated with spider webs, which were seen as a symbol of female power.

Cultural Significance

In some African cultures, cleome is used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments such as fever, cough, and snakebite. It's also believed to have spiritual properties and is used in rituals and ceremonies.

Cleome:

Cleome is an excellent choice for any garden, whether you're a beginner or a seasoned gardener. Its unique appearance and ability to attract pollinators make it a valuable addition to any landscape. With the right care and attention, you can enjoy the beauty of cleome all summer long.

Cleome: FAQs

Q1. Is Cleome an annual or perennial?

A. Cleome can be both annual and perennial, depending on the species.

Q2. Can Cleome grow in shade?

A. No, cleome requires full sun exposure to thrive.

Q3. How tall can Cleome grow?

A. Cleome height can range from 2 to 8 feet, depending on the variety.

Q4. How often should I water Cleome?

A. Water cleome regularly but avoid overwatering, as this can cause root rot.

Q5. Can I eat Cleome?

A. Yes, in some cultures, cleome seeds are used as a spice, and the leaves and young shoots are eaten as a vegetable.

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