Cleomes have been a favorite in gardens because of their attractive foliage  and flowers, and their ability to take the summer heat. Unlike some plants that  fade in the mid-summer heat, cleomes keep right on performing.

The Cleomes bloom heavily in early summer and continue to bloom throughout the  season. The flowers can be white, pink or purple and often attract  hummingbirds.

Cleomes often self-seed, which means you’ll have plants in the same location  year after year. However, certain newer cultivars, such as Senorita Rosalita,  are sterile and won’t produce seeds.

The flowers are produced along stalks that can grow up to 5 feet tall,  depending on the cultivar. The flowers start blooming at the bottom of the stalk  and progress upward as summer stretches on.

These tall flower stalks make cleomes great plants for adding height at the  back of a flower bed. A nice dwarf variety that performs reliably well is Linde Armstrong. This pink-flowering cleome will get just 18 to 24  inches tall and tends to have a fuller form than other cultivars.

Many older varieties have strong spines on the stem and may put off a  somewhat skunky odor. An advantage of the newer cultivars is that most are thorn  and odor-free.

Cleomes can be planted from seeds or as transplants. If you start from seed,  be sure to thin the seedlings after they sprout. Varieties that work well when  grown from seed include Cherry Queen, Mauve Queen, Pink Queen, Purple Queen,  Rose Queen and Ruby Queen.

Cleomes perform best when planted in a spot that has well-drained soil and  receives full sun, but they can also take some shade.

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