Growing Cleome Doesn't Have to Be Hard

Cleome is one of those annuals that you can either grow or fail miserably at - and sometimes there doesn't seem to be much rhyme nor reason to this.

Here's the way to work at success if it has eluded you to date.

How to Start Cleome Seeds Indoors

It helps to toss the seeds in the frig for 5-7 days before you start germinating them. Do NOT freeze them, the crisper is fine for chilling.

Cleome seed is a touch particular (and different) in that it loves hot day time temperatures of 85F soil temperatures and night time temperatures of 65F.

If you keep it at a constant soil temperature of 72F (as we try to do with most annual seeds) you'll have miserable luck getting it to sprout.

Sow and barely cover the seed.

Water with warm water in the morning to kick up the soil temperatures.

Even at the best of times, cleome is an erratic germinator so take each seedling as it develops 4 true leaves and transplant it into its own pot. Leave the seed starting pot to continue germinating.

You should see seedlings in 10 days if they're coming and should be ready to transplant in approximately 4 weeks from putting into the seed starting soil.

cleome sparkler rose

Cleome 'Sparkler Rose'

How to Start Seeds Outdoors

This plant prefers to be planted outdoors and if you're having trouble with it, try this method.

In a small "nursery" area, sow the seed the first week of May.

Use a nursery area so you can keep them watered (barely cover the seed when planting) and can transplant them from this area to their growing area. You'll likely find the outdoor temperature fluctuations kick them into growth better than indoor growing.

You'll be able to move them to their own growing spot in about 3-4 weeks and they'll bloom in late July.

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Growing Conditions

Once you have this plant started, it loves full sun and good soils.

The dwarf varieties will tolerate some light shade but the taller (old-fashioned) plants will flop in the shade.

cleome pink

Cleome 'Pink' variety unknown

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