Cleoma - spider flower
My first acquaintance with the prickly glue was five years ago. This annual powerful bushy plant attracted universal attention, striking visitors with the unusual nature of its inflorescences. I had a burning desire to grow these original flowers, and I succeeded - for several years now, a prickly cleome has been showing off in my garden. During this time, some experience has accumulated, and I want to share it.
At kleoma, everything is unusual. Thick (up to 3 cm in diameter) lignified pubescent stems up to 1.5 m high. Large leaves on long petioles, similar to horse chestnut leaves, dissected into 5-7 lobes, with spines near the petioles and on the veins (because of this, the glue was called prickly). Especially interesting are the numerous flowers on long peduncles - graceful, large (up to 8 cm in diameter), of an unusual shape, similar to spiders due to the long stamens. The Germans and the British call Cleome - "spider flower". The flowers are collected in loose apical inflorescences with a diameter of up to 20 cm, have a pleasant spicy aroma.
Cleoma blooms in early July and blooms profusely to frost. When the lower flowers in the inflorescence are wilted, seed pods on long legs are formed in their place, due to which the similarity of the kleoma to the spider is further increased, and new flowers bloom at the top of the inflorescence.
Varieties of this plant with white, lilac, pink, and lilac flowers of different saturation are known. On sale are mainly seeds of a mixture of colors.
Glue needs to be grown in seedlings, as it has a long period from sowing to flowering. I sow seeds in mid-March densely in a small container with seedlings. Shoots appear sparsely, after 10-18 days. Soaking seeds for 12 hours in a solution of zircon growth regulator (2 drops per 200 ml of warm boiled water) significantly accelerates the germination process. When one or two true leaves appear, the seedlings dive into separate cups with a capacity of at least 0.3 l, deepening almost to the cotyledon leaves.
Seedlings usually grow rapidly. If the plants do not develop well, the leaves are weak, light green, you can feed the seedlings 1-2 times with a complex water-soluble fertilizer (1 teaspoon per 3 l of water). I regularly water the crops, preventing both overdrying and excessive waterlogging. Sometimes for the prevention of root diseases I use a weak solution of potassium permanganate when watering.
Cleoma is thermophilic, photophilous and quite drought resistant, because it comes from South America, so I plant it in open ground at the end of May, when the threat of frost passes. The place I choose is sunny, bright, high, without strong drafts. The plant does not tolerate prolonged rains - it loses its decorative effect.
For a powerful, fast growth and abundant flowering, Cleome needs fertile soil, so I bring 1 bucket of rotted compost and 2 tbsp. spoons of complex fertilizer per 1 m2. For better rooting seedlings before planting in the ground, I spray the epin-extra stimulant solution together with micronutrient cytovit according to the instructions. After planting, I water the humate solution under the root.
Cleoma can be grown in mixed flower gardens, as a solitary (single) plant, and also used to create an annual hedge. In my opinion, these flowers look better in planting in a small group. Usually I plant 6-8 plants with different colors of flowers on a plot of about 1 m2 with a distance of 35 cm between them.
The color density of future flowers can be determined by the shade of the stem: the darker the stem, the darker the flowers will be. And if the stem is pure green, they will be white. Along the edge of a group planting of Cleoma, I usually have stunted lobularia.
Cleoma is a sprawling and rather prickly plant, therefore, at the corners of the massif I drive in stakes (at least 1 m high) and pull restrictive twine around. Beautiful, abundantly flowering plants can be obtained if you regularly, especially before flowering, apply a solution of complete mineral fertilizer under the glue, preferably with microelements (Kemira Lux, Kemira Combi, Sodium, etc.) - 1-2 tbsp. tablespoons per 10 liters of water.
Weakened plants can be fed directly on the leaves with the same fertilizers, but in a lower concentration (1 teaspoon per 3 l of water). To accelerate flowering, before forming the buds, I spray the plants with a solution of zircon (1 ml per 1 liter of water). In stressful situations (frost, heat, lack of light, illness, etc.) I use an epin-extra solution (1 ml per 5 l of water) for spraying.
Cleome requires moderate watering as the soil dries, especially in the heat, as well as weeding the weeds and lightly loosening the soil or mulching.
In the fall I collect seeds. If sowing was carried out in March, the first seeds from those inflorescences that bloomed earlier than all have time to fully ripen. Seeds of kleoma are dark gray, round, with a diameter of 1-1.5 mm, located in long (up to 5 cm) pods, which, when ripe, turn slightly yellow or dark (depending on the color of the flower) and open when lightly pressed. When overripe, the pods burst and the seeds spill out onto the ground, so the testes cannot be overexposed on the plant. After a warm winter, cleoma can self-sow, as happened in the spring of 2002.
There is an opinion that cleoma stands in a bouquet for more than a week. Stems with inflorescences need to be cut in the evening, remove all the thorns and put in cold water in a cool place. I admit, I did not try to put glue in the water, I prefer to see these exotic flowers directly in the garden.