Cleome spider flower (Clemencea cernua) is one of the most popular houseplants in India. They are easy to grow and require little care. Their leaves are small, oval shaped with three leaflets at the tip, which each have five petals. The flowers appear in late summer or early fall when they turn yellowish orange and last until spring when they fade away completely. There are many different species of Cleome spiders. Some are very fragrant while others smell unpleasant. The plant is native to South America and grows well in temperate climates. It prefers moist soil but will tolerate dry conditions if provided with plenty of light and air circulation.
The name “cleome” comes from Latin meaning “spider”. Cleome spider flowers are sometimes called spider flowers because their leaves resemble those of a spider’s web.
These plants are not poisonous and do not cause any allergic reaction. Cleome flowers are edible. Native Americans used them to make a sweet beverage. They can be used to enhance the flavor of pancakes, muffins and other desserts.
How to Grow Cleome Spider Flower
These plants are fairly easy to grow as long as they’re planted in a sunny location that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. They require well-drained soil and benefit from the addition of plenty of organic matter such as compost or peat moss.
Soil should be watered until it is evenly moist but not soggy.
During the winter months, cleome spider flowers can be grown indoors provided that you provide them with at least four to six hours of sunlight each day. These plants are very tolerant when it comes to different light intensities.
They require more water than they do during the summer and benefit from being fertilized every two weeks during their growing season.
By combining different species and varieties of cleome, you can get new colors such as red or purple. Cleome plants will need to be staked as they tend to flop over.
If their stems are broken or damaged by insects or disease, they should be removed immediately to prevent the spread of infection to other parts of the plant.
Clean your cleome plants every two weeks during the growing season to remove any pests that may be lurking such as aphids.
Sources & references used in this article:
Alternation of sexes and intermittent production of fruit in the spider flower (Cleome spinosa) by AB Stout – American Journal of Botany, 1923 – JSTOR
… flower (Cleome gynandra L./Gynandropsis gynandra (L.) Briq.) as a red spider mite (Tetranychus urticae Koch) repellent in cut-flower rose (Rosa hybrida L.) cultivation by S Nyalala, B Grout – Scientia Horticulturae, 2007 – Elsevier
Acylated anthocyanins in inflorescence of spider flower (Cleome hassleriana) by M Jordheim, ØM Andersen, C Nozzolillo, VT Amiguet – Phytochemistry, 2009 – Elsevier
Effect of the extracts of the spiderflower, Cleome arabica, on feeding and survival of larvae of the cotton leafworm, Spodoptera littoralis by A Ladhari, A Laarif, F Omezzine… – Journal of Insect …, 2013 – academic.oup.com
Movement of IAA in sections from spider flower (Cleome hassleriana) stamen filaments by JL Koevenig, D Sillix – American Journal of Botany, 1973 – Wiley Online Library
… of some traditional leafy vegetables of upper east region and influence of stage of harvest and drying method on nutrients content of spider flower (Cleome gynandra … by C Abugre – 2011 – ir.knust.edu.gh
Case history of the eradication of fringed spider flower, Cleome rutidosperma DC by A Mitchell, M Schmid – … . Plant Protection Society of …, 2002 – pdfs.semanticscholar.org
A model plant for a biology curriculum: Spider flower (Cleome hasslerana L.) by RD Marquard, R Steinback – The American Biology Teacher, 2009 – online.ucpress.edu