June 21, 2014
One of the flowering plants I remember from my youth is cleome. I loved the tall plants with the flowers I thought looked a little spidery. I still love the flowers and these plants are perfect for our summer landscapes. Several years ago a new and exciting cleome was introduced. Senorita Rosalita cleome is a great garden and landscape plant and it doesn't have thorns like the older varieties. This plant has been a strong summer performer all across the southeast. Flowers are produced freely all summer long. In 2009 Senorita Rosalita was selected as a Mississippi Medallion winner and has not looked back. Senorita Rosalita does not produce viable seeds so reseeding is not a problem. The growth habit is compact with typical growth being 24 inches tall and 20 inches wide. In some locations the plants may get a little larger. Another cleome that is garden worthy are the Sparklers available in white, pink, and lavender. Sparkler Blush cleome was selected as an All-America Selections in 2002. These plants also have a bushy growth habit and will grow to about 36 inches tall. Sparkler has the potential to reseed, but subsequent generations will likely resemble one of the breeding parents. Once the cleome start to grow out the plentiful flower heads may cause the branches to arch. Resist the urge to stake the taller varieties. The gentlest breeze can cause the arching branches to sway, adding movement to landscape. Senorita Rosalita and Sparkler cleome offer interesting textures to the garden for you and your neighbors to enjoy. I'm horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.