In my experience, it seems that cleome is one of those flowers that people can have strong opinions about. Before I started growing it, I had no clue what the plant even looked like. However, now it’s an ornamental flower that I really, really love. I personally don’t use this one as a cut flower, but rather enjoy the height and color that it brings to the flower patch.
Though I had heard that this plant is somewhat thorny, the first thing that I noticed was the scent. To my nose, this plant smells straight up like some kind of funky smelling skunk. I imagine if you’re the type of person who dislikes marigolds, there’s a good chance you won’t like the scent of these either. Irregardless, I continue to grow them because they’re just so cool and unique looking.
The winter sowing method works really good with cleome for one reason – germination seems like it is always better when the seeds have been exposed to fluctuating periods or warm and cool temperatures. This process naturally occurs when the seeds are started with the winter sowing method.
I generally start winter sowing cleome around mid March, as the plants seem to be quite frost tender. Once the seeds have germinated, it’s important that I pay close attention to the weather. If a frost threatens, I’ll need to cover the winter sowing containers with an additional row cover or sheet (just to make certain that I won’t lose my seedlings).