Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cleome 'Senorita Rosalita'

One of the top performing annuals in this year's summer garden is Cleome 'Senorita Rosalita'. This compact variety marketed through Proven Winners has been flowering since I planted it in late May.

I must admit I first learned of 'Senorita Rosalita' through a viral video produced by Proven Winners. While the video itself is significantly left of campy, I was impressed by the plant itself. When I made my spring trip to Sunrise Greenhouse and Woldhuis Farms, I picked up three 4-inch pots to trial in my garden.



Often called spider flower or cat whiskers, the pink/light purple flowers of 'Senorita Rosalita' have an airy appearance. It prefers full-sun, but I'm growing mine in part-shade in our driveway border. While other annuals have shown stress from the extended hot, dry weather we've been having, this Cleome has been thriving. It does get regular watering, but I never seen it droop like other plants in the same bed at the end of a hot day.

While I've always liked Cleome flowers, I find the habit and foliage of the species and earlier hybrids rather weedy. Not 'Seniorita Rosalita'. Standing 2-3 feet tall, the flowers float above an attractive, shrubby mound of foliage.

'Senorita Rosalita' is also growing at the Idea Garden in Urbana, IL. There it forms a beautiful backdrop to other annuals like Cyperus, Ageratum and Salvia.

If you're looking for a middle to back-of-the-border annual that can withstand the heat of summer without breaking a sweat, give 'Seniorita Rosalita' a try.

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