Clio Magenta — A beautiful, no-care annual
Last year I bought something from a local nursery called ‘Clio Magenta’ to fill in an open spot in a flower bed. The pixie stake mentioned pretty pink-lavender flowers, but other than that I knew nothing about it.
Yet it grew quickly; bloomed continuously from early June to the first hard freeze; didn’t require deadheading; and was unperturbed by last year’s severe drought. This is definitely a plant you should try. Here are some notes.
Cleomes, often called spider flowers are originally from southern South America. In warmer climates they are perennial, but used as annuals here.
Cleome x hybrida 'Clio Magenta' was developed by Danzinger with sterile flowers; since they don’t produce viable seeds, the plants just keep on blooming (and, of course, seeds are not available for starting your own plants.)
The shrub-like plants are upright, well branched and sturdy. While the literature says 1 to 2 feet wide and 2 to 3 feet high, mine grew to 4 feet tall and wide — I had to cut it back when it started blocking the sidewalk.)
Scented flowers at the end of hairy stalks attract butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators.
Turn over your annual beds each year and add organic matter to get the light, fluffy, well-drained soil plant roots love. Then plant Clio in full sun to light shade at the same depth that it was in the nursery container. Feed monthly with a balanced fertilizer (like 10-10-10). Water only when dry, then soak deeply.
Clio Magenta makes an excellent backdrop for shorter annuals, or, if kept pruned, would be great in a large container. I’m definitely planting it again.
Jim Janke is an Extension Master Gardener Volunteer in Haywood County. For more information call the Haywood County Extension Center at 828-456-3575. © 2017 NC State University.