Cleome seedling pic attached

lovetogrowflowers(8)April 15, 2010

This is my first year trying cleome. I started these outdoors in an area that I feel gets plenty of sunlight. I had no idea what i was doing so i just dumped some seeds in a pot. Now I have so many in the pot. Sorry about the bad pic below my questions, I had to use my cellphone.

My 1st question is do these look leggy? I'm not sure how they're supposed to look.

My 2nd question is how big should these be before I transplant them into the ground?

My 3rd question, I read that maybe pinching after the first set of four true leaves. I also read that pinching isn't necessary. What exactly does pinching mean? I'm new to gardening completely.

My 4th question, what is the true set of four leaves anyway? These have four leaves but not sure that's the true set. I'm confused.

I also ready after starting these that after four true leaves they should be put into their own individual pot. Now I don't know what to do.

My last question, Can't I just leave them all in the pot they're in and transplant the whole thing at one time? Please, Please help. I want these to work out so bad.

Any and all advice is greatly appreciated. I love this flower and want some in my yard so bad. I just wanna do everything right. Thanks so much, and again sorry for the bad pic below.

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I direct sowed all my cleome seeds where I wanted them. I think I direct sowed them last April 21. I think it started germinating after a month. It was cold even mid-May.

I couldn't remember if my cleome were that leggy. Looks like not. I haven't tried transplanting cleome. Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 9:16PM
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are you sure they are cleome? i planted some zinnia seeds and they look just like your pics.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 11:47PM
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I have never planted Cleome--I was turned off of them by the smell, but I can answer some of your questions. They are pretty general for most plants

1-Cleome is a tall plant so I don't think they are leggy.

2-They should have their 3rd set of true leaves before transplanting.

3-I'm not sure about pinching. Pinching is usually done to bush out a plant. I don't think cleome is a very bushy plant naturally and probably doesn't need pinching, but as I said I have never grown it so I may be wrong. Pinching is removing the top few leaves and a tiny bit of the stem. In a plant the top growth is boss and everything goes to it's growth. Removing the top growth makes the other branches equal and they send out new growth, making a bushier plant. I would think if this is your first time I would just leave them alone.

4-The first leaves that sprout on a plant are seed leaves. These eventually fall off. Often they look like your long narrow ones on the newly sprouted ones. See the ones with 4 leaves and how different the second leaves are compared to the first. The second ones are true leaves.

The trouble with planting the whole pot is that they will be too close together. Try it this way. Wait until they get their 3rd set of true leaves. some of the later ones will only have their second--that's ok. Then transplant to where you want them. Dig your hole and fill it with water and let it soak into the ground. Put in your plant--try to get all the roots--and cover it in. water a bit more--the soil not the plant-- and cover with an upside down flower pot or put something in front of them to shade them from the sun for a couple of days until they recover from transplanting. If the wilt cover again. After a week they will have settled in and you can treat them like the rest of your flowers.

I hope this helps

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 5:01AM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

You're in luck. Cleome are easy to trasplant, as long as you work gently. When the seeds first sprout, they put out two baby leaves, which are not TRUE leaves: meaning they are shaped differently than the other leaves will be and they will eventually fall off. So, the true leaves are all the others that grow after the first two. They grow in sets of two, one on each side of the stem, so three sets of true leaves means the first two, which don't count, plus 3 more sets of two, for a total of six true leavss. OCCASIONALLY a plant will throw an odd leaf that doesn't have a partner. If it continues to grow, count the odd leaf as one set. By the way, once the true leaves start coming, cleome leaves grow in clusters of 3 leaflets. So, I suppose, you could say that one set has six leaflets. :)

Since you planted so many seeds in one pot, I wouldn't wait too long to trasplant them. The more tangled the roots get, the more likely they will be to go into transplant shock. Once they have two sets of true leaves, use a soup spoon to scoop each plant out of the pot and plant it into previously well prepared garden soil. Water it immediately. Set your plants about a foot apart and they'll look very nice. When scooping your baby plants out, put the spoon halfway between two plants and push straight down so that it will break as few roots as possible and leave the longest possible roots to each one.

Cleome are tall and they will get bushy on their own. I cannot think of any good reason to pinch them back (that in a moment). Do, however, plant them about one foot apart in bunches of at least 3, preferably 5 or more, plants. That way, you'll have a good looking mass of color. If you're planting in a bed, it will look nice to somewhat evenly scatter groups of plants evenly down the length of the bed. Not necessarily in a straight row, but still making a "line". Remember, they will get tall, so put them behind shorter plants.

Pinching a plant back, simply means cutting off the tips of the growing stem or branches in order to force the plants to bush out. It's best done when the plant is young, and so most of us use our thumbnail and forefinger to cut the stem. It just takes a "pinch". See?
When the growing tip is cut off, the plant will push out new branches from the places where the remaining leaves meet the stem. It's an excellent technique for getting the maximum look from your plants. You can often even take the pinchings and root them to make more plants. Coleus are a great plant to learn this technique from.

You'll be glad to know that if your cleome are a success this year, you probably won't have to do this next year. They are heavy seeders and you will find lots of baby plants in your garden next year sprouting and coming up on their own. Be sure to remember what they look like so you don't weed them out! I love cleome. They are beautiful and easy to grow, and they don't mind extreme heat, humidity or drought. I don't mind their smell at...

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 5:55PM
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