Senorita Rosalita, new cousins shine in flower beds

Richard Bogren, Owings, Allen D.

Senorita Rosalita cleome. (Photo by Allen Owings)

News Release Distributed 04/17/15

By Allen Owings

LSU AgCenter horticulturist

HAMMOND, La. – Every few years, a new variety of bedding plant comes along that takes the country by storm. Greenhouse growers instantly fall in love; retailers cannot sell enough once they get it on the shelves; and home gardeners go crazy when they truly realize how great of a new plant it is.

Well, this description can be applied to Senorita Rosalita cleome.

Senorita Rosalita cleome comes to us from Proven Winners. You can recognize them by their own special containers at the garden center. This cleome was selected as a Louisiana Super Plant by the LSU AgCenter in 2012 and has also been named a Mississippi Medallion plant by the Mississippi Nursery and landscape Association and Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service.

Why is this plant so honored for accolades? Because it has some extra special qualities that set it apart from other cleomes. This great plant blooms from late spring through frost.

Cleomes are also known as spider flowers because the projecting stamens of the flowers give these plants a spidery look. This plant can take summer’s heat and is drought-tolerant. Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds are highly attracted to the never-ending lavender-pink flowers.

Unlike other cleomes, Senorita Rosalita will not self-seed, doesn’t get “bare knees,” isn’t sticky and doesn’t have thorns. Other cleome varieties set seed, drop foliage at the bottom of the plant and have thorns on the stems.

Although its flowers are smaller than the classic cleome, Senorita Rosalita flowers all over the plant, not just at the top. Deadheading isn’t necessary for continuous flowering. Because this cleome doesn’t self-seed, gardeners don’t have to worry about seedlings trying to take over the garden.

This warm-season annual likes full sun for best flowering. Plants do get large – 36-48 inches tall with a spread of 24 inches. When you plant them, space individual plants about 18 inches apart. Good bed preparation certainly helps with plant growth as does an application of fertilizer at planting followed by another light application in midsummer.

If Senorita Rosalita is not enough by itself, this plant now has two “cousins” that have been released – Senorita Blanca and Pequena Rosalita.

Senorita Blanca joined Senorita Rosalita in 2013 It has all the same characteristics as its partner varieties except the flowers are pale blush-lavender. Pequena Rosalita is new to garden centers in 2015 and is a slightly smaller-growing form of the original, having the same lavender-pink flowers.

Plant these cleomes for height and drama in the landscape. Use them as a tall border in the flower garden, cluster three to five in the middle of a flower bed, or plant a few to add a wow factor to your patio or swimming pool area. Either way you plant it, Senorita Rosalita cleome, as well as the other two varieties, will put on a super display. April and May is the ideal time to add this plant to your home landscape. They do great in containers, too.

You can see more about work being done in landscape horticulture by visiting the LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station website. Also, like us on Facebook. You can find an abundance of landscape information for both home gardeners and industry professionals at both sites.

Rick Bogren
4/17/2015 11:43:13 PM
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