The Q&A Archives: growing cleomes

Question: I have gathered cleome seeds and wonder if you plant them in the fall for next year or wait until spring to start them. Also, do they grow well in sandy loam with partial shade? They will be planted in an eastern exposure in zone 4 and 5.
Also, I have a hard time getting hollyhocks to grow from seed. Do they need special handling as well. Thanks for any help you can give me.
Sharon Ouellette

Answer: Cleome seeds benefit from a pre-germination chill so plant them in the garden now. After they've been through the winter weather they will be sufficiently chilled to sprout as soon as the soil warms in the spring. The grow and flower best in full sunshine. Morning shade is okay, but they will need at least 6 hours of afternoon sunshine.

Hollyhock seeds can be sown in the autumn and they will sprout in the spring. They seem to benefit from cold stratification, as well, so sowing them now will expose them to winter weather and they should pop right up in the garden when the weather warms in the spring.

Best wishes with your garden!

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