Beginner’s Guide to Growing the Heliotrope Flower
If you love growing flowers and appreciate something with a wonderful bloom and sweet fragrance, you should consider the Heliotrope flower. This flower is from the Borage family that produces gorgeous, colorful blooms and provides a sweet scent during the entire blooming period. You will also find that the Heliotrope flower is ideal for outdoor gardens and flowerbeds, as well as indoor containers.
Because the Heliotrope flower is scaled down, it makes the ideal choice for people living in an apartment or those without yard space by simply growing in a container or hanging pot. While this type of flower has a long history, it was actually hard to find for many years but now, you can find the Heliotrope flower sold in most nurseries and gardening centers. You can also choose from a variety of species, although most people prefer the traditional plant that produces dark purple flowers and deep green, wrinkled leaves.
Although many benefits come from growing the Heliotrope flower, having a slight scent of vanilla while bloomed is at the top of the list. Other benefits include ease of care, and the plant’s reliability to bloom. The fragrance is so unique that some people many years ago fondly called this flower the cherry pie plant. However, it has also been known as “turnsole” because of the way the leaves and flowers seem to turn to the west where the sun is but then after the sun goes down, the flowers and leaves again turn to face east.
When growing the Heliotrope flower, several things need to be considered such as:
- Sunlight – This flower loves the sun in the morning hours and partial sun in the afternoon so it would be important to position the plant accordingly.
- Soil – This flower also loves rich soil that needs to be fed once a week
- Feeding – For the Heliotrope flower, it needs water soluble fertilizer that is slightly diluted, keeping level of phosphorus greater than nitrogen levels – the best choice is 10-60-10 for containers
- Watering – This particular plant likes to be moist so watering daily is expected
- Planting – The Heliotrope flower needs a little bit of space to grow, not favoring crowded pots or flowerbeds
- Disease – If overcrowded, this plant will often develop powdery mildew, which is relatively easy to treat but still an annoyance
- Pruning – When the flower is still young, you will need to pinch it back to ensure you keep getting beautiful, fragrant blooms, which could be done by removing the side shoots or the tips on the plant
- Deadheading – To ensure you keep getting beautiful blooms, you want to deadhead dying or dead flowers
- Varieties – The Heliotrope flower comes in several varieties that are perfect choices but two to avoid include the following:
- Heliotropium amlexicaule – This creeping plant grows in areas of the world where winters are warm but because it grows so rapidly, it quickly becomes invasive and for anyone with cattle, it is highly poisonous
- Heliotropium arborescens – This variety of the Heliotrope flower is very poisonous to people and animals, making it an undesirable choice for home growing
Because the Heliotrope flower is an annual, it will only provide one year of enjoyment but you can then toss the dead plant out or put it in a compost pile, followed by growing a new plant. Although some people try to take cuttings prior to the plant dying, this is usually challenging and considering you can buy a new plant for less than $5, it makes more sense to simply replace the old Heliotrope flower with a new one.